Chebeague Island Transition Committee
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Attendance: John Martin (Chair), Doug Ross, Leon Hamilton, David Hill, Mark Dyer, Carol White, Donna Damon, Jim Phipps. Absent: Stephen Todd. Visitors: 7
Next meeting will be November 8th, 7:15 PM at the Parish House.
1. A motion was made (Doug), seconded (Dave) to approve the minutes of the October 25, 2006 meeting. During discussion, Mark responded to a question from a member of the public at the October 25th meeting regarding whether the Transition Committee felt bound to formulate a total budget with no more than a 3% increase in taxes. Mark said the proposed budget should be accurate and lean, but that should not hold back subcommittees from bringing budget recommendations based on needs to the Finance Committee. Dave said that was the message the Finance Committee was trying to convey last week. The process is that the Finance Committee brings a recommendation to the Transition Committee which will be voted on by the Transition Committee and ultimately by the voters. Mark said it will be important to receive budgetary input from the public in the next few weeks. Leon said the 3% figure wasnıt a mandate, but it was in the recommendations to the State Legislature, and we should try to bring in the budget as expected by the public. The vote on the motion was 7 in favor, 1 abstention (Donna).
2. Questions and comments from the public: none.
3. Old Business:
Jim reported that he had taken Town of Cumberland Ordinances he received last week and divided them into folders for the ten committees. (Three committees do not have a lot of ordinances.) He said this is not an exact science. He had to make some judgment calls as to which ordinances fell into the charge of each committee. His way is not the only way to divide them up, so committees should feel free to trade. John thanked Jim for this a major effort. Jim expressed concern that this committee keep on top of any ordinances passed by the Town of Cumberland between now and July 1st. Donna to keep will keep us informed.
David Hill reported that Jim also distributed a revised charge for the Transportation Committee. The consensus of the Transition Committee was that the Transition Committee did not need to take formal action on a revised charge. A sub committee can change its charge as it sees fit and circulate the revised charge to Transition Committee members. Dave said it would be helpful if Jim would explain the changes. Jim said there was some unintended breadth in the original charge, that he had tightened up the language to be more finely targeted. That the intention was to be more clear regarding the charge to preserve the status quo and bring contracts and budget to the Transition Committee. Donna said it was a good idea to check in if there are some changes so nothing falls through the cracks. Jim sent the revised charge by e-mail to all committee members. If it needs further fine tuning, please e-mail Jim. Dave will put the e-mailed revised charge on website. Jim said the original charge was part of the minutes of a prior meeting and asked that the revised charge be added to tonightıs minutes.
Donna reported that there will be a Greater Portland Council of Government (G.P.C.O.G.) Coastal Corridor (Falmouth to Harpswell) meeting focusing on highway issues on November 13th in Freeport. Jim attended a similar meeting held for Long Island, Harpswell and Chebeague. He shared information about community development block grants with CICAıs Herb Maine. Dave said this is an opportunity to meet people who could be involved in helping Chebeague obtain Community Development Block Grants. John asked if the Transition Committee needs to develop a memorandum of understanding with G.P.C.O.G. to present at the first town meeting. Dave said it was the Townıs obligation to obtain state and federal funding where possible.
Donna reported on preparations for next weekıs planned Joint Standing Committee Meeting to be held on Wednesday at 4:30. The intent is to bring representatives of the future Town of Chebeague and the Chebeague Transportation Company into the Joint Standing Committee which currently includes representatives from the Town Councils of Yarmouth and Cumberland. This will help us get into position to extend the Cousins Island Wharf Agreement and work with the M.D.O.T. toward construction of the hammerhead turn-around at Cousins Island. The Joint Standing Committee is expected to meet only a couple times per year, once in the spring and again in the fall. The Town of Chebeague will replace the Town of Cumberland in these discussions. John asked if these M.D.O.T. improvements donıt come with a 20% price tag. Dave said the Town of Chebeague may have to obtain a bond for its share of the improvements. Comment was made that the Towns of Cumberland and Yarmouth did not fund Wharf Agreement fund during the couple years that elapsed between the end of the old agreement and the acceptance of the new agreement. We have to bring a recommendation to 1st Town Meeting including the suggestion that a couple gates be put in the side of the wharf to accommodate loading gear and to close the top of the Yarmouth ramp in winter. Leon said we need to be careful not to get dragged into the Nancy Blanchard proposal to change the right of way to the Cousins Island parking. The Town of Cumberland has been in discussion with Town of Yarmouth Town Manager Nat Tupper and Ms. Blanchard. Mark remarked on Jimıs point concerning the Joint Standing Committee: the members of the Joint Standing Committee change every year as new members are elected to the Town Councils of Cumberland and Yarmouth and their representatives are sent to the Joint Standing Committee. After July 1st, Town of Chebeague selectmen will be at the table and the groundwork needs to be laid for them by the Transition Committee representatives who now attend as visitors.
