Calais to Join Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers

By Kaileigh Deacon

 

At their first council meeting of 2018, the Calais City Council took a stand on the opioid problem in Calais and joined communities from all across the state of Maine and the country in filing a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers. The suit brings into question the marketing tactics and distribution of opioid drugs. This lawsuit is similar to the way the states sued tobacco companies back in the 90s, taking a stance against corporations for the well-being of their citizens. The City would be required to pay nothing up front to join this lawsuit as the attorney they would hire would take a percentage of the award given to the city, should they receive one. 

“I really think we should be on this,” said Mayor Billy Howard. “We should be pumping it full of information based on what we’ve had to live with.” 

With a unanimous decision, the council voted to stand with the other communities across Maine and file the suit. City Attorney Arnie Clark said he would look into the attorneys handling the cases for other municipalities and bring forward a recommendation. 

The city council also approved the expenditure of $1,700 for the Police Department from the Drug Forfeiture account. The account currently has roughly $6,000 in it with more pending. The money would go to purchase gun racks for two of the police vehicles and the purchase of a cage for the newest vehicle in their fleet. 

The council approved all nine of the voluntary road tolls scheduled for the 2018 year with Councilor Mike Sherrard in opposition. As usual, the tolls will be split between North and South Streets. They also approved the sewer commitment for the quarter ending on December 31, 2017. 

The city will be putting items out to bid as part of the surplus property they hold. Items in this selection include a furnace, heater, old lights and more. These items are currently in storage but are still in working condition. 

The city also approved the write-off of some water, sewer, tax and ambulance accounts. 

City manager Jim Porter was appointed as the City of Calais’ Voting Delegate for the Maine Service Center Coalition. 

Calais is working on taking steps to building a stronger and larger International Festival Committee. The hope is that they gain more involvement on the planning and execution of the events for the annual occasion. Several letters were sent out to organizations and businesses to gather numbers for interested parties who would wish to participate on the committee. Several people have already expressed interest but as always, more are encouraged to participate. They are working toward setting a date for a meeting to get all interested parties together. 

During the roundtable discussion, Michael Carmody of the Chamber of Commerce, provided the council with an update on the progress of their magazine. Currently they have financial support from ads for 26 pages of feature articles and pictures. Articles in the magazine will cover activities in the area like snowmobiling, kayaking, canoeing and other activities. Carmody said that a recent presentation to the Eastport chamber went well and more businesses from that area are expected to come on board with ads soon. The magazine is slated for release in April with a distribution of 15,000.

The City Council will meet again on January 25 at 6:00 p.m. at the City Building.