Council considers financial plans

Posted Oct. 03, 2008, at 11:41 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:03 a.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — Stressing that there is no problem at this point, Town Manager Kathryn Ruth is recommending that the town plan ahead for moving certain financial accounts to protect the town’s standing.

“This is precautionary only,” Ruth said Friday. “Because of the financial crisis taking place in the United States, we contacted all banks doing business with the town in which we have funds over $100,000.” Accounts larger than $100,000 are not federally insured.

Ruth said all of the accounts are collateralized through various means, but already Ruth has found one bank whose surety bonds for collateralization are being canceled. “The town had not been notified of this issue at the time that we had called to inquire,” she said.

Ruth said that if any bank is unable to provide satisfactory coverage, the town will want to move the funds.

“While the Maine banks are in good order, it is still imperative that the town have additional coverage for these accounts,” she said. “We have had this coverage for six years and right now we still have it. However, at some point, it may not be there and we will need to immediately move funds.”

The Town Council will vote Tuesday night on authorizing the town manager and assistant treasurer to move accounts of more than $100,000 to other institutions if necessary.

“The problem is not here in Maine,” Ruth stressed.

Also at their Tuesday meeting, town councilors will review the Pinnacle Recreation Plan that will be submitted for a state funded Riverfront Community Development Bond Program grant.

The town would provide funding of $1,720 to receive $860 in state funds.

The plan, which will also be the subject of a public hearing on Oct. 21, focuses on short-term and long-term goals to make the Pinnacle a full-season recreational center for Pittsfield.

“The potential at this site is amazing,” Ruth said. “The stunning view from the Pinnacle of the Sebasticook River shows abundant wildlife and many recreational opportunities. This property is definitely a rough jewel in the making.”

Goals for the Pinnacle include:

• Creating an ice-skating rink and skateboard park.

• Developing a usable boat launch.

• Rehabilitating the parking lot.

• Developing a trail system.

• Restoring habitat in key areas for educational field trips, bird-watching, fishing and sightseeing.

• Constructing two bird-watching lean-tos.

• Constructing walking steps and platforms in scenic areas.

• Installing interpretive nature signs.

Ruth said the project would require cooperation between the Pinnacle Park Board, a town board charged with over-sight of the facility and the Pinnacle Ski Club, a nonprofit group of volunteers.

She estimated that if the town obtains the necessary grant funding, the project can be completed by August 2009.

To leverage the grant, Ruth said, the matching funds would be taken from the Pinnacle Special Account, leaving at least $5,000 in the account in case there are unforeseen re-pairs to the Pinnacle building.

If all goes well with this first phase of the project, Ruth said, a second phase will be launched which could include a pavilion over the skating rink, a second boat launch closer to Douglas Pond and additional trails.

The agenda for the meeting, which is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, includes:

• Releasing Central Maine Stone Works of Etna from its ground maintenance contract.

• An update of police activities and introduction of new reserve officers by Chief Steve Emery.

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