Bath Council hears trash truck woes
Mayor Susan Webster welcomed newly elected Councilman Scott Merki to the Bath Town Council at the first meeting of the new fiscal year on Monday, July 2.
Webster assigned Merki to chair the Cemetery Committee and passed out committee assignments to council members.
The assignments were:
Cemetery Committee – Chairman Scott Merki, Kenny Easton, Nancy Harvey.
Finance Committee – Chairman David Crosby, Garnet Marsh, Susan Webster.
Grant Committee – Chairperson Garnet Marsh, Nancy Harvey, Scott Merki.
Ordinance Committee – Chairperson Nancy Harvey, David Crosby, Dale Lutman .
Public Safety – Chairman Dale Lutman, Kenny Easton, Susan Webster.
Public Works – Chairman Kenny Easton, Dale Lutman, Scott Merki.
Water Works – Chairperson Susan Webster, David Crosby, Garnet Marsh.
Meeting day change
The council had the first reading of an ordinance that changes meeting days from the first and third Monday of each month to the first and third Tuesday each month.
Webster said that four holidays fall on Mondays, causing council meetings to move to Tuesdays. She also cited a state-mandated meeting on the third Tuesday of April to set the tax levy as another reason for changing the meeting day.
The 5:30 p.m. meeting time would remain unchanged.
The second reading of the ordinance will be on Monday, July 16. The ordinance is now expected to pass without discussion.
The first Tuesday meeting will be on August 7.
Wilkes Street plans
Mayor Webster read a letter that was being sent to State Highway Engineer Robert Amtower, commending him for his work on plans to repave Wilkes Street between Fairfax Street and Rt. 9 west.
Webster suggested Amtower come to town and meet with Wilkes Street residents to review the plan with them.
Webster also asked that the portion of Wilkes Street north of Rt. 9 be strongly considered as a not-so-distant future project.
Kevin Mallory, a resident of Wilkes Street, expressed concern about cars not stopping for people in the town's crosswalks. Council agreed this is an ongoing problem.
Webster said police will run a sting operation in the near future. Councilman David Crosby volunteered to be the person attempting to cross the street.
Trash truck needs repair
Councilman Kenny Easton said the town's one running trash truck is in need of repair. He pointed out that the amount of trash collected has greatly increased, causing additional trips to the landfill.
In order to have the truck repaired, the town will have to lease or borrow a truck while the repairs are done.
Finance Chairman Crosby said the cost of leasing a trash truck is about $1,750 per month.
Town Recorder Garnet Marsh suggested contacting the state to see if they had any trucks sitting idle due to recent cutbacks. Another suggestion was to try and borrow a truck from Hancock.
Easton said that eventually a new trash truck will have to be purchased.
Crosby estimated the cost of a new truck at $90,000.
He said rates for trash collection might have to be raised.
"If our costs are 3% higher, then we should raise our rates by 3%," Crosby said.
Councilman Merki disagreed. He said many people in town are living on fixed incomes and can't afford an increase.
The mayor said council would have to spend more time studying the issue.
Budgets cut 10%
Finance Committee Chairman Crosby said that during the budget process in March, the committee estimated the town would be $16,000 in the black when the fiscal year ended on June 30.
Due to unexpected expenses, the town actually finished the fiscal year only $8,000 in the black. This will require departmental budgets to be adjusted down by 10% to offset the shortfall.
Town Clerk Margie Allgyer said she has to have the new budget submitted to the state by July 16, so work has to start on the new budget figures immediately.
Business license fees due
Police Chief James Minton reminded business owners that their license fees are past due. Police Secretary Barbara Cirigliano said that out of 400 license notices that were sent out, only 229 businesses had paid so far.
Business owners who have not paid their license fees should contact Cirigliano at police headquarters.
Chief Minton reported crime statistics for the first half of 2007. As of July 2, there have been nine DUI arrests, 23 criminal arrests, 13 accident investigations and 85 other arrests, mostly for drug possession.
Minton said there were three vehicle break-ins on Friday night into Saturday morning, June 29-30.
He warned women not to leave their purses in view or leave their car unlocked or
running while they run into a store.
Councilman Easton reported that a friend of Minton's from Virginia donated a 1997 Crown Victoria and radio equipment for the purpose of starting a reserve officer program.
Easton, Minton and Councilman Dale Lutman have been talking about starting a reserve officer program for some time.
Recorder Marsh suggested that a proposal for the program, including a job description for reserve officers and a budget, be submitted to council.
"We need to make it happen," Easton said.
Marsh, who heads the Grant Committee, said she is writing an ordinance that would give the Streetscape Committee some autonomy to make decisions on how to spend grant money without going through council.
Marsh said that the duration of the Streetscape project would go beyond this council and probably others. She said it didn't make sense to run all Streetscape decisions by council.
She suggested that only decisions that require expenditures would need to be approved by council.
Council discussed what to
do about trees that were overhanging and blocking street signs.
Mayor Webster suggested town employees should make a list of trees that need to be trimmed. The list will then be passed to the Tree Committee for action.
Webster said that if an overhanging tree is on public land, it can be trimmed by the committee, but if it is on private property, the owner will have to be notified first.