Jane Scifres said she had heard that clam flats throughout the region have been closed due to pollution.
Dave reminded everyone to get out and vote.
Cheryl Buxbaum asked about subcommittee use of the folders at the Transition Committee website. There doesnıt seem to be much posted there. Dave will talk with committee members to encourage their use of the website folders.
Doug reported that he had had a good meeting with the Cumberlandıs Rescue Chief.
Carol reported that the Education Committee would meet with the Department of Education next Wednesday regarding compliance issues. The next meeting of the Education Committee will be on Saturday, November 11 at the school.
Dave said the Finance Committee would meet on Election Day, November 7 at his house at 7:15 PM.
Donna said Government Structure will meet at the Parish House next Tuesday following Leonıs meeting.
John said he canıt keep track of it all these meetings; we need another plan. Suggestions were to post in one central place rather than several, post on the website, post at Edıs. Mark will approach Edmund and Julie regarding use of one of Edıs outdoor bulletin boards.
Leon asked if there was any problem with holding subcommittee meetings on Election Day; there were none.
5. Report from Donna regarding the Governmental Structure Committee. (No handouts.)
Peter Rice contacted MMA and obtained passwords for committee members. Bette (Boopie) Tellinghuisen downloaded their copious information and condensed it to just the pertinent portions including some forms, etc. The plan is to cover these materials during subcommittee meetings and make recommendations to the Transition Committee. Highlights of meetings so far:
§ Try to create flow charts of governmental structure of towns such as Harpswell, Long Island, Islesboro, Vinalhaven and North Yarmouth.
§ Tasks are to be done by the Town Clerk or the Board of Selectmen
§ Need for minority reports for recommendations made to the Transition Committee to capture all points of view.
§ Ways to encourage public participation, an example of which is Boopieıs informal survey last weekend on www.chebeague.org regarding how many selectmen we should have and whether some or all should be at-large or some from geographical districts. She had feedback from about a dozen people who were overwhelming in favor of having all selectmen be at large. Dave said this was a good way to get feedback. People are also encouraged to attend these meetings and speak. John said weıll just have to be careful to take into consideration how many (or how few) people respond before making decisions.
§ Recommendation for the adoption of the town meeting form of government
§ Whether to hire someone as Town Manager or Town Administrator
§ Recommendation for 5 school board members. (Carol said her information recommended 3 school board members.)
§ Discussion regarding suggested number of 5 selectmen. If only 3 and one is absent, only 2 people could be making Town decisions. Need 5 for balance. North Yarmouth has 5; Long has 3; Harpswell has 3.
§ With regard to a charter, a charter cannot be drawn up until after Chebeague is a town because the town will need to vote on a charter commission. There are towns that do not have charters; they are governed by ordinance rather that charter. Mark said that a charter is a set of rules for operating a town. A charter is harder to change because it takes a vote of town meeting. Ordinances can be changed by vote of the board of selectmen. The new town can decide how it wants to set up its rules for operation.
§ Discussion about state rules regarding residency requirements, education, age, experience, voter registration, criminal record, etc. for municipal officers, selectmen, employees. Municipal officials do not have to be residents of the town and can be appointed rather than elected. Municipal officers must be elected. Dave suggested the subcommittee look at whatıs happening with Islesford and the other Cranberry Islands.
§ Recommendation that all officers such as selectmen and school board members be elected by town meeting. People can declare their candidacy ahead of time. Voting must be by secret ballot. Officials, who are appointed, can be removed, as compared to officers, who are elected and cannot be removed. The subcommittee has not yet discussed positions such as road commissioner and town clerk.
