Minutes of the Chebeague Transition Committee March 7, 2007 at 7:00 at the Parish House. (Accepted 3/14/07)
The meeting was called to order by John Martin at 7:10.
Members present: Donna Damon, Mark Dyer, Leon Hamilton, David Hill, John Martin (Chair), Jim Phipps, Doug Ross and Stephen Todd. Steve Moriarty served as invited chair. Beth Howe served as secretary.
Absent: Carol White.
1. Steve Moriarty called for motions on several sets of minutes. Jim Phipps moved the approval of the February 18 minutes. Seconded by John Martin. Approved unanimously. Jim Phipps moved the approval of the February 25 minutes as circulated electronically. Seconded by David Hill. Passed unanimously. David Hill moved approval of the amended February 28 minutes as circulated by Jim Phipps. Beth Howe added an amendment from Donna Damon. John Martin seconded. Passed unanimously.
2 . Public comment: None
3. Report by the Mainland Access and Transportation Subcommittee.
Jim Phipps said he did not have a recommendation but rather an idea to put forth. His committee would like to suggest that all the transportation needs identified by the various subcommittees be combined into a global proposal that could be negotiated with the possible transportation companies. This would enable the TC to take advantage of economies of scale, presenting a unified RFP to possible providers. Jim said that coordinating the proposals and conducting the negotiation had not been a task assigned to his subcommittee. He suggested that a task force be created, composed of one representative from each subcommittee, to do this job. Leon Hamilton said he and Mark Dyer would be glad to head such a task force. John Martin asked whether it would be a conflict of interest for an employee of one of the providers to head the task force. Leon said that CTC was not the only provider involved. Jim Phipps said that CTC could provide most of the services and that it might be possible to work out a win/win arrangement with them. He said he was not troubled by the appearance of a conflict of interest. Donna Damon suggested that Peter Lowe be asked about whether there would be a conflict of interest. Leon said that CTC is an important part of the community. It would be good if the Town could do something to keep transportation costs down that would also support CTC. It would be win/win.
Donna Damon said that everyone on the TC wears multiple hats. Each subcommittee should think about its transportation needs. Then the TC should talk about its transportation negotiation strategy in executive session. Jim agreed. David Hill said that Donnaıs comments seemed adversarial toward CTC. CTC and the TC should work together. The TC should not need to have an executive session or a strategy. Donna replied that this was a business matter. It would be important to identify the items to be negotiated. David said that there was no need to operate in a business mode with CTC now. Leon Hamilton said he agreed with Donna on getting the needs from the subcommittees; perhaps there would not be a need for an executive committee meeting. Stephen Todd said he and Mark Dyer have been working out their transportation needs and starting negotiations already. He would be glad to help with the process. Jim Phipps said that he agrees with David Hill that there is not a lot of strategy to be worked out here. But the TC needs to show the taxpayers that taxes will be spent wisely, so the TC should have a preliminary discussion of the Townıs transportation needs. Normally the first step in such a process would be an executive session. But it would be unfortunate to create the image that the negotiation was adversarial. David Hill said that the easy way to handle the negotiations would be to divide the barging out since there are several providers for that. Then with the passenger traffic, where CTC is the only option, the TC should adopt the idea that the Town would provide tickets to its employees. Then the only issue to be negotiated would be the price of the tickets. Jim Phipps said that this was not the place to discuss the details.
Steve Moriarty asked Jim how many subcommittees there are. Jim said, ten. Mark Dyer said that 3 to 4 people could do this better than ten. He has worked on barging already. Stephen Todd also has experience. Mark moved, seconded by Doug Ross, that a minimum of three and a maximum of four people be delegated to negotiate transportation arrangements for the Town. Mark said he thought it was fine for the TC to think about what needed to be negotiated beforehand, but he did not want the negotiation committeeıs hands to be tied. He suggested as members Leon Hamilton, Stephen Todd, Mark Dyer and Carol White. Donna Damon said that the TC has not had a discussion on how it wants to handle transportation for its employees. Jim Phipps said the negotiating committee would not have the authority to make a final deal, they would have to bring any proposed contract back to the TC. Mark said that there was no negotiation to be had on the education transportation. It was already in the budget. Donna said that was simply an initial estimate based on last yearıs contract and there would be a negotiation about the school transportation. Mark said he would rescind his motion. Doug Ross agreed to this. Stephen said the transportation has to be dealt with and, that a ten-person committee is cumbersome. John said that many of the subcommittee budgets had included transportation costs, but they had not actually arranged for transportation.
