MINUTES JANUARY 22, 2009

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MINUTES JANUARY 22, 2009

Post by C on Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:37 pm

SELECTMEN’S MEETING MINUTES
JANUARY 22, 2009
7:00 P.M.
PRESENT: Chairman J. Arthur Boivin, Vice-Chairman Frank DiConzo, Mark Belanger, Bradford Adley, Robert Cameron, Leonard Greaney, Peter Krause-Kjar, Meagan Maifeld, Michael Daigle, Garret McPherson, Alexander Szeps, Stephanie Wilson, ??, Brandi Welch, Randy Welch, Kevin Saisi, Lucas Zale, Daryl Simard, Rick Kent, Bruce Farrin, Eric Giroux, Vin Caruso, Ed Carey, Mark Tripp, Jessie Profit, Steven Fillds, Josh Shaw, Kirn Russell, Anthony Glazier, D.A. Phelps, Dexter and Donna Thomas, Calvin Burgess, Ronald M. Russell, Andy Russell, Ben Byam, Maynard Murphy, Jeff Harren

1. Meeting called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman J. Arthur Boivin

2. All present pledged allegiance to the American Flag

3. Approval of Minutes from the Selectmen’s Meeting of January 8, 2009

Mr. Belanger made a motion to approve the minutes from the Selectmen’s Meeting of January 8, 2008. Vote: 5-0

4. REPORTS
A. SELECTMEN’S REPORT
Mr. Cameron asked for an update of the Charter revisions from the last election. The Town Manager reported that the Town Clerk should have this completed next week.

Mr. Cameron asked the status of contractors dumping snow in the snow dumps. The Town Manager explained that the town snow dumps have been saturated and that we may need approval from the DEP to set up another snow dump behind the Public Works building. The Town Manager has tentative approval from the DEP. We also have permission from Bill Weston to dump snow at his sandpit. We will try to help the contractors to the best of our ability, but we need to make sure that we can take care of our own snow. Some of the contractors have worked things out for themselves.

Mr. Cameron asked the purpose of snow plowing permits.

Mr. Cameron asked about the status of the Waldo Street apartment building. The Town Manager answered that everyone has moved out. Some of the possessions are still there, although the heat and water are shut off. One tenant has until February 1 to move out completely.

Mr. Cameron asked that if there is an item on the Agenda that will be tabled, that this be announced at the beginning of the meeting out of consideration for those attending for that purpose.

Mr. Adley mentioned that the Town of Roxbury had a recent vote on wind power and this topic may be coming our way. Mr. Adley stated that we should reach out to the First Wind and Independence Wind to have a dialogue with them.

Mr. Belanger welcomed Andy Russell back to work and thanked the Town Manager for his leadership and ability to keep things together at the Public Works Department in his absence.

Mr. Belanger asked about an incentive to give to employees to serve as call force members that would encourage more participation. The Town Manager explained that a great deal of training is required for the call force members. He will discuss this possibility with the Fire Chief.

Mr. DiConzo reported that he has set up an email address that will be available on the website for citizens to contact him.

Mr. DiConzo reported that he adopted a fire hydrant near his home and it took him 15 minutes to shovel it out. Anyone else who is interested should contact him, he stated.

Mr. DiConzo would like the Board to consider moving the Wall of Fame from the Information Center to the Town Hall. Mr. Boivin did not agree and would like the Wall to stay where it is because more people may see it there. The Town Manager stated that we need to discuss what the Wall of Fame is and how to continue it.

Mr. Boivin had nothing to report.
B. TOWN MANAGER’S REPORT

The Town Manager reported that he met with several members of the Social Security Administration who have selected Rumford as a site for a new interactive video system that is currently being piloted across the county. The interactive video would be located in the Town Hall. The Auburn site manager has been invited to attend the February 19, 2009 meeting to give an overview of the program. The Town Manager will suggest a possible location within the Town Hall at that time and distributed further information to the Board.

The Town Manager gave an update on the snow removal process. The DEP has given approval to change the agreement for snow removal on Canal and River Street to allow snow to be blown into the river and canal. This will greatly enhance the Public Works Department’s ability to getting through their list of priorities to clear snow from other streets and sidewalks in the town.

With the return of Andy Russell to the Public Works Department, the Town Manager reported that several special projects have been worked on. The Town will attempt to get involved in the Stimulus Funding Package that the Rumford Water District is applying for by jointly coordinating sewer, water and drainage improvements for Hancock Street. Mr. Russell will be working on this project with the Town Manager.

