Minutes of the Chebeague Transition Committee January 10, 2007 at 7:15 at the Parish House. (Accepted 1/17/07)
Members present: Donna Damon, Mark Dyer, Leon Hamilton, David Hill, John Martin (Chair), Jim Phipps, Doug Ross, Stephen Todd, and Carol White
January 17 at 7:15 at the Parish House
1. Minutes: Mark Dyer moved, seconded by Leon Hamilton, to approve the minutes of the January 3 meeting. Approved unanimously. David Hill moved, seconded by Doug Ross, to approve the minutes of January 7. They then moved to table the minutes until the January 14 meeting. Approved unanimously.
2. Questions and comments – none
3. Old business. Several people said they have recommendations to make today. The Land Use Subcommittee¹s language for the zoning ordinance will be discussed next week, as will the Marine Issues Subcommittee¹s coastal waters ordinance.
Doug Ross presented three recommendations (attached) from the Public Safety Subcommittee:
a. that the town adopt the present payroll and training stipend schedule for firemen. The payroll is paid quarterly and the training and other stipends are paid yearly. He said that the amounts attached are approximate because the hours can be quite variable depending on how many fires the firemen actually have to respond to. Carol White asked if there was a contingency fund to build up a reserve to cover this kind of variation. Doug said there was not. Donna Damon asked how many firemen there are. Doug said there are about 20 but how many respond depends on the day and the time of day. David Hill, seconded by Leon Hamilton moved to approve this recommendation. Passed unanimously
b. Doug Ross presented a recommendation that the Town implement an emergency management plan and adopt the National Incident Management System (NIMS) by ordinance. Jim Phipps asked if there was an ordinance that went with this. Doug said that will come later. The firemen will be required to take NIMS courses.
c. Doug Ross presented a third proposal for the Town to have an Emergency Management Director who would be the interim Fire Chief. He said this has only a small impact on the budget -- $600.
David Hill moved, seconded by Carol White to adopt the second and third recommendations. Passed unanimously.
David Hill presented a recommendation from the Finance Committee for the Town to purchase TRIO software that would handle many of the Town¹s administrative functions. His committee researched alternatives and TRIO, developed in Bangor, is widely used by smaller towns in the state. Larger towns use MUNIS which is more expensive. It does birth and death certificates, various kinds of licenses including motor vehicles and payroll. The purchase price of $25,000 plus $4,500 yearly includes training, set-up and maintenance. Cheryl Buxbaum said it is easy to use. It has good back-up features. Jim Phipps asked if it would be easy to transfer data from Cumberland to it. David said yes. Leon Hamilton was skeptical about spending so much for a program. Carol White said she thought it would be more appropriate to wait on a software package until a Town Administrator was hired so s/he could have some input. David Hill said he thought that having the program up and running would make the job more attractive for candidate. Sam Ballard asked if this was the only software the Town would need. Cheryl Buxbaum and David Hill said no, it would not do assessment, or voter registration. Also Microsoft Office will be needed for all the Town computers but it may be possible to find a donor for this. It would be possible to do some things like voter registration and code enforcement with that. Assessments requires a specialized package. Beth Howe said that Geographic Information Systems does also. The Land Use Subcommittee is working on that. Carol White asked whether TRIO could be used to produce required reports for the school. School districts usually have their own software that is in the same price range as TRIO. The Education Subcommittee was going to leave the choice of a package up to the superintendent. Donna Damon said that it would be good to have software that could do both – things like payroll. David Hill said that Yarmouth had tried to consolidate theirs without success. Carol White said she thought there were some towns that do have joint systems. By law the schools have to report electronically to the state. John Martin asked if it would be possible to start with a simpler computer set-up and then decide on TRIO.
Sam Ballard said there was no need to decide this now. Donna Damon said that it comes up now because Governmental Structure and Finance were asked to estimate the cost of getting the town office up and running. Doug Ross said that none of the proposals made by the subcommittees are cast in stone. If TRIO turns out to be too expensive, the issue can be revisited. Jim Phipps said that it would make more sense to decide on a general budget amount for software and not on the specific program. The TC should focus on the larger picture, not on the details. Donna Damon said that the larger picture for the cost of the town office is the sum of the smaller pieces. It can be revisited later. David Hill said that he and Donna have several other items that are elements of the town office package. Mark Dyer agreed with Doug that it makes sense to accept the recommendations for now. Everything should be open to being revisited if need be.