Bette Tellinghuisen suggested setting up a barging committee separate from a people-transportation committee. Each should have not more than five members and not more than two of those could have potential conflicts of interest. Leon said that the TC should not get bogged down in worrying about conflicts of interest. John Ash supported Betteıs proposal for two committees. The various subcommittees could be asked about their passenger transportation needs. Steve Moriarty took up the idea of two committees. Stephen Todd and Mark Dyer said they thought it made sense. Steve Moriarty called for a motion. Stephen Todd moved that two subcommittees be created, made up of three people each. The barging committee would have representatives from the Waste, Public Works and Marine Subcommittees. The passenger transportation committee would have representatives from Governmental Structure, Schools and Mainland Access. Both would report back to the TC. Seconded by Doug Ross. John Martin said the two committees should be encouraged to coordinate their work. Ken Hamilton said that was a very sensible motion. Jim Phipps asked whether the motion named specific people or just subcommittees. Stephen said the subcommittees would each appoint a member. Leila Bisharat asked whether the transportation committees would just bring together information on transportation needs or actually negotiate. Steve Moriarty said they would do both. Stephen agreed. Steve Moriarty called for a vote on the motion. It passed unanimously. Steve said that the subcommittees should bring their nominee names in next week.
Jim Phipps said his subcommittee had no more proposals. Steve Moriarty announced that the Cumberland and Yarmouth Town Councils had extended the Wharf Agreement for 18 months, to the end of 2008.
4, Old Business:
The budget: David Hill passed out a first draft of the budget. He apologized for not providing copies to the public but said that the TC needs to have a chance to go through it before it is publicly released. There will be a day-long meeting on Sunday March 18 at 8:30 at the Firehouse to work though it. Each person should come able to explain their budget numbers. The meeting is public. Donna Damon asked whether the discussion would include the continued discussion of benefits. David said that could be discussed when the discussion reached the page with employee benefits, though it might involve going into executive session. Doug Ross said his budget keeps changing; how should he deal with that? David said that he should bring current revisions on Sunday and then keep updating as numbers change. There was a discussion of the format of the budget which presently shows Cumberland figures for earlier years. In the final version this information will not appear.
Hiring: Donna said the jobs listing had been posted on the internet at MMA, in the newspaper, in the Calendar and at the Muskie School. Nadeen Daniels will come to a meeting here Thursday March 8 at 7:00 to discuss questions that may be asked of applicants, particularly in relation to legal constraints. She asked members to send questions in. This will be an executive session. Donna said she has been working backward from the time that the warrants need to be sent to the printer. If the budget is to reflect real salaries, people will have to be hired by mid to late April. She is particularly worried about the education ads that have not yet been posted. They should be in the newspaper on March 18 at the latest. Donna has also talked to Nadeen about the difference between exempt and non-exempt employees. Exempt is exempt from overtime. If Chebeague wants to have people who are paid a fixed stipend, these will have to be contract employees. Town employees would have to have time sheets and keep track of overtime.
Jim Phipps said he thinks the point of a budget is to give an idea of the maximum ³exposure² the Town would have on any job. So as long as the high end of the salary range is in the budget, that would give a clear idea of the exposure. Donna and Leon Hamilton said they think the budget should reflect real numbers. Jim said that there may be positions that have not been filled and the selectmen must have money to fill them. John Martin asked what assumptions were made in the budget about the salaries. David Hill said that depended on what the subcommittees had submitted. Some provided amounts and some provided ranges. Jim said that it would be most important to fill the jobs with the largest salaries. Then the Town Meeting would have a pretty accurate idea of the total expenditures. Also the budget part of the warrant may also be printed later than the rest. David asked Steve Moriarty how detailed Cumberlandıs published budget is. Steve said it is very detailed. David worried that the cost of reproducing the budget for all residents would be very high. This is something the TC has to get legal advice about. Jim asked whether there was a motion on the floor. Steve Moriarty said no.
