June 18, 2018
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Veazie sewer trustees to hold emergency meeting

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

VEAZIE, Maine — The Veazie Sewer District board of trustees have scheduled an emergency meeting for 7:30 p.m. Monday at the district’s offices at 34 Hobson Avenue.

It was not clear Friday why the meeting was called or what will be discussed. A meeting agenda was not available and messages left for Chairman Rob Tomilson and Superintendent Gary Brooks were not immediately returned.

Notice of the emergency meeting came two days after the trustees discussed a looming budget crisis, namely that unless trustees take quick action, the district will not be able to cover its costs, including payroll, by October, when a debt service payment is due.

During a three-hour meeting on Wednesday night, the trustees heard the annual audit report and monthly cash flow projections from Nick Henry of the Ellsworth accounting firm Horton McFarland & Veysey.

Henry, who has been the utility’s auditor for the past four years, pegged the district’s annual operating costs at about $525,000 and its income at roughly $475,000, resulting in an estimated shortfall of $50,000.

In addition, the district’s reserve accounts apparently have been depleted to cover operating costs.

As a short-term strategy to deal with the district’s cash flow problem, trustees voted 2-1 to:

• Put a freeze on any payments to employees for accrued benefits, such as sick day buy-back benefits and lump sum severance pay.

• Ask the Town Council to consider moving up a sewer assessment payment not due until December.

• Explore the possibility of obtaining an up-to-$100,000 “bridge” loan to cover costs until the district regains its financial footing.

Tomilson and Trustee James Parker directed Brooks to come up with a solid plan for cutting costs as they begin looking into a sewer rate increase.

At the end of Wednesday night’s meeting, Brooks distributed a document to trustees, who have yet to discuss the contents or provide a copy.

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