The Town Manager met with Brian Gagnon of the Rumford Water District regarding fire hydrant shoveling. Many years ago the Rumford Water District had an agreement that the Fire Department would shovel out the hydrants. At that time there were around 5 hydrants, today there are over 200. The Town Manager liked Mr. DiConzo’s idea of adopting a hydrant to shovel.

A member of the Rumford Historical Society made a request to continue to award The Boston Post Cane to the oldest resident of the community. The Board gave informal approval to continue this process. The Town Manager will contact the Historical Society.

Mr. Cameron asked for an update on snow removal on the Island. The Town Manager informed the Board that the DEP will allow us to blow fallen snow into the river and canal on the roads ways adjacent to those waterways. We cannot push snow from other areas of the Island to be blown into the water. Mr. Cameron asked if the Town can dump the snow from the Island onto Railroad Street where New Page is dumping their snow now. The Town Manager asked Andy Russell to look into this.

C. DEPARTMENT MANAGER REPORTS (as necessary): No reports were given.

5. REQUESTS OF CITIZENS PRESENT

Mr. Boivin invited a group of students from Mountain Valley High School to step to the microphone. The Board signed a form stating that they were present at the meeting for their government class.

Jim Barnett asked why Rumford did not get any of the housing urban development money that was advertised in the paper that went to other towns. He stated that this money could have been used to tear down dilapidated buildings. He asked if we had applied and been turned down. The Town Manager reported that there was no application and will look into why the Town did not apply and report back.
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Post by C on Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:37 pm

6. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
A. Apartment Building Inspection Process
The Town Manager explained the importance of performing the building inspections for the purpose of life safety. The Town received a letter from an attorney of the RUMMEX Landlord Association critiquing our efforts. Fire Chief Wentzell and Code Enforcement Officer Rick Kent are legally following codes in performing the inspections. We are looking for voluntary compliance and do not want to use warrants to gain entrance to buildings. Mr. Greaney asked why someone would not want their building inspected.

Mr. Adley made a motion to allow Calvin Burgess, a non-resident, to speak. Vote: 5-0

Mr. Burgess is the President of RUMMEX and explained that because of the downturn in the economy, the cost of making improvements are difficult for many of the members. There are approximately 50 members in the area. Some of the problems that have been experienced for the members were explained. The Town Manager responded that there has been some question as to why the process started with Waldo Street and reported the process of how the street names were selected at random.

Diana Houston, a local landlord, shared her concerns and some of the history of the Waldo Street fire that destroyed many businesses on that street. She feels the town is regressing with the loss of many businesses and services that were here in the past. She was concerned about the effort to take down buildings and not looking at the big picture. She said the landlords are not slum lords, they care about their tenants. She is ashamed and disgusted with the process that the Town is taking in the inspection process. She would like to see us try to bring more people into the area.

Mr. Adley made a motion to allow Gary Wentzell, a non-resident, to speak. Vote: 5-0

Fire Chief Wentzell explained what the egress codes are as requested by Mr. Cameron. He and Code Enforcement Officer Rick Kent have given some variances after speaking with the Fire Marshall in an effort to work with the landlords and still maintain life safety; they are trying to be consistent in what they accept. The main issues are having two egresses, hard wired smoke detectors and a sprinkler head over the furnace.

Code Enforcement Officer Rick Kent explained that the State of Maine codes call for one smoke detector in each unit; the NFPA recommends one in the vicinity of each bedroom.

The Town Manager asked if there was some way to get a message out to the landlords notifying them of the issues that have been found so that the landlords can begin to address these issues prior to their own building inspections taking place.

Chief Wentzell stated that he will take the direction from the Board as to what they want to be enforced.

Mr. Cameron asked if there are any other towns doing the inspection process. Chief Wentzell stated that we are the only town that has adopted the NFPA code that he knows of.

CEO Kent stated that the Town of Norway mandates and performs these inspections every two years and charges the landlords for it.

Mr. Adley made a motion to allow Douten Thomas, a non-resident, to speak. Vote: 5-0

Mr. Thomas referenced the Comprehensive Plan of 1998. Items that he feels are important are the securing of empty buildings and a mass mailing to the members of RUMMEX to inform them of what needs to be done to meet codes.

The Town Manager reported that he had spoken to Attorney Neil Shankman, who represents RUMMEX and will be speaking to him on Monday as to how to move forward without a legal process.

Kevin Saisi raised the issue of the appropriateness of this discussion at a Board of Selectmen meeting rather than a meeting called specially to address the issue.

