Economic Committee Discusses Options

By Kaileigh Deacon 


The Economic Committee met last Friday morning in council chambers for their biweekly meeting to discuss the economic situation in Calais. 

Councilman Chris Bernardini called the meeting to order and brought the first item on the agenda to motion. The council decided to send the discussion of the Downtown Ordinance, Chapter 9, to the planning board for discussion and suggestions. The planning board met Tuesday February 19 in council chambers. They will present their suggestions to the city council at the February 28 meeting.

The next item on the agenda was the city branding and web site design. The committee decided to go ahead and proceed with asking Chris Steele to draft a template for a Request for Proposal, or RFP. “We have to be a cohesive unit and be proactive in the process,” Bernardini said about moving ahead with the branding. The committee will use the template created by Steele to reach out to companies who specialize in branding. According to Assistant City Manager Jim Porter the committee hopes to have someone on board by April to begin the process. 

The committee moved on to the next item on the agenda, the topic of switching from oil to natural gas heating in Calais. The committee is starting to look into what would be required for the city to have some areas of the city switched from oil heat to natural gas. The Woodland Pulp Mill in Baileyville has switched from oil to natural gas. The committee is looking at areas that displace a lot of heat like the hospital and the high school and community college campuses. The switch would save the city money on the cost of heating oil. More discussion will take place as the council and committee will meet with the town of Baileyville and fuel companies. 

Mayor Marianne Moore met with members of the St. Stephen city council about the East-West Highway. The council wanted to do some information gathering about what the highway means for towns like Calais and St. Stephen who are located in the middle of the stretch. The highway presents multiple opportunities for both cities and for local businesses. The group is still in the information gathering stage but the opportunity for cross border collaboration is immense. 

The committee will present their decisions at the city council meeting on February 28.