Herb Maine asked whether the kind of software would affect the number of employees the town would have to hire? David Hill said that good software would allow one person to do many tasks, and less good software might require two. Ken Hamilton said he would estimate employees by figuring out how many people would be visiting the town office.
Beth Howe asked if anyone was responsible for putting together the pieces of the budget. David Hill said that the Finance Subcommittee expects to get budgets from each subcommittee. Carol White asked when their deadline was. David said it had been in January but that has slipped. Carol said she would like to see the larger budget soon. Mark Dyer suggested that a preliminary budget should be done by the end of February and that part of it should be a package for the town office.
David Hill and Donna Damon said that that was just what they were doing tonight – laying out a package of items for the Town office. Cheryl Buxbaum has estimated the costs for things like office supplies. Donna said that she will go tomorrow to look at office furniture at a company that is moving to larger headquarters. It may be possible to get furniture at a sale price. Boopie Doughty has also offered to donate a computer and her own services. Leon Hamilton moved, seconded by Carol White to authorize the Donna Damon to spend up to $1000 on furnishing the Town office. Passed with one opposing vote (John Martin).
David Hill said that one of the proposals from the Finance Subcommittee (attached) was concerned with having the TC be authorized to accept donations of equipment or services until the town is set up. After that the administrative assistant would be so authorized. Jim Phipps said that accepting donations after the town is in operation needs to be done by the selectmen who will evaluate whether they are suitable.
Donna Damon presented a recommendation (attached) from the Governmental Structure committee for the Town to hire a full-time administrative assistant to handle a large number of the functions required of a town government. The salary estimate is lower than the budget that went to the Legislature. She also presented a proposal to hire a full-time town clerk who would also serve as tax collector and perform other duties not covered by the administrator. Finally she passed out a revised draft of the Town organization chart. Mark Dyer said the administrator and clerk proposals were good ones and asked how the subcommittee had come up with the salary numbers. Donna said that she had information about recent hires in several communities. Stephen Todd said that it is important to have a good enough salary to get someone good. The clerk¹s salary seems modest. Stephen Todd moved, seconded by Mark Dyer to adopt the administrative assistant, town clerk and TRIO proposals. Several people said that the salaries can be revisited when a more complete budget is developed.
Leon Hamilton passed out the Marine Issues Subcommittee¹s draft of the Coastal Waters Ordinance. It will be discussed next Wednesday. He suggested that in the future subcommittees provide their proposals to TC members in advance of the meeting. That would avoid this meeting¹s problem of focusing on one proposal without realizing it was part of a larger packet.
Leon Hamilton left to drive the 10:00 ferry.
David Hill said that the last proposal from the Finance Committee that is part of the Town office packet is a proposal to open a $50,000line of credit with TD BankNorth to cover the costs of starting the Town office. The money would have to be dispensed by an island non-profit. He was thinking of asking the Island Council. There would have to be someone on the island who would give a personal guarantee for the loan. Since the expected start-up cost for the town office should not be more than $25,000, this would leave money that could be used to hire legal assistance or other services that may be needed before July 1. John Martin suggested that the subcommittees think about whether they know about other start-up costs and report to the next meeting.
Carol said that the TC still has to discuss the January 21 meeting and she has some information from Peter Lowe about the hiring policy that has to be discussed in Executive Session. At 10:05 David Hill moved, seconded by Carol to go into executive session to discuss personnel issues. Passed unanimously.
At 10:25 Doug Ross moved, seconded by David Hill to come out of executive session. Passed unanimously. Carol White, seconded by Doug Ross, moved that Jim Phipps continue work on the personnel policy and circulate his draft to everyone for review. Passed unanimously. The TC will have another meeting on Sunday January 14 at 9:00 at the Rec Center. Beth Howe will post an agenda for it that will include an Executive Session and consideration of the January 21 public meeting.