- 2020- 13
- 2006- 9
April 29, 2020
6:00pm - ZOOM
1. CALL MEETING TO ORDER / PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
2. TOWN ADMINISTRATOR WEEKLY UPDATE
The Town Administrator summarized the Governor’s stay at home order and phases for businesses to reopen. The Treasurer was introduced to give a status on the financial portion of the business as it stands and looking forward at changes in revenue which will impact the budgets and tax rate. The Treasurer touched upon:
- There is a loss of revenue impact from gas taxes, excises taxes (18 - 25% loss), etc.
- A 5% revenue share loss.
- The homestead reimbursement from the state may be reduced from a portion of 75% to 50%.
- Things are still in the air as this is a new situation. In about 1 month, impacts may start to be realized. If homes are not spending money, then revenues are not being generated.
- The Town may see big hits and guessing what the tax rate should be at commitment time is reflected by a lot of factors including bank interest rates which dropped 1/2% in the first 2 weeks of the pandemic.
- The Treasurer and Town Administrator have worked hard to review all the budget number to prepare a recommendation to be presented under the budget portion of the agenda.
4. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Selectmen David Winchell made a motion to accept the agenda as written; seconded by Selectmen Kimberly Stacey-Horn. No discussion. All in favor.
5. MINUTES OF LAST MEETING
Selectmen Kimberly Stacey-Horn made a motion to approve the minutes of April 22, 2020; seconded by Selectmen David Winchell. No discussion. All in favor.
6. DEPARTMENT HEAD / COMMITTEE CHAIR UPDATES
7. OLD BUSINESS
A. July Election / Town Meeting
The Governor moved Maine State elections from June 9, 2020 to July 14, 2020. In the Governor’s plans for reopening, the new orders outline that in May, there will be no more than 10 people permitted in a building at one time. For June and July, the count is 50 people. The attorney's at Maine Municipal stated our only option for holding a Town meeting is to have the meeting on July 14, 2020 via a secret ballot. The population for a Town meeting has the potential to be larger than 50 people. This means all town candidates, business, budgets, school budget, and state ballots would be voted on at that time. There will need to be a lot of work done to pull this off with zoom meetings for public hearings and warrant & finance review/recommendations to be on the warrants. It was suggested that the warrants be looked at very closely and consolidated to make less ballots. That can be handled by the Board of Selectmen, Town Administrator and Treasurer meeting to discuss with the public viewing.
Encouraged is the use of absentee voting to reduce the number of voters coming to the election hall.
Discussed was what happens to seats voted for at the beginning of meetings. The Town Administrator was referred to the guide book sent out by Maine Municipal and terms ending June 30th would hold over until the next election. Open seats can then be dealt with at another time when a Special Town Meeting is held.
When public hearings are held in preparation for voting, a mechanism will be put in place via Zoom where participants can raise their hand then type in their questions to be stated out loud. Responses will then be made via audio for all to hear. A reminder for patience was issued as there is a lot of work to be done behind the scenes to make all of this work.
One point of discussion brought up was the budget and what if an item is voted down. Answer was that it would revert back to last year’s budget and be revisited during a Special Town meeting.
Another question during discussion was how long the Town can maintain last year’s budget. The Treasurer commented that the Town needs to commit taxes by August and a Town meeting has to be held to do that.
A reminder was stated by Selectmen Ed Walsh that the voters will need to be educated during this process.
Lastly, the Town Administrator requested a motion from the Board to move town meeting and to vote on the warrants via secret ballot.
Selectmen David Winchell made a motion to move the annual Town meeting from June 9th to July 14th and to have it run by referendum secret ballots; seconded by Selectmen Kimberly Stacey-Horn. No discussion. All in favor.
The Town Administrator will present recommended ballots to the Board to review next week.
The Town Administrator and Treasurer worked together to put together a financially responsible budget to recommend to the Board of Selectmen; goal was to flat line the budget which was a $150,000 reduction.
Their recommended budget cuts achieved $298,000 in reductions which would also take into consideration not only the $50,000 needed to flat line the budget but the impact of revenue cuts envisioned.
Cuts are as follows:
- Flat line all salaries: All employees would stay the same as they are with taxes and insurances intact. This is a $61,000 reduction.
- Remove the Planner position from the budget - $24,000 reduction.
- Remove the CPR machine purchase; a $19,000 reduction.
- Flat line the Roads General Maintenance budget on both sides; proposing $150,000 to each side which reduces that amount by $50,000 on each side.
- Removes some of the APAT capital improvements
- Remove gym (separate question?).
This gives a total reduction of $300,000.
Then by utilizing $400,000 from undesignated funds and bringing down a few miscellaneous expense funds, the tax rate can stay the same. The Treasurer stated this was a recommendation for the Board to consider and she welcomed any other suggestions they may have.
