City Council Accepts Fire Chief Resignation

By Kaileigh Deacon

 

The Calais City Council met on Thursday night in Council Chambers. After the Pledge the meeting was called to order and the consent agenda was approved unanimously. 

In his city manager’s report Jim Porter asked that three items be added to the agenda. Also during his report Porter presented to the council a draft of a letter to go out on behalf of the council concerning the hospital board’s decision to close the obstetrics. Councilor Mike Sherrard read the letter to the council and those present at the meeting. 

Sherrard (reading the letter): In a time when our region is striving to attract young families, it sends a negative message when they learn the nearest obstetrics unit is over one hour away. 

Here Councilor Anne Nixon asked that at the end of the letter the council ask for the complete resignation of all board members, which all councilors unanimously agreed on. 

Porter then told the council about his meeting with Sunrise Opportunities who had plans to rebuild the Beckett Center. They asked for a land swap to make everything more accessible. Artie Mingo expanded on more of this in his report from the Economic Development Committee. The group would rebuild the existing center and look into the possibility of building a new nursing home in Calais. 

Mingo: We also met with Sunrise Opportunity. The other half of the discussion was the nursing home. They showed some interest in working with the city to establish a new facility. It’s just the beginning but it’s a start. 

The council then looked at the school department budget which was approved by the school committee at Tuesday’s meeting. After looking at the budget the Councilor Marcia Rogers made a motion to accept the budget, with Councilor Eddie Moreside seconding, Nixon, Geel, Mingo, Moreside, and Rogers were in favor of the budget and Sherrard was opposed. The council then set a referendum date for the budget approval for June 27 from 9am-6pm at the City Building.  

Next on the agenda was the approval of a public hearing date on the budget. Prior to approving the date councilors asked several questions about the budget. Moreseide asked about looking at the fire department budget more closely. Porter requested that the administration salary be increased by 1%. The budget was then set for a public hearing on June 29 at 6pm. 

In new business the council unanimously approved TIF Approval and Credit Enhancements, the request by Jim Porter to allow himself as well as Skeet Seeley to carry over one week and two weeks of vacation time respectively. The council then awarded the bid of building demolition to Richard Mingo Construction for Baring Street and Stanhope Construction unanimously, Councilor Mingo abstained from the vote. The bid for the downtown lighting upgrade was then awarded to Geel Electrical unanimously with Councilor Geel abstaining.  The council then unanimously approved the pay off of the water loans. 

The council then heard and accepted the resignation of Fire Chief Robert Posik. Posik has accepted a job with FEMA out of Virginia and will be done at the end of June. 

Mingo: Thank you Chief for your years and running those departments efficient. 

The council then looked at the agenda items Porter added at the beginning of the meeting. The first two were concerning the building of a Veteran’s Clinic on Palmer Street. The issue went before the Planning Board on Tuesday. The issue was brought up about the need for the area to be rezoned from a R-1 to R-1P allowing commercial property. The R1-P zone would also have to be altered to include clinics which the code doesn’t currently allow. Public hearings for both these topics will be held on the June 29 council meeting. 

In their final agenda item the council unanimously approved the acceptance of a 54K DEP Grant that would add a pump out system at the docks. The grant required no matching funds and would go to the pump out at the water front. 

During the roundtable Kathleen Staples took the opportunity to thank Chief Posik for all the help he has given the library over his years in Calais. 

The next City Council meeting will be held on June 29 in Council Chambers at the City Building.