Well you might want to know what happened at the council meeting last night. Since I was present at the Council meeting last night I thought I will tell you. I feel it is some positive interesting news. There are positive stories in Kittery that happen at the council and this is my side, just the facts. View the stream here or visit Channel 22.
I will be trying to recap the Council Meeting after every session since much of the our news seems to escape the press. Here is a link to the full council packets and the school budget. It is in PDF form and adobe reader will be required to view it. PDF Version
First and foremost, Councilor Frank Dennett was back in action.
The Council began a workshop with the Rice Library Board of trustees. At issues was where to put the library. The group originally wanted to build the new library where the annex was at the Community Center.
The library layout was discussed and how it should be one level for ease of access and a line of site set up for the staff. This cuts down on the amount of staff members needed and therefore creates a cost savings benefit built into the design.
Among the locations to move the library were the:
Old Community Center pending input from the local residents,
The old Kittery Family Practice building, adjacent to the Annex if room permitted
The Kittery Water District area if the Water District moves
The corner area of the old Wentworth Dennett School
The old Fire Station building.
Also discussed was underground parking but that quickly disappeared based on cost issues as explained by the Town Manager.
The old Kittery Family Practice building is up for sale and was currently still on the market as of last nights meeting. There was talk that an offer has been made on the building by someone else but Chairman Thomson suggested the library move to check into it. Councilor Pelletier suggested that the KCC is only one group and discussion between all parties could perhaps be held.
To start with, we were presented with the FY-15 Kittery School Budget by superintendent Allyn Hutton. There were several accomplishments as well as initiatives laid out. There are approximately 1087 students in the Kittery School Department.
According to Hutton’s handout,
Mitchell has 419 students and 33 teachers, 18 educational techs, 64 total staff members
Shapleigh has 402 students 34 teachers, 15 educational techs, 63 total staff members
Traip has 266 students, 29 teachers, 5 educational techs and a total of 50.5 staff members.
The central office has 9 staff members bringing the total staff of the Kittery School System to 185.5 employees.
- Total student count 1087 and 35 % of Students of Free and Reduced meals. That is about 381 students.
Hutton said there was 200 employees and a total of 1087 students.
Superintendent passed out a very informative package which included the new positions the school was adding and cuts that were made for FY-15. Hutton did mentioned by not adding the cost of the plowing to the budget which costs the schools approximately $32,000.00 per year kept the spending at 1.5 %. This added cost was a result of the Town not plowing the school parking lots and requiring the school to do it. All in all the budget seems to be on track and the spending was kept at or below the 1.5 percent.
Councilor Thomson wanted to make it clear to all council members that the spending was 1.5 percent but the needed revenue from the property tax to be applied to the budget was 2.44 percent based on decline in revenue. Hutton confirmed this understanding.
Councilor Pelletier asked if the School Committee supported the budget and many of the members were present tonight and Hutton stated a resounding yes.
Councilor Thomson questioned Hutton about the $14,000 budgeted for the Athletic Trainer and asked if the school department had a discussion with York Hospital. Superintendent Hutton stated yes we did and we asked for proposals from more than one individual and what received was one at the end of the day.
Thomson then questioned that answer and asked didn’t you receive information that York Hospital was willing to provide this service at no charge? Hutton responded, no, this was not communicated to us.
(It should be noted that this would have been a great deal and if this was offered for free, it would have freed up some of the funds that had to be cut for other programs. This should still be explored if in fact it was available to help save the Town and the school department money.)
As a reminder for the citizens, the school budget is scheduled for a preliminary vote coming up April 14th, and then may 12th for a public hearing and and a validation vote for the community on June 10th, 2014.
I raised a question concerning one issue from several of Superintendent Hutton’s original 2011 initiatives from the Town Report. Available Here (Click the Link)
(Note: I mistakenly referred to her as Superintendent Dennett when I first asked her a question. I apologize to Superintendent Hutton and Frank Dennett.)
The 2011 Town Report reflected many of the newly hired Superintendent’s first outlined goals including grants. Since this particular 2011 goal was directly related to the budget, I was concerned that it remained a priority and Hutton assured me it was.
Secondly I was concerned about a report recently release by the State in a 2013 report indicated or suggested 22 percent of Traip students contemplated suicide and it appears we were the highest.
I feel the delay by the State in the release of the report is unacceptable.
I was also concerned for the fact that bullying is one of these leading causes and it is still going on in our school systems. I asked Hutton if there was adequate funding here to strengthen our programs and policies. Hutton responded that her staff is involved and next year due to the Governors initiative, she is going to have a training class on this topic. She also noted that when she had a public forum on this topic, only (5) five citizen members showed up. My concern is clearly that Cyber bullying is occurring in the schools and we need to be pro active with our policies and education.
I noted that we should not be waiting for next year to conduct this training.
The Kittery Town Council authorized the submission of a Transportation Planning Grant for a US Route 1 By-pass “Complete Street” coordination and US Route 1/State Road Two Way Connector Study.
The Town Manager reported that the Planning Board will be now aired on Channel 22 as well as streaming. Chairman Thomson suggested this would be another remedy for insomnia. The crowd laughed.