Selectmen Ed Walsh asked, if by using $400,000 from undesignated funds was that account left in good shape enough? The Treasurer replied it was in good shape.
Selectmen David Winchell asked if the Fire Truck Tanker was still in the budget. Response: Yes.
Town Administrator further commented that the School budget presented was already lower this year than last year but the Superintendent was going to relook at it to see if anything else could be taken out.
The Town Administrator further commented that she spoke with both Road Commissioners regarding their proposed budget cuts and appreciated what increase they were given.
The Treasurer commented that by flat lining the budget, the tax rate would stay the same.
Selectmen David Winchell commented on the Road budgets and commented if things pick up budgets can be revisited. He liked to do things in small increments in general. He also asked about the Transfer Station and whether extra was left in the budget. Response was yes.
Discussion ensued on opening recycling.
Selectmen Kimberly Stacey-Horn asked about donations and whether they were reduced. The Treasurer responded that she did not touch donations but they can possibly be flat lined as well. The Town Administrator cautioned on cutting those agencies which assist workers out of work or impacted by pandemic. There were two new agency requests that the Treasurer will look at not accepting.
Selectmen Dave Winchell and Selectmen Kimberly Stacey-Horn thanked the Town Administrator and Treasurer for their hard work with regards to budget proposal and commented a job well done!
The Town Administrator has received quite a few letters and emails supporting the gym and a few responses understanding the situation and the need to close the Gym. These emails and comments will be made available to the Board to review. However, the Board needs to make a decision on whether the Gym will be placed on the ballot or not, noting budget numbers allotted for the Gym will impact the tax rate as the recommended flat line budget does not include the Gym in it for support.
Selectmen David Winchell stated a viable number needs to be attached to the referendum in order to even consider placing on a warrant. To come up with a viable budget number will need to be considered carefully as not to pass and then have to be change later which could upset the residents.
Selectmen Ed Walsh was still concerned regarding the cleaning of the facility to make it safe and doesn't foresee it opening until July/August even if the government permits.
Discussion ensued regarding, liability and responsibility. Ideas were discussed as options to keeping the Gym open and covering expenses. But the final responsibility (no matter how many layers or people are involved) falls on the shoulders of the Board of Selectmen to oversee.
The Board decided to keep the Gym closed at this time and return fees prorated from the day the Gym closed to June 30th. The Board also authorized the Treasurer to budget for electricity for the facility for one year. The Gym's operation can be further decided at a Special Town meeting after everything needed is discussed, decided upon and in place for a total warrant.
8. NEW BUSINESS
A. Department Meetings
At this time meetings are going to have to take place via Zoom. The Town Administrator can schedule needed meetings, public hearings and such as well as provide instruction on how to conduct said meetings.
On Monday, May 4th, the Town Administrator will hold a Zoom meeting with Committee and Board Chairs to discuss budgets and go over conducting meetings via Zoom.
B. Reopening Town Hall
There is going to be a staff meeting at 6 pm on April 30, 2020 to discuss and get input from staff. There are ideas and plans to go into place for the safety of staff and residents. There will only be allowed 10 people in the building. Reopening is slotted for Tuesday, May 5, 2020.
Use of masks, social distancing, setting up the Town Hall for business including adding Plexiglas on the other window and the provision of supplies and or directions safe distancing practices was discussed. Many ideas were brainstormed and the Town Administrator has a plan in mind. The Board authorized the Town Administrator the ability to give masks out when needed.
9. PUBLIC COMMENT:
A. Questions Submitted
1. Resident asked the Board to consider doing meeting as they always have on APAT live so more residents can see them that do not have computer (zoom) access. The resident suggested that the Board members conduct their meeting like the Governor does with her live updates.
2. Can seasonal residents vote if they own property in Maine. Answer was No unless they are a registered voter in Maine.
3. When can the Planning Board meet to review site walk done on his property. When can public hearings restart? This falls under meeting guidelines and can only be done via Zoom.
Staff meeting via Zoom, April 30th at 6 pm.
Committee Chair meeting, Zoom, May 4th, 10:30 am
Warrants reviewed, May 6th, Board of Selectmen Meeting at 6 pm.
11. MEMBERS PRESENT
Selectmen Ed Walsh, Selectmen David Winchell, Selectmen Kimberly Stacey-Horn, Treasurer Michelle Rumney and Town Administrator Jennifer Roux.
12. ATTENDANCE (screen names as designated on Zoom)
Virginia, Richard, Joan Nass, Arne, Rollin, Karen & Peter, Michael Corey, Deb Anderson, Elise Miller, gboisvert, jross, Edwina, Donald Giancola, iphone, laptop (Cheryl Drisko).