§ Discussion regarding what town committees are mandatory (depends on size of town). The subcommittee may make recommendations regarding combining/consolidating committees.
§ The subcommittee will probably recommend hiring a town administrator.
§ Donna talked about a statutory ³table of consanguinity² which spells out to what degree people are related by blood. The other issue is affinity relationship, which relates to relationships by marriage. These issues come into play with regard to conflict of interest. When a board member is confronted with an issue involving someone related to the board member within a certain degree of consanguinity or by close marital ties, that board member will have to recuse himself/herself. From the decision-making process. In a close community such as ours, this may pose some problems.
Carol asked about the Committeeıs expectations for reporting from subcommittees. Donna said she would make a list of all decisions made by the Governmental Structure Committee. Carol asked that the rationale/justification for the decisions also be in writing, perhaps in bullet format, so several months later one can go back to decisions and understand why they were made. Products of subcommittees will be budgets, decisions and justifications and warrants. For uniformity a template is needed, not too formal but all similar. John said the template would be a working document. Carol suggested that the template call for a line about whether a sub-committee decision would impact the budget. Jim said the charges for each committee would serves as an outline of topics that each subcommittee will address. Leon said subcommittees make recommendations that come to the Transition Committee for decisions. Carol said she accepts the Governmental Structure Committeeıs recommendation for 5 members, but will discuss the same with the Education Committee. Other discussion topics were the powers of the selectmen, whether to have absentee ballots, comparisons with other towns of our size, importance of justifications with subcommittee decisions, need for a paid administrator, First Selectman can be the point person. Mark said he would like to hear fairly solid recommendations from subcommittees. Herb Maine recommended a consistent format and that the Transition Committee give some indication to the subcommittee concerning the Transition Committeeıs agreement with subcommittee decisions so the subcommittee knows whether or not to do more work on a given issue. Jim said itıs hard to imagine the governmental structure without knowing how many employees there will be.
Dave suggested that he defer any discussion regarding budget spreadsheets until the next meeting. Dave also said he is willing to help subcommittees having trouble with using the library server.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 9:45 PM.
Chebeague Island Transition Committee
Charge for the Mainland Access / Transportation Subcommittee
The Subcommittee shall make recommendations to the Transition Representatives on the following matters:
1. How the new Town of Chebeague Island will handle the following relationships through contracts, leases and ordinances:
A. Maine Department of Transportation – Blanchard Lot, Wharf Road improvements and use of Cousins Island Wharf by residents of Chebeague;
B. Town of Cumberland – Rt. 1 Lot and assignment of Blanchard Lot Lease including resolution of dispute with Ms. Blanchard concerning paving and location of access road to the parking field;
C. Town of Yarmouth –use of Cousins Island Wharf and Wharf Road by CTC and Chebeague residents including Cousins Island wharf agreement and Joint Standing Committee;
D. Chebeague Transportation Company:
(i) Use of Stone Wharf, Cousins Island Wharf and Blanchard Lot; and
(ii) provision of certain public services by CTC including town employee travel, rescue transportation and municipal barging (among others);
E. Casco Bay Island Transit District- Chandlers Wharf;
F. Other transit providers – use of barge landings at Bennett Cove & Stone Wharf;
G. Residents of Chebeague – parking at the Stone Wharf;
H. Other commercial passenger boats.
2. Negotiate contracts, Leases and Inter-local Agreements and draft appropriate agreements, memoranda of understanding, etc. for Transition Committee review and approval prior to ratification at the first Town Meeting.
3. Municipal Ordinances:
A. Consider use of Town facilities by CTC and existing Cumberland ordinances;
B. Consider other private use of municipal facilities – barge landings at Bennett Cove and Stone Wharf; and
C. Draft terms of proposed Town of Chebeague Island ordinances for Transition Committee review and approval prior to ratification at the first Town Meeting.
4. Recommend draft budget to Transition Committee after review with Finance subcommittee.
5. Prepare warrant articles for first Town Meeting dealing with the following among others:
A. Contracts, Leases and Interlocal Agreements;
B. Budget; and