February 19, 2019
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Brownville continues to seek funding to cover flood damage

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
A driveway was washed away from under a pick-up truck that was parked over the culvert along the Stickney Hill Road in Brownville. The repair work following the recent flooding has created a huge financial burden for the town of Brownville.

BROWNVILLE, Maine — Since the Federal Emergency Management Agency determined recently that flooding damage in several Maine communities caused by heavy rains in late June did not reach the threshold of $1.8 million, Brownville officials have been working to find every possible means of funding to cover the damage suffered in town.

In mid-July Cyr Bus Lines gave the town a $10,000 donation, and during an Aug. 1 meeting the selectmen voted to place the contribution into the paving and road reserve account from the general fund.

“We took $60,000 out and this will put $10,000 back, and we will have more to put back,” Town Manager Matthew Pineo said of the paving-road reserve account. “That way, for the audit it will be where it belongs.”

He said that as of Aug. 1, about $45,000 of the $60,000 in paving-road reserve money had been expended in getting town roads back in shape. Pineo added that he continues to look into possible grants and other funding sources for the repair efforts, hopeful that Brownville may qualify for some on account of its lower per capita income and rural setting.

In other business, Brownville officials opened bids for three properties placed on the market in mid-July.

A lot that was the site of Brownville Junction High School on North and Front streets was awarded to Joni Crossman of Milo for $8,129. The asking price was $10,000 for the parcel, but the selectmen opted to accept the sole bid for the property.

The asking price for Sugar Island — which in actuality is a peninsula in the Pleasant River with no road access — was $3,500 and the town received a pair of bids for the property. The selectmen voted to accept a bid for $4,652 for Sugar Island, about $650 more than the other bid, from two Saco men.

The third town property put out to bid was the former town garage on Church Street, which came with an asking price of $30,000. No bids were received for the parcel, and the selectmen opted to place the property out to bid again, with a $25,000 asking price through the end of the month.

“That should still give us two and a half months to build the new garage,” Pineo said. He said the steel structure with three rolling doors could cost about $16,000 to construct, with another $1,000 for electrical work.

Pineo said he has received calls about the condition of the deteriorating sidewalk on Center Street. He said a few years ago the selectmen made a motion not to maintain the sidewalk any longer, but since it falls within the town right of way the community is liable for the walkway, according to the Maine Municipal Association’s legal counsel.

“My recommendation is go in and get it pulled up so nobody gets hurt because it’s a liability issue,” Pineo said.

He said the town can remove the old sidewalk in three days or less, and then reloam and seed the area. The removal would be funded as a regular public works job in August.

“It’s a simple, cheap project,” Pineo said.

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