COUNCIL CHAIRMAN JOHN PERREAULT conducts business at Tuesday night’s meeting in Brunswick.

COUNCIL CHAIRMAN JOHN PERREAULT conducts business at Tuesday night’s meeting in Brunswick.


It took the Brunswick Town Council just under two hours to get through its agenda Tuesday night — approving several changes designed to produce smoother, faster meetings.

The rule change proposals, said Chairman John Perreault, came after concerns from councilors that meetings were running too long. In 2017, for instance, the council experienced some marathon meetings — including at least one that lasted for approximately five hours.

“For my own thinking, moving the meetings up earlier makes the day go a little better and it’s better for staff,” said Vice Chairwoman Suzan Wilson. “They have to stay here already for our meetings.”

Three councilors said a 6p.m.start time would cut into their work day, but they supported the 6:30 p.m. start time, approved unanimously, as part of the council rule changes adopted.

The agenda order was also altered, with correspondence, council reports and consent agenda moved to the end to try to get to the town’s business sooner, according to Perreault. Public comment was bumped ahead as well.

There was dissent Tuesday as the council discussed voting on whether to exercise jurisdiction over a special permit granted to Brunswick School Department for expansion of a non-conforming footprint for the new elementary school being planned for the Jordan Acres site.

The special permit was granted by the planning board Jan. 9. If the council takes no action within 30 days of the approval, the planning board decision stands.

On Tuesday, the council opted 8-1 not to take action.

Councilor Jane Millett strongly opposed taking the vote, arguing she didn’t know the special permit would be up for a vote Tuesday. She hadn’t been able to contact a neighbor with concerns about the permit application and said a vote Tuesday would put her in a bad position.

“This is a big item and it deserves careful consideration,” she said.

“I thought it was a simple thing,” Perreault said, adding he was open to what the rest of the council wanted to do. “I just think it’s a goodwill gesture for the school and to the citizens who voted on this.”

Other action

Perreault said the council will discuss the 2018-19 budget calendar at its Feb. 5 meeting. Councilor Allison Harris, who serves on the finance committee, suggested the council consider setting some kind of target tax rate increase for next year — something that would provide guidance for the school board during its budget process.

“The finance committee is really trying to take the long view, understanding that we probably have a firehouse to fund. We definitely have a school to fund,” Harris said. “Because of the school, taxes are going to go up at least 4 percent in a couple of years.”

Town Manager John Eldridge reported Tuesday on the water shortage situation at Bay Bridge Estates mobile home park off Old Bath Road. He said a third well that was expected to be online at some point this week will not be online until Jan. 22, at the earliest, according to park management.

Councilors discussed whether there is some level of oversight or other avenues the town can pursue that may help prevent such problems at mobile home parks in town. Councilor David Watson called for new state legislation to that end.

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