Brewer to study broadcasting City Council meetings on TV

Posted Dec. 14, 2010, at 11:16 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — City Councilor Arthur “Archie” Verow has always wanted council and other city meetings to be aired on the local government access cable station and on Tuesday formally requested that a feasibility study be done.

“I think the citizens would appreciate [seeing] presentations at our council meeting,” he said. “They would be able to see and hear their elected officials.”

Verow said local high school students could learn a lot about broadcasting from helping run the program, and there is a possibility that New England School of Communications students could assist the city as they do in Hampden.

Verow has surveyed a number of local civic leaders that broadcast meetings, and they said that “citizens appreciate being able to view officials at work,” he reported.

Each cable subscriber in the city pays around $40 annually for public access, which amounts to around $90,000 total that could be used to offset the costs, Verow said.

That money now is used by the city’s technology department to maintain the fiber-optic network, to update computers for department heads and to pay for the technology director, City Manager Steve Bost told councilors.

At the end of the regular meeting, councilors held a closed-door meeting about a proposal to demolish the old police and fire station, which was deemed surplus at last month’s meeting. Councilors returned to public session and voted to demolish the building.

“I think, in my opinion, that the building needs to come down,” Councilor Larry Doughty said.

Councilor Jerry Goss added that in light of the information provided at the executive session, the decision to remove the building was easy. After the meeting, he said councilors were informed that in the next couple of years, the federal government was going to require stormwater pipes to have filtration systems. A main stormwater runoff pipe for the city is located next to the South Main Street property line and will be a perfect place to install the equipment, he said.

“The building would have to be removed anyway,” Goss said. “I wish we knew that two years ago before we listed it.”

Northeast Environmental Services of Pittsfield was hired to demolish the building at a cost not to exceed $60,000.

During the meeting, the board also:

ä Heard from three nurses employed at Eastern Maine Medical Center, including Cokie Giles, president of the Maine State Nurses Association and an EMMC nurse for 22 years, and a retired nurse who asked city leaders for support in their efforts to increase nurse-to-patient staffing levels.

Mayor Joseph Ferris responded that the council would consider their request and possibly address it at the next council meeting.

• Held a public hearing, then approved the renewal of an amusement license for Charles Henry Inc., owner of Bangor-Brewer Bowling Lanes on Wilson Street.

• Approved a $27,529 change order, or cost increase, for Blane Casey Building Contractors Inc. for the infrastructure upgrade at the water pollution control facility. The contract price was increased from $385,869 to $413,398.

• Changed the April and November council meetings. The April meeting now is scheduled for April 5, and the November meeting is Nov. 14.

• Authorized City Manager Steve Bost to accept forfeited property provided to the Brewer Police Department as the result of successful prosecution of criminal cases investigated by local officers.

• Approved Phase Two of the Felt Brook Green subdivision amendment. During the discussion of this item, city councilors discussed possibly amending subdivision rules requiring sidewalks and removing City Council approval of subdivision plans.

• Posted a proposed sewage rate increase that would make the cost of 100 cubic feet go up from $7.24 to $7.53, an increase of 29 cents.

The proposed sewer rate was posted and will be on next month’s agenda. The change would make processing the first 1,000 cubic feet of sewage cost $75.30 for residents, and each extra 100 cubic feet would be an additional $7.53.

Business customer rates also would see an increase if approved from $86.88 to $90.36 for processing the first 1,200 cubic feet of sewage.

If the council gives approval, the changes would be retroactive to the beginning of September.

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