June 21, 2018
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Town prods SAD 29 to find another space for school buses

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

HOULTON, Maine — Officials in SAD 29 are looking for storage space for their school buses after the town gave notice that they needed the space now used by the district in the public works garage for their own equipment.

District officials briefly discussed the issues during their meeting last month, but took no action on the matter.

Town Manager Doug Hazlett said Thursday that the town will discuss the issue at its Dec. 14 meeting. The issue arose at a Town Council meeting Nov. 28 after Councilor Mike Jenkins said he wanted the group to take action on the matter sooner rather than later.

For decades, SAD 29 has rented space in the town’s Public Works Department garage on Bangor Street to store some of its buses. Other buses are stored outside on the property. Hazlett said on Thursday that the district pays $5,200 a year to the town for the storage space. The manager said the fee does not include the heating or electricity costs for the garage bays.

During the council meeting, Jenkins told Hazlett he wanted to see the issue brought to the forefront and then resolved.

“I would like to see us vote up or down whether to ask SAD 29 to move its buses out of the town garage,” he said. “We don’t derive a lot of income from it, and we spend a lot more on electricity. We need that space. I want to give them a 30-day notice to get out.”

Hazlett said the town has a month-to-month lease with the district regarding bus storage. He told Jenkins during the meeting that he realized the town needs the space back, but he did not want to leave the district “out in the cold.”

“They are working on alternatives,” said Hazlett.

Jenkins pressed the issue, saying that other districts leave their buses outside and he felt the district should find another storage space.

“I think now is the time to give them their notice,” he said.

SAD 29 Superintendent Mike Hammer said during the last school board meeting that he had spoken to the town about the issue and was looking for another location to store the buses. The school board will hold its next meeting Monday, Dec. 5.

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