Finance Committee Reviews Budget at 6 Month Mark

By Amy Jeanroy

“The budget is in good shape” Jim Porter, City Manager states as the committee reviewed the first 6 months of the city’s budget for 2016. 

Crystal Myers reported she had also sent all the information needed to the City Auditor so there is nothing else they are waiting on. 

Billy Howard said that the city is doing very well on the heating bill so far, but Porter reminded the room that this was the same time last year that all the heavy snow and winter really started. But he also stated that the heating budget looked good. 

Howard also questioned why the cost of the Recreation Department sewer bill for the second quarter was exceptionally high. Rec Department Director, Craig Morrison did not know what the increase was from. He had told the city that it may have been a running toilet or outdoor shower left on overnight. By the third quarter, the cost was back in line with what was budgeted.  Porter said he would talk to Morrison about where in the Rec budget the money was going to be made up. 

It was mentioned that perhaps the fire chief could offer free inspections to the business owners to be sure that they are in compliance with fire safety, to prevent any fines from potential problems. 

The traffic lights were up for discussion next. The account, $2,000 over budget, may be from the electric bill from the North Street lights not syncing correctly and needing to be repaired.  Porter said that DOT is replacing both sets of traffic lights and there shouldn’t be any problems for a few years after that happens. 

“All the equipment is ancient,” said Porter. “We have had lightning strikes blow the circuits in the boxes and they get knocked out of synch.” Once DOT puts in the lights, it will be up to the city to keep them maintained. 

Calais ambulance is already over their budget and Billy Howard asked what they are going to do about maintenance for the rest of the year.  Porter called it an issue and there was some discussion on what solutions may be. Including finding out where their contract area covers and  being sure that they are staying within the boundaries. Also, Marcia Howard asked if it was always necessary to send all the vehicles to every event, or would it be more prudent to arrive at the scene and assess if an ambulance is also needed. 

 

Finally, Porter told the committee that there is an issue in wastewater. December 12  the wastewater treatment plant at Steamboat Street had a complete failure. It was a $30,000 bill and it was reduced to $26,000. The station did not overflow, but both the main motor and the replacement motor failed. The committee asked if the motors were still under warranty, since they were less than 5 years old. Porter said that the city would look into it.