Councilors have two weeks left to make dam decision

Posted March 07, 2012, at 6:35 p.m.
Last modified March 08, 2012, at 2:45 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — City councilors learned Tuesday night they have a two-week extension on their option to purchase Goose River Hydro, a privately owned series of three power plants and five dams.

The council will have until March 21 to decide whether to purchase the utility, which is located on a 10-mile stretch of the Goose River between the southern outlet of Swan Lake and Belfast Bay.

The utility has been owned by Cathy Gleeson and her late husband, Larry Gleeson, since 1977. At its maximum output, it is able to generate as much as 1.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

Cathy Gleeson recently signed the extension papers. Jennika Lundy, assistant to City Manager Joe Slocum, said Wednesday afternoon that the councilors now will have more time to look at an engineering study the city commissioned on Goose River Hydro.

The city of Belfast spends from $150,000 to $225,000 annually on its electric bill, using about 1.6 million kilowatts of electricity per year, according to Belfast Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge.

Gleeson last year indicated she would be willing to sell to the city for $125,000. Kittredge estimated it would cost many more times that amount to upgrade the facility.

In additional business, the city councilors agreed to move $95,000 from the undesignated fund balance to build an additional two bays in the fire station, Lundy said.

CORRECTION:

An early version of this story incorrectly stated that the city council had voted this week in favor of a two-week extension of their option to buy. It was dam owner Cathy Gleeson who signed the extension, but the city councilors have not yet taken action.

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