Report on the Governorıs School Consolidation Proposal: Donna Damon reported that Peter Lowe is now representing the Island Institute and that he, Carol White and the Vinalhaven school Superintendent have been monitoring the proceedings in the Legislature. Islands may be exempt. The issue now is that minimum-revenue schools may get even less money under proposals being discussed. Since they already get the least money, there is an effort to try to prevent more cuts to their aid. The Education Committeeıs proposal will be announced tomorrow. It may put off consolidation for a year and try to encourage local school districts to save money voluntarily. However, SAD 51 appears to be going to ask for a budget increase.
Warrant Tracking: no report from Beth Howe
Memoranda of Understanding: Steve Moriarty asked whether the TC had gotten the MOUs from Cumberland. David said yes, but they have not been discussed yet.
5. Recommendations from NonReporting Committees
Land Use: Beth Howe
Beth said that the Land Use Subcommittee is making four interconnected recommendations to the TC for recommendation to the first Town Meeting: (1) that the Town Meeting adopt the existing Long-Range Plan as the Townıs Comprehensive Plan [LU Adopt Long-Range Plan]; (2) that Town Meeting adopt the zoning ordinance [LU Adopt Zoning Ordinance]; (3) that Town Meeting authorize the Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board to revise the Plan and Zoning ordinances [LU revise Plan and Land Use Ordinances]; and (4) that while that is being done, the Town Meeting place a moratorium on subdivisions larger than two lots [LU Development Moratorium]. Steve Moriarty said to take them in order. John Martin moved, seconded by Mark Dyer that the TC adopt the recommendation on the Long-Range Plan. Beth said that this plan had been developed by Chebeaguers in 1999-2000 and had been adopted by the Town of Cumberland as part of its Comprehensive Plan in 2002. The motion was approved unanimously.
Beth said that the Subcommittee has prepared a draft of the Zoning Ordinance. It is based on the Cumberland Zoning Ordinance, taking out only material that has no relevance to Chebeague, and including state-mandated changes in the shoreland zoning. It has not yet been circulated to the TC because it is presently being reviewed by the State Department of Environmental Protection for conformance with the state shoreland zoning law. Donna Damon moved, seconded by David Hill to adopt the recommendation on the Zoning Ordinance, reflecting minimal changes from Cumberlandıs ordinance and incorporating new shoreland zoning language. Approved unanimously.
Beth explained that the third recommendation, to revise the Plan and Zoning Ordinance is needed for several reasons. The Plan does not meet the guidelines set by the state for Comprehensive plans. In addition, the new Town should reconsider its goals and will have new powers for carrying them out. Chebeague is on a list of towns that are eligible for funding for their first plan, though the funding is competitive. The Zoning Ordinance needs to be revised because it will need to conform to the new Comprehensive Plan and as it stands, it does not reflect the present pattern of land uses on Chebeague. Steve Moriarty said he thought the recommendation should be reworded to have the Town Meeting authorize the establishment of a Comprehensive Plan Review Committee and authorize the Board of Selectmen to appoint its members. This wording was moved by David Hill and seconded by John Martin.
Leon Hamilton asked why the Selectmen should be ordered to do the revision of the Plan and the Zoning Ordinance. This seems like having the TC imposing its will on the Selectmen. Jim Phipps said that the recommendation to adopt the existing Plan would only be an interim measure. Bethıs argument is that the existing plan is five years old, is not comprehensive and could be made better. The Selectmen could decide not to do the revision. Donna Damon said she thought the word ³authorize² would require the Selectmen to set up the committee. Jim said that ³authorize² is not a mandate. Steve Moriarty called for a vote on the motion. It passed 7 in favor to 1 opposed (Leon Hamilton).