Mr. Belanger commended the efforts of Chief Gary Wentzell and Code Enforcement Officer Richard Kent in this process. The Town Manager also thanked the landlords for their cooperation.
B. EMS – RFD First Responder

The Town Manager reported that this discussion began a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, we have not been able to come up with a concrete number of the cost of EMS calls made by the Rumford Fire Department. The Town Manager read a letter from citizen, Judy O’Neil, regarding the loss of EMS services to the town from the Fire Department with a reminder that the citizens voted not to decrease service.

Anthony Glazier stated that his concern for the cost of the EMS calls was whether there was a duplication of costs. Mr. Glazier stated that to eliminate this service would be a disservice to the town.

Fire Chief Wentzell stated that he is not pushing the EMS; that it is up to the voters. About $90,000 was cut from the Fire Department budget by the Finance Committee last year assuming that was the cost of running the EMS services. The Town Manager mentioned that the signal that was given in the budget cut was also to address the large amount of overtime costs.

Ronald M. Russell, Chairman of the Finance Committee, responded that he was not the Chairman when the cut was made. He believes the elimination of one mans wages plus EMS services was the intent of the $90,000 cut. Mr. Russell further stated that this figure was not supported with any documentation that he knows of. EMS services are not paid by insurance; they are paid by the taxpayer, yet the ambulance service is paid by policyholders insurance. The City of Portland has done away with the First Response.

Richard Scagliola asked about the safety of the floor of the Fire Department for employees. The Fire Chief reported that there are some stress cracks in the concrete, but the larger issue is the EMS issue.

Chairman Boivin stated that he would like to address this item at the next meeting.

Mr. Belanger made a motion to table this item until more information is available. Vote: 5-0

7. NEW BUSINESS
A. Approval of Town Warrant dated January 23, 2009

Mr. DiConzo made a motion to approve the Town Warrant dated January 23, 2009. Vote: 5-0
B. Meeting Protocol Regarding Citizen Participation

The Town Manager stated that we very much welcome citizen participation for a citizen request item or to participate in agenda discussions. We would like to emanate respect and we ask for it in return, he stated. Citizen participation can work in many ways such as hydrant shoveling that would be a service to help the town.

Chairman Boivin stated that he would like to set a limit of time, such as five minutes, for a person to speak. Kevin Saisi reminded the Board that procedurally they operate under Robert’s Rules of Order, in which time can be extended if necessary.
C. Approval of Sale of Tax Acquired Properties

The Town Manager asked for approval to sell 3 tax acquired properties: 24 Erchles Street, 688 Prospect Avenue and 158 Route 232 (Koza property). We will advertise with a minimum bid process.

Mr. Belanger made a motion to approve selling the tax acquired properties recommended by the Town Manager. Vote: 5-0

Keviin Saisi asked if the bid process could ask for the intended use of the property. The Town Manager stated that would be part of the specifications of the bid.

Jim Barnett, stated that some of these properties should be torn down rather than resold as they may have code issues and other problems.
D. Request for Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament from the Sons of Italy

Mr. Adley made a motion to give a blanket approval for the year 2009 for the Sons of Italy to hold Texas Hold ‘Em Tournaments. Vote: 5-0
E. Tax Collectors Report
F. Financial Reports – Budget vs. Actual and Excise Tax
The Town Manager reported that a cover letter is attached to the report from the Finance Director to explain the current account balances.
G. Appointment of Maine Service Centers Coalition Representative and Alternate
Mr. Adley made a motion to appoint Town Manager Leonard Greaney as the Representative and Selectman Frank [DiConzo] (corrected per Selectmen Meeting of 02/05/2009.tp) as the Alternate to serve for the Maine Service Centers Coalition.
Vote: 5-0
8. Executive Session pursuant to 1 MRS §405 (6)(A) regarding a personnel matter with the Board and Town Manager
Mr. DiConzo made a motion at 9:15 p.m. to go into Executive Session pursuant to 1 MRS §405 (6)(A) regarding a personnel matter with the Board and Town Manager. Vote: 5-0

Chairman Boivin declared the Board out of Executive Session at 9:50 p.m.

Mr. DiConzo made a motion to make the following statement from the Board. Vote: 5-0

"The Selectmen and the Town Manager, as public servants, have recommitted themselves to a collective and individual policy of respect for our citizens, for our employees, for our region's officials and for one another. We intend to set an example of respectful interactions and cooperative endeavors with others. We agree that differences of opinion will exist, and we have committed to respect those differences without a disagreeable behavior."

9. Adjournment
Mr. Boivin made a motion to adjourn at 9:52 p.m. Vote: 5-0

Leonard P. Greaney
Town Manager
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