Calais Property Committee and City Council

By Michael R. Brown


On Thursday, December 8th, a lengthy meeting of the Property Committee discussed two issues. 

The first was a response to the city’s offer to buy three large buildings no longer needed at the Ferry Point border crossing. The council sought to get the largest building as a shed to be re-sited on city property as a road salt storage building. The Government Services Administration responded quickly and positively to the bid. Council discussion centered primarily on the use of all three buildings, the timing of the purchase, costs to move and set up the main building, and how to use or dispose of the two smaller ones. City Manager Jim Porter will go back to the GSA to seek answers on timing and other requirements. 

The more contentious issue was a request from Gary Young of Hi Tex Property Management in a follow up to his letter brought before the council at its previous meeting. That letter, headed “Fire Hall ‘Extras’ Invoice” stated:

Regarding the gable ends on the front and back, we had to take out all loose brick and replace; Underneath 11 windows we have had to take out all loose brick and replace; We had to tear down and rebuild the parapet wall because it was unsafe; we had to clean the brick so we could re-use the ones we could. We had to buy new brick to replace the parapet wall.

The additional costs cited were $2,380 for material and $8,450 for extra labor.

Mr. Young stated he had gone to both Town Manager Porter and Mayor Billy Howard to let them know about what he called “the corn flake effect.” On the back side of the building the brick on the inside of the wall was shattered. Mr. Young said that he observed the wall waving back and forth on a windy day.

He also asserted, “I am not here to try to gouge the city. I’m just asking for a little help.” 

Councilor Mingo offered, “15 years ago when I was on the council. We said we were not in the business of subsidizing businesses.”

Councilor Moreside said, “I voted on the materials—the brick—but that’s as far as I go.”

Councilor Rogers asked, “Why not come to the council?”

Councilor Nixon said, “I just think at the end of the day, we would have voted to fix it.”

The committee brought the proposals for both issues before the council during its regular meeting. Councilor Nixon put forth motions of support both pay for the repair to St. Croix Fire House No. 1 and to purchase the GSA buildings. Both motions passed.

At the beginning of the general meeting, the council praised the members of the state champions Calais Lady Blue Devils volleyball team who were in the room. The council also gave a plaque to former Mayor Marianne Moore, who vowed she was not leaving town or participation in civic affairs. Mechanic Fred Dearborn was confirmed as a new hire.

Manager Porter announced that the chair of the County Commission and a number of representatives from other towns will gather at a meeting open to public Wednesday , December 14th, at 5 p.m. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the commission’s financial management.