City Council Meeting - January 12, 2017

By Michael R. Brown

 Unlike the county commissioners who when we last heard were still behind on their 2015 audit, the Calais City Council has received preliminary figures on its 2016 audit six weeks ahead of last year. A draft should be presented to the council by February 9 and a final audit by early March. 

 James Porter, the City Manager, informed the council that the part-time assistant had left to take a full-time job, and the head of the Planning Board had resigned after a dozen years in service. Advertisements for replacements will be put in the papers. The assistant's job is for 30 hours per week and without benefits. The usual practice for the Planning Board is for the new person to become the alternate and a seated member to move up to the leadership position.

Another request has come to the city manager for ice skating facilities. Mr. Porter agreed that plans should be developed for two separate rinks for next year, one downtown and one in Milltown.

 As if to keep an eye on their elders, a group of Cub Scouts working on their civic government merit badges were present to question the councilors on the nature of their work. Each scout presented an inquiry: Why do they want to be a mayor and councilors? What do councilors do? What do they plan to accomplish this year? In general terms, the councilors noted their interests in town well-being, economic development, and schools. The members of the council asserted they all wanted to "get involved."

Mayor Howard was asked how long he had been mayor and how he got to be mayor. He had to pause for a minute to laugh and calculate then estimate "90 days." Mayor Howard noted he had been elected. To a question about "making laws," the Mayor Howard replied by referring to them as "ordinances."

One cub scout asked where the city gets its money for street plowing. The general answer was that money for most civic projects derives from city taxes and assessments. At least two people commended the city department of streets for dealing with the weather this year.

The long-standing problem of the defunct property at 64 Lafayette has been settled. One councilor said that the owners should be given 30 days to remove vehicles, then demolition should begin. The City Manager noted that there is $44,000 in the budget for demolition.

Two householders sent sewer abatement requests, and the council approved. Also, Councilor Rogers suggested the council continue to monitor what is happening with county taxes. Mayor Howard suggested that owing to new policies established by the Department of the Interior; the city should write to the director to present the city's concerns.

The Finance Committee will meet at 4 pm on Tuesday, January 31, to review the budget and audit. At 5 pm on the same day, the Public Safety Committee will meet to discuss the Disruptive Property Ordinance, Bow Hunting in City Limits, and Downtown-City Cameras.


The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 9th at 6 pm.