The Town Manager also updated us on the issues with the Town report and that the transition of the Town Managers and sharing of Town Clerk responsibilities have hindered those from being completed but they will be getting done soon.
Two residents spoke about the bicycles and the coming seasons.
One spoke to the ongoing issue of these riders failing to follow the rules of the roadway causing traffic concerns on Whipple Rd. and the need for the councils consideration for action.
The other resident who is a bicyclist and spoke to the fact there are already laws on the books that allow bicyclists room and before Council starts adding others they should review the current laws.
Council approved the renewal application for Malt, Spirituous and Vinous Liquor License for the Rudders Public House, 70 Wallingford Square, Kittery.
John McArdle for his re-appointment to Shell fish conservation board until 03/15/2017.
Ann H. Grinnell was appointed to the EDC board as a Business Representative until 12/31/14.
David Lincoln re-appointment to the Parks Commission as a full member until 05/03/17.
Herbert Kingsbury re-appointment to the Conservation Commission until 5/31/2017
Page Mead re-appointment to the Parks Commission until 05/03/17.
COUNCILOR ISSUES OR COMMENT.
Councilor Brake brought up a missing sign by Shapleigh School
Councilor Dennett stated there is a side walk on the North Side and pedestrians need to walk on the south side and state law requires the use of the sidewalk. He added the majority of people don’t care.
- Chairman Thomson welcomed Frank back.
I brought up the Boston Cane was found but yet we have not issued it. I brought this up last week and there was a resident at Kittery Estates that was 105 years old and would qualify. This needs to be done soon. On 3-0/2014, I raised an issue brought by up by a local citizen. based on his inquiry, I brought up the information as conveyed to me. As with the citizen, I don’t know who currently holds the Boston Post Cane for Kittery (given to the oldest living resident), but I think the previous holder passed away in December 2012. Her name was Wilma “Doll” I do not know if anyone else has been awarded the “Cane”, but I do know a woman at Kittery Estates named Alice Mayhew who turned 105 on February 8th of this year who certainly should be recognized.If she is in line for the Boston Post Cane it would be nice to recognize her. I believe the Kittery Town Council awarded the cane to Doll Edwards but I don’t know how it’s determined who is in line for it. Alice has been at Kittery Estates since around 2009.
I recognized Cindy Saklad the Town of Kittery’s finance director for doing a great job on the AA+ bond rating,
Teacher Joe Boudreau who is in charge of the Traip’s Robotics Team and that they are still looking for donations to help them get to ANAHIEM CALIFORNIA.Tax-deductible contributions in support of the team can be mailed to:
12 Williams Ave.
Kittery, ME 03904 Attn:Joe Boudreau. Checks can be made payable to the Traip Academy VEX Robotics Team.
I also wanted to recognized Police Officer Christopher Kondos who met with a senior citizen this week and handled a concern and then took some time to speak to him about the citizen serving in World War II. This act of taking a few extra minutes to lighten up someones day is what professionalism is all about.
The citizens concern was about Microsoft Windows calls about viruses and updates. Microsoft, the IRS, Virus Companies and anyone calling for money is almost always a scam. These companies do not solicit money or ask to get on your computer. Tell them you have a MAC and hang up and then report it to the police.
Don’t ever give personal information out. Such as if someone calls for bail money for a relative or tells you have won a lottery and you need to pay the tax. It’s all a scam. and it happens here in Kittery all the time.
Communications from the Chairperson
March 31, 6PM-Workshop with George et al. on sewer betterment assessments. I anticipate this will be no more than 90 minutes of duration.
April 7- another ‘Open Workshop’ evening.
6PM-6:15: final cleanup of language relating to CIP charge
6:15-7:15: FEMA discussion. Nancy will alert property owners who may be interested thru website and Portsmouth Herald article
7:15-8:15: Workshop with PB, CPUC, and EDC on clarification of roles.
April 14 Regular Meeting-please refer to packet on action items regarding FY15 Education Budget
April 28 Regular Meeting-Town Manager presentation of FY15 municipal budget. Tentative workshop dates have been noted-we can certainly discuss if changes are needed.
May 5-in addition to a possible budget workshop, this would be our first planned workshop with PB (if any material is forthcoming).
May 12 Regular Meeting-Education Budget Validation Public Hearing
May 19-Possible municipal budget workshop. We could possibly begin the evening with a Special Meeting Executive Session on labor negotiations if Nancy feels one is necessary at this point.
Our second regular meeting in May will be Wednesday the 28th due to the Monday holiday.
June 9 Regular Meeting-PH on municipal budget. Town citizen vote on various warrant articles and Education Budget validation vote on Tuesday, June 10.
June 23 Regular Meeting-Council acts on municipal appropriation articles.
Also Councilor Thomson brought up the J1 website hosted by ourkittery and that the meeting was productive. If people want to post apartment rooms, rooms for rent, bicycles or providing assistance to these foreign Students, they can fill out the forms on J1 COALITION ON OURKITTERY.com.
“Now you know the rest of the story. – Paul Harvey”