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Council Comments Include Possible Open Meeting Violations, Ambulance, TIF
By Michelle Anderson
Mar 28, 2004 - 11:28:00 AM

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MILLINOCKET -- Before the public comments section of the Town Council Meeting, Gene Conlogue spoke of Carmen Brigalli.

"Carmie was a very up-front guy. When he had something to say, he said it. He was very, very much in love with this community. And I had many times over my last 4 1/2 years of being here where Carmie would come into my office and talk about an issue, and he would always, always end up telling me a little history of the town.

"I have probably learned as much history of this town from him as from any other source. "And his love for this town was also with a great sadness because of what he had seen happen to it.

"I was talking to Money last night, and even last week, he was talking about looking across from his house in Little Italy to the parking lot -- the empty parking lot -- of the Great Northern, and he had mentioned how much transition it had gone through.

"So...I'm going to miss him. Like I said, we didn't always agree, but that's the love we had. We didn't have to agree.

"I always respected what he had to say, and I know that most of you here did as well, but he'll be missed, and I'll miss him coming to the office from time to time."

During the public comments section, which was limited to five minutes this week, Gerald Morrison spoke about how he believes that since the ambulance is not a money-making business, it should be privatized.

"And I commend Gene for what he said about Carmie, and I say that too.

He then addressed the TIF question saying "Time is of the essence here, and I caution the Council members to take a serious look at that TIF the way it was written, and when it was written. Look at the time it was written ... You can't just say you're going to give them the TIF. You have to take every part of that TIF and look at it over, and over, and over.

"The employee numbers will never come back." He went on to say, "If you approve that TIF, this company will get a rebate if the mill is running. If they shut the machines down, then the TIF stops, and you take away from some of that money."

Charlie Cirame spoke about Great Northern having run the town for years and taking the annexation and how Great Northern once took good care of their workers. Now, he says, the power is being sold out of the country.

He went on to say, "These towns have to be supported by these corporations, and if they're not going to support us with their tax dollars, we have to take it from them. We have to take it from them." He then suggested that we could develop a municipal energy company.

"We had Mr. Michaud some years ago take our rights away from us. He sold us down the river. He allowed that to happen. Now he is in Washington. If we tell him that we needed this power back, he would work with us, because his intentions were good back then. He didn't realize that the corporations were going to steal his power."

He encouraged Councilor Jimmy Busque and Councilor John Davis, telling them "Jim, keep up what you're doing. John, keep 'em moving."

Ken Anderson spoke about open meetings laws, stating, "I have some concerns about email lists that are going around among the Council. Where it has been challenged in some other states, it has been found that email correspondence and chatrooms, and those sorts of things, do constitute a meeting of the Council.

"And in the case of email lists being circulated among the Council, particularly when the purpose of it is to affect things that come before the Council, that may constitute an illegal meeting under Open Meetings legislation.

"I would also ask that the Council be cautious in your activities with MAGIC and with the Katahdin Vision project and any email lists that you may have going on there too, because both of these organizations discuss issues that later come before the Council.

"As a member of the audience here, and as a taxpayer, it seems that too often these things are decided before they ever come before the Council. It seems obvious to me, and I know it's obvious to other people.

"Where are these things being decided? They're not being decided here. You already have the position by the time you get here.

"So I might suggest that you be cautious about these email lists, because they may constitute illegal meetings under the Open Meetings legislation.

"Mr. Chairman, speaking through you to Mr. Conlogue, I understand that we can't do it alone. I understand that very well. But I think that we can find a better partner than the Nature Conservancy. That's my concern. We can't do it alone, I agree. Maybe we can get some help.

"We've wasted enough money on one set of facilitators. I'm opposed to wasting more money on another set of facilitators that aren't doing the things that they're supposed to do.

"Lastly, I wasn't going to mention this, but it came up under public discussion. Having had some experience in the ambulance business, it seems to me that 15 years is an awful long time for an ambulance. We used 10 years, but of course, some of this might be accounted for by differences between call volumes and distance. "But I think if you're getting 15 years out of an ambulance, you're doing good. In buying an ambulance, you are doing far better to spend the money to get a good one. You're going to get your money's worth. Some of the cheap ones won't even give you 10 years."

Busque then explained that he printed out copies of the email that Anderson was speaking of.

Anderson interjected that the public wasn't always aware of these things, and that was his concern.

Although David Cyr had his hand up, time for public comment had run out, and Councilor Fanjoy began reading another warrant.

This reporter did get a copy of what Cyr was going to say, and it is: "During the last Council Meeting, we watched in amazement as MAGIC members of our Council voted down a development issue.

"Now, are we going to gain faith in MAGIC's development activities if the members of MAGIC vote down developments issues?

"It is my understanding that a single individual has been buying several buildings in the downtown area and has requested permission to tear them down. "Can you address these two issues?"

Cyr also wanted to address "the possibility of saving the radio station which has been a fixture in Millinocket since the early 1960s."

© Copyright 2002-2007 by Magic City Morning Star

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