Council Accepts $35,000 Bequest to the Library

By Kaileigh Deacon


The Calais City Council met on Thursday, November 30th. The council was bequeathed $35,000 for the Calais Free Library. It was not specified in the bequest how the money was to be used so it was up to the city and the library to figure out what was needed most. The biggest issue at the library is building maintenance so the money was accepted gratefully and put into the library’s building fund. 

The council also briefly revisited a list of dangerous buildings from the previous meeting. The council agreed to send letters to all owners stating that the buildings needed to be brought up to the standards outlined in the letter by Code Enforcement Officer Tim Krug or be demolished within six months of the sending of the letter. While the council acknowledged that some property owners had been more cooperative than others, they agreed that by sending the letter they are staying uniform in their actions.

In a unanimous decision, the city council accepted all high bids on tax acquired properties. They also reached a payment arrangement with a city resident, Sean Howard. The council approved the request to amend his current plan after looking at his continuous payments over the years. The current balance is close to what his  2017 taxes would be. Mayor Billy Howard abstained from the vote. 

After much debate, the City Council awarded the bid for the hauling of solid waste to the lowest bidder, C&C. Some members of the council were concerned with the past performance of the hauler. The vote came down to a vote of three in favor, Marcia Rogers, Mike Sherrard, and Mark Carr, and two opposed, Scott Geel and Billy Howard. Artie Mingo and Anne Nixon were absent. The council’s decision is dependent on the inspection of the hauler’s equipment, including both the vehicle and the bin, and adhering to the terms of the contract. The inspection will be conducted by Director Skeet Seelye of the Public Works Department.

The council appointed Ron O’Brien to the Planning Board to fill a vacancy. O’Brien volunteered for the position. The council also approved the option of allowing city employees to use the Maine Start program for retirement, which would cost the city nothing but would allow employees the opportunity to set money aside for their retirement. Crystal Gallina presented the council with the Audit Contract Renewal for the auditors. Gallina’s recommendation was to renew the contract with the current auditor, RKO. The contract would be for three years at roughly the same rate. The recommendation comes with the support of the school and based on the performance of the company through the last contract. 

City Manager Jim Porter will write up how the city runs and operates for the St. Croix No. 1 Firehouse Time Capsule. The St. Croix Valley Chamber of Commerce is putting together a forty-two page magazine entitled Best Kept Secrets of Way Downeast. The magazine will highlight all the things there are to do in Downeast Maine, the places to visit, trails to hike, what small town living is like, business directory, and highlighting Native American culture. 

The next city council meeting will take place on Thursday, December 14 in City Council Chambers.