Bangor council amends ordinances, postpones vote on KahBang deal again

Posted Aug. 13, 2012, at 11:19 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor City Council ripped through a five-page agenda in near-record time Monday night, approving three ordinance amendments, authorizing several agreements and approving a couple permits.

But for the second time in the last two months, it failed to ratify a five-year lease agreement for the waterfront pavilion and surrounding grounds with KahBang Music and Arts Festival organizers.

“We thought they were going to vote on it tonight,” said Tim Lo, KahBang’s executive director. “I didn’t get a real in-depth explanation on that [motion and 8-1 vote to postpone a vote], but I think it was a rule that they aren’t allowed to discuss the postponement on the record after it’s been done. I was just confused why they went with the second meeting in September and not earlier.”

Councilors apparently weren’t ready to thoroughly revisit the deal, which calls for $1.25 paid to the city for each ticket sold and an escrow payment of $5,000, along with payment of direct costs for city services like police, fire and public works.

Lo said KahBang officials have met with Bangor City Solicitor Norm Heitmann and Bangor Parks and Recreation Department Director Tracy Willette at least once since the July 23 council meeting during which a vote for approval was postponed due to disagreement and confusion over the wording of the contract.

“It wasn’t so much that we had a lot of problems with the details brought up in the previous meeting,” Lo said. “We were very happy to sign that agreement that day, but before we could completely explain, they were already well into postponing it.

“I don’t think the council had any bad intent last time, by the way. I think it was more a matter of them taking our concerns a bit further than they had to.”

While Lo would prefer to have the contract approved and signed sooner rather than later, he said he doesn’t expect any more snags or delays.

“Completing this contract process will take us about one day,” he said. “We just have to cut a check and have it be accepted by city services.”

Lo said despite steady rains over the weekend, this year’s fourth annual KahBang Festival was a big success.

“We had good weather Thursday, a partly sunny day Friday and then the rain held off until halfway through the headliner set,” said Lo. “And Saturday, even though it was a gloomy, damp beginning, it started to clear up more when our crowds started showing up.”

Lo was especially happy with the way the festival campsite — located behind the Sports Arena on Hammond Street extension near the Bangor-Hermon line — had no repeat of flooding problems experienced last year.

“We had ample time to prepare the site this year — and it’s been such a dry summer — and we only had to mow it and set up a culvert system to divert water better,” Lo explained. “The number of campers we had was three times what we had last year, so probably close to 500 or so on the campground.”

Lo also said the downtown kickoff show and first-ever microbrew festival last Thursday were very successful and well-attended.

In other agenda action, the council voted to:

• Amend an ordinance to allow for electronic signs within urban service districts such as the Main Street corridor, but still make them subject to current ordinance regulations.

• Authorize the issuance of $4.9 million of the city’s obligation bonds and a tax levy to fund equipment replacement ($815,000), street and bridge repair ($2.48 million), parks and recreation equipment ($170,000), a fire engine ($500,000), wastewater infrastructure construction ($750,000), and the relocation of the Kittredge Road ($224,000).

• Amend the code of ethics ordinance language to include school committee members among those required to file financial disclosure forms.

• Approve a contract for $101,937 to buy a snowblower from H.P. Fairfield.

• Ratify an agreement with Burns & McDonnell for continued work on Penobscot River coal tar remediation.

• Amend land code to allow construction of single-family homes on the former New Franklin Laundry site on Fern Street and scrap plans for a condominium at the former site of the multistory laundry building.

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