Calais City Council Discusses Paving, County Budget

By Amy Jeanroy

 

COUNTY BUDGET

The Council met on May 11th, with all Councilor's present. They quickly approved the minutes from last month's meeting and started on this month's agenda items. 

The first topic was the County budget. Calais’ portion of the County budget this year rose to $282,000 or 5% of the overall budget. There was a suggestion to hold a check back as a statement about the rising cost of the budget.  

“I think if we don't get a hold of the increases that we keep seeing across the board they are just going to keep going," said Councilor Rogers. “At least this makes a statement of some sort.” 

Councilor Nixon replied that it might make some of the other communities do the same thing. 

“They are getting more out of it than we are,” said Mayor Howard. 

Councilor Sherrard said that it would be a good idea to talk to the other communities and get a delegation together from the town councils and all show up to show a united front. The councilors decided to go forward with organizing a delegation. 

City Manager, Jim Porter,  shared that Tim Crow from Jo’s Pizzeria wanted to provide lunch for the Public Works for doing such a great job cleaning up the city. The lunch will be for all city employees.  

Porter also had received a  message from Brian Giles from the Lions’ Club, who wanted to Calais to start an Adopt a Highway Program. The state has this program in place, and it would mean so the Lion’s Club would take care of a portion of the road to the traffic circle,  picking up trash and being responsible for keeping it clean.  The City has to apply to the state to do that. If accepted by the state, signs could be placed along the road saying which organization takes care of each portion of the road. 

The Council discussed how much the cleanup was needed, and agreed that the City should apply to the program. 

Porter finished by saying, “I think this is something we could build on.” 

PAVING

Next, Porter discussed the paving issue. The bid did come in at slightly higher than anticipated. Instead of $70 a ton, it was $72.90, making the total bid $165,000 including the setup fee instead of the $155,000. This bid included the streets of Monroe, Cedar, Spruce, Boardman and Stillson. 

The bid they discussed was from Paving Management Services, who combines more than one town to get the best price for individual towns.  As a point of reference, in 2014 the city had to pay $114 a pound because of the cost of oil was much higher. So, although the estimate was a bit lower than the actual bid, it is much lower than just a couple of years ago. 

The Council discussed the roads that need to be fixed not on that list to be sure that the most damaged areas would be repaired under this bid. The first few feet of Garfield St. specifically, as well at the part of Spring St. that was peeling up and lower Garfield, it was agreed were the neediest. 

In the plan of work to be done in the future is Palmer, Summer, and Steamboat Road says Seelye from Public Works. 

Sherrard asked which ones could wait another year so they could address the streets that needed the work more. 

Your surplus is going to be $1,400,000 says, Jim Porter. Councilor Mingo asked what the city budgeted for paving and was told $125,000 in undesignated funds and then $40,000 out of the budget. Skeet recommended doing lower Garfield and Whitlock Lane. 

Jim recommended taking Stilton off the list and adding the two streets that need more work to keep the cost the same but address the streets that needed work the most. 

SCHOOL LIAISON

The Council decided to have their school liaison meeting before the school meeting every month. This will help increase communication between the city council and the school board. 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Councilor Mingo reported on the last economic development meeting saying that the group was still pushing forward with the nursing home concept.  Councilor Mingo has a meeting with the new CEO  within the next two weeks. 

Mingo said that the Economic Development was discussing perhaps adding assisted living and daycare in the same facility if the state will change the payment structure to make this feasible. 

Councilor Mingo also reported on news about the ATV trail (See The Calais Advertiser article on page 2 for more on this.)

Councilor Nixon reported that CDRC ordered more liners for the hanging baskets that are displayed around the city, due to damaged baskets that couldn't be reused. Because of this, there will be extra flowers and Nixon requested permission to plant the excess flowers near the sculpture in Triangle Park. The consensus from the councilors was to try it and see if the new gardens survive the season. 

Skeet said that he had enough money in the Public Works budget to pay for the whiskey barrels to plant the flowers. The City would pay for the liners. Also, she asked if two benches could be placed near the sculpture where the flowers would be. Councilor Nixon also offered to be in charge of the project. 

ROUND TABLE 

Skeet, Public Works, asked for permission to go to the Highway Congress in Skowhegan on June 1 and let the City know that they have two guys in the upcoming Snowplow Rodeo. 

Lowell Street gardens are starting to grow and the banners are up downtown. Public Works will be providing mulch for the garden to inhibit weeds and keep it looking good. 

Councilor Sherrard asked for an update on South Street and why it is taking so long to finish. Public Works gave a report on what was happening with this long ongoing project, which can be found in this week's The Calais Advertiser on page 7. 

Councilor Rogers asked if the council could take the City's Capital Improvement Plan and update it stating, “We haven't looked at it in three years, and I believe it should be reviewed.”

She also asked about recognition of volunteers saying, “Also, where are we in recognizing our volunteers? I don’t want lose any of the volunteer's names while we are getting the brick project off the ground.”

Mayor Howard mentioned that it has been recommended the City find an alternative way to access the riverside walkway. 

The Council then went into Executive Session.