Rockland debates borrowing to pay for improvement projects

Posted Aug. 30, 2012, at 6:46 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The city council will discuss Monday night whether to borrow money to undertake a pair of public improvement projects.

One project would be to correct drainage problems in the residential neighborhood known as Pen Bay Acres. Residents sent a letter to the city’s public works director in March 2011 and then met with city staff that July.

Residents said that at times the water flows there like it’s coming out of an open fire hydrant.

“Individually we have been attempting to manage the overwhelming amount of runoff that drains from the properties that line the north side of Acadia [Drive] and the upper portion of the hill upon which Pen Bay Acres is built,” the letter stated.

Thirteen residents signed the letter.

“In many areas the runoff has been likened to an open fire hydrant. Most of the undersigned have spent their own money — in some cases considerable amounts — fashioning ways to funnel the water to cause the least amount of damage to their properties,” the neighbors stated.

A year ago, then City Manager Rosemary Kulow said it would be a policy decision for the council to decide to spend city money on projects that affect private property. Earlier last year, the council had declined to reimburse a couple on West Meadow Road for $3,900 they spent to correct a drainage problem on their property.

Current City Manager James Smith said Thursday that while he is not familiar with the West Meadow matter, he has visited Pen Bay Acres and is recommending the drainage work be done.

“My concern is public infrastructure; the roads,” Smith said. “This spring the water was running over top of the road.”

The council will consider at its Monday night meeting whether to borrow $50,000 to pay for the Pen Bay Acres work. Smith said if approved, the work — which would include the installation of catch basins — would be done this fall or next spring.

The council also will consider borrowing $20,000 to replace a sewer line that is in disrepair on Summer Street near Lincoln Street.

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