Calais to refinance bonds, upgrade pool

Posted May 28, 2010, at 11:17 p.m.

CALAIS, Maine — A refinancing of a wastewater bond package likely will save the city $477,000 in interest, City Manager Diane Barnes reported to the council Thursday night.

Barnes said the reorganization of debt would drop the city’s interest rate from 4.1 percent to 1 percent and shave five years off the life of the loan.

The bonds total $943,371 and were executed in two parts: $600,000 on Jan. 24, 2008, and $365,000 on Jan. 17, 2008.

After that good news, however, recreation director John Roger informed the council that the water pump at the municipal swimming pool had stopped working.

“It’s 24 years old and it just wore out,” Roger said.

He explained that the pool pump must filter and circulate 360,000 gallons of water twice a day.

A search began for a new pump, but some of the options could not be delivered for four to six weeks, well after the pool’s planned opening date of June 21.

Roger said the Texas firm that provided the original pump could provide a new pump and installation for up to $4,850 — the lowest quote — and could install it in less than three weeks.

A brief discussion was held among city councilors regarding whether to repair the old pump until a new one can be installed, but most councilors wanted the new pump on board as fast as possible.

“I recommend that we get the new one in there and do it right,” Councilor Joseph Cassidy said.

Mayor Vinton Cassidy added, “Hopefully, the kids will be swimming on time.”

In other business on Thursday, the council:

— Authorized major upgrades to the city’s vehicle registration computer programming which, because of its accuracy, should increase city revenue.

— Authorized an application for a U.S. Justice Department grant for the Police Department to obtain computers for its cruisers.

— Authorized an application for a $10,000 Small Communities Grant for PAWS, the local animal shelter, to repair a failed septic system.

— Set three public hearings in June for a housing grant application; consideration of the abandonment of St. Croix Street, also known as Autumn Street; and changes to the city’s cemetery ordinance.

— Approved permits for a Memorial Day parade, a beer tent for three days during the International Festival in August, an American Legion poppy sale on May 29, a potluck picnic in Memorial Park on June 11, and a Democratic rally in Memorial Park on Aug. 13.

— The council also renewed liquor licenses for Yancy’s and Heslin’s, and renewed all other victualers’ licenses for the city.

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