Brewer to be included in Bangor committee

Posted Feb. 16, 2010, at 9:44 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — City councilors and staff are exploring an expansion of Bangor’s harbor advisory committee to include representation from its sister city across the Penobscot River.

Members of the Bangor City Council’s infrastructure committee voted Tuesday to direct City Engineer Jim Ring to reach out to Brewer officials to see whether they would like a stronger voice in harbor-related matters.

Initially, Tuesday’s discussion was meant to gauge interest from the Bangor council in adding an ex-officio, or nonvoting, harbor committee member from Brewer, but councilors took the idea one step further.

“In the spirit of our newfound relationship with Brewer, why not explore a joint committee?” Councilor Gerry Palmer asked.

Councilor Pat Blanchette agreed and said creating a joint committee to handle harbor issues would be a strong show of support from Bangor that it wants to work closely with its neighbor city.

Already this month, Bangor and Brewer councils voted separately to appoint residents to a joint committee aimed at exploring efficiencies and cost savings between the two communities.

Councilor Geoff Gratwick said a joint harbor committee would be a noncontroversial way to get the ball rolling on potential areas of collaboration.

“Each side would have to give up a little control; I think it could be a test case for how other relationships might work,” he said.

Historically, Bangor has invited Brewer city planner Linda Johns and engineering staff members once a year so that each city can update the other on plans and initiatives that affect the waterfront. More recently, the harbor committee decided that since the cities share the harbor and harbor master and that harbor activities are a common interest, Brewer should be included.

At the close of Tuesday’s infrastructure committee meeting, Ring said he planned to contact Brewer City Manager Steve Bost later this week about taking the next step toward expanding the harbor committee to include Brewer.

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