Beth said that the Land Use Subcommittee thought there should be a moratorium on development while the new Town develops its Comprehensive Plan and revises its land use ordinances. State law allows for a 6 month moratorium which can be renewed by the Board of Selectmen for six months. The problem with revising ordinances without a moratorium is that people may rush to apply for developments that are legal under the old ordinance but that they think may be made illegal. The Subcommittee had originally prepared a stronger recommendation, but after the feedback from the TC, had decided to limit it only to subdivisions larger than two lots. Jim Phipps asked whether the intent was to cover both minor and major subdivisions. Beth said yes. Leon said it is important to be careful about proposing anything like a moratorium. It could have unintended consequences and might affect the ability of some land-owner to divide their property. Beth said it would only be for a year. Leon said the timeframe did not matter. Donna Damon said that the review of subdivisions takes a great deal of time by the Planning Board and there will already be some development proposals carried over from Cumberland. A moratorium would give them breathing room. Steve Moriarty said Leon was raising a fundamental point. Doug Ross said he thought a moratorium would not be fair. If the new Town would have land use ordinances, then development should be allowed under them. Donna said that the present subdivision ordinance requires developments to be over designed with wide paved roads. Stephen Ross said he was not in favor of a moratorium.
Steve Moriarty left
David Hill said he thought that the recommendations moved the process of revisions too fast. The Planning Board could begin the planning process and without a moratorium there would be less time pressure on them. Beth said the Subcommittee thought that it was very important to get the process of revising the Plan and the ordinances completed and the moratorium would create pressure to get that done. David Hill said he moved adoption of the moratorium but that he planned to vote against it. Stephen Todd seconded. Stephen pointed out that the TC had voted to recommend the revision of the Plan. Leon Hamilton said that the moratorium goes too far, it would create misunderstanding and havoc. Jim Phipps said he was unsure how he would vote. On the one hand a moratorium on subdivisions might mean less work for the Planning Board during the planning year, but if the new subdivision regulations would be less stringent than the old ones, it was likely that applicants would wait until the new ordinance was in place. So he will vote against. John Martin called for the vote. It was unanimously against the moratorium.
Donna Damon asked Beth Howe when her Subcommittee would make a recommendation on the Planning Board. Beth said they would be discussing it at their meeting tomorrow.
Public Works: Stephen Todd
Stephen said that he had worked out a deal to trade the fork-lift at the Chebeague Public Works building for a used wood chipper on the mainland [PW Woodchipper]. The wood chipper would get a lot of use and the fork-lift does not. David said Stephen should let him know about the value of the wood chipper for insurance. Mark Dyer moved, seconded by David Hill to accept the recommendation for making the trade. Approved unanimously.
Donna Damon said she needed guidance as a Council member about what to recommend to Bill Shane about taking out the floats. They were removed earlier this year while still in use. Then they were put back and are still in. They are covered with ice and she thinks they are getting damaged. Leon Hamilton said that the ice does not hurt them. Mark Dyer said that once Chebeague was in operation as a town it should work out the schedules for things like that in advance and have a list of tasks. Stephen Todd said this emphasized the importance of having Public Works employees work well with the public.
Doug Ross asked David Hill when the Town would have a tax ID number. David said that he will get the bond counsel to work on that.
Donna Damon said that she thought the TC should draft a letter to send to job applicants acknowledging receipt of their applications. John Martin said Nadeen Daniels may have a model. Mark Dyer asked if letters would be sent to people who were not hired. Several other people said there should be such letters
At 9:50 Jim Phipps moved, seconded by David Hill to move into executive session pursuant to Title 1, Chapter 13 MRSA section 405.6.1, to discuss legal matters. Approved unanimously.
At 10:10 Jim Phipps moved, seconded by David Hill to come out of executive session. Approved unanimously
At 10:11 Donna Damon moved, seconded by Mark Dyer to adjourn. Approved unanimously.