Pittsfield council addresses theater roof repair, budget

Posted Dec. 15, 2008, at 8:41 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — Town councilors will hear a report Tuesday night from the Sewall Co. regarding a recent study of the roof on the Pittsfield Community Theatre.

After an initial assessment by Sewall representatives last month that the roof was unstable, town officials closed the theater and began planning repairs.

The company reported that the structural steel of the roof has warped, that years of neglect and leaks have weakened the structure, and that the wooden roof trusses were cut and compromised when air conditioning was installed.

Engineer Michael Young is expected to make repair recommendations and present a cost analysis. The council then will authorize requests for proposals and immediately begin seeking bids.

In her pre-meeting report to town councilors, Town Manager Kathryn Ruth said the design phase of the repair work could be completed by Dec. 19. This would allow contracts to be issued by the end of the year and construction to begin by the end of January. It is anticipated that construction could be finished and the theater reopened by late March.

Also on the agenda are public hearings for the municipal operating and capital budgets for 2009.

The bottom line of the combined budgets is $3.7 million, and Ruth has said taxes will not be affected. A total of $903,000 will be raised through taxation, just over $1 million will be in estimated revenues, $535,000 is state revenue sharing, and $350,000 will be taken from undesignated surplus funds.

Another $530,000 will come from grants, other revenue sources and loans or bonds.

The Water Works budget is proposed at $394,832, and the Sewer Department Enterprise budget is $248,703.

Councilors also will vote on other issues:

ä Moving end of the year surplus funds in the cemetery and transfer station accounts to overdrafted accounts in police, animal control, public works, and buildings and grounds.

ä Raising local sewer rates from $2.25 per 1,000 gallons to $3.25 a gallon — a 48 percent increase — to fund sewer upgrades and pay for a loan taken out this year for a study of the sewer system. The rate hike also would pay for future studies regarding the wastewater treatment plant lagoon and a systemwide survey of users.

ä Establishing sewer and water reserve accounts to fund future projects.

ä A new one-year contract with the Somerset Humane Society in Skowhegan to accept stray cats and dogs at $437.50 a month, a 7 percent increase. The fee is equal to $1.25 per capita.

ä Municipal and committee appointments.

ä Handling of cash donations for the town’s swimming pool campaign, library capital campaign, Celebrations Committee, Neighborhood Watch Program and Keep Neighbors Warm Program.

At the close of the meeting, Ruth will present her 2009 goal projects.

All council meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers of the municipal building and are open to the public.

bdnpittsfield@verizon.net

487-3187

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