City Council Meeting - August 11, 2016

By Michael R. Brown 

The city Council spent some time discussing the pending removal of the state Department of Health and Human Service office from Calais to Machias. Discussion centered on a proposal for the council to send a letter to DHHS. Among several aspects, councilors mentioned distance, population to be served, seniority of current staffers who live in Calais, and the major reason given by the agency, which was the cost of rent. City Manager Jim Porter said, “I have several properties available at substantially less.” In the end, the council approved a motion for all members to sign the letter.

While there was general praise among the council and the public who attended the meeting for the quality of the recent International Festival, councilors were also aware that the there will have to be a meeting with the organizers for next year. Councilor Anne Nixon noted that “It was too complicated before.”

Work on the ATV trail came up again. Some councilors have met with the Sunrise Trail Coalition. The proposal on the agenda for this meeting requested an $800 contribution from the council to support gravel on Hardscrabble Road. That request was tabled.

Regarding diesel and unleaded gas, the council approved a bid by V.L. Tammaro. The council also approved requests for a Family Movie Night in Memorial Park for August 20th and a blanket permit for Knights of Columbus Bingo.

Earlier the Property Committee met and discussed two topics.  The first concerned the limits on home businesses, which had to do with “an occupation or profession which is customarily a home occupation wholly within the structure with no exterior sign.” Other conditions included square footage, nuisance conditions, gross sales, traffic, and hours of business. Mayor Moore noted the distinction between “commercial” and “home business.”

The committee also discussed a number of “dangerous buildings.”


Finally, the work on Devil’s Head devolved into an inconclusive discussion of liability insurance and “volunteers.” Lura Jackson asserted that the Friends of Devil’s Head have filed papers for tax exempt status.