Rockland considering buying $90,000 camera to inspect sewers

Posted Sept. 12, 2012, at 12:30 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine —The Rockland City Council will hold a formal public hearing next month on its plans to borrow money for four projects — including the purchase of a $90,000 camera to inspect sewer lines.

The council gave preliminary approval Monday night to each of the four proposals. The sewer camera proposal, however, received the most attention with one councilor saying the council was not given adequate information to make an informed decision.

A public hearing and final votes are scheduled for Oct. 10.

City Manager James Smith said that the city spends a lot of money contracting for use of cameras. He said if the city owned its own camera it could do regular inspections of sewer lines rather than wait until a line collapses. He said preventative maintenance would avoid pollution entering streams.

The city performed an emergency replacement of a sewer line Friday night at the busy intersection of North Main, Cedar and Birch streets when a line collapsed.

“We can be penny wise and pound foolish,” Smith said.

Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson said the proposal, which had not been discussed a week ago when councilors were setting the agenda, was not supported by enough information such as how much money the city spends on contracting for camera work.

“Ninety-thousand dollars is real money. We ought to know a little bit more,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson voted against borrowing up to $90,000 for the sewer and stormwater imaging system.

The other proposed projects each received unanimous backing. Those were $60,000 to repair a chimney at the public library, $50,000 for drainage work in Pen Bay Acres, and $20,000 for sewer work on Summer Street.

Finance Director Tom Luttrell said the annual cost for repaying the borrowed funds on these four projects would be $49,000 to $50,000 for five years. He said at the city council meeting Monday night that the council is retiring debt and that the city’s annual debt repayment will not increase.

In other action Monday night, the council gave unanimous final approval to an ordinance that exempts some new residential construction from having to have a sprinkler system installed.

The exemption can be received if the home is within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant, has proper smoke alarms, and is constructed with suitable building materials.

The amendment to the sprinkler mandate approved in December 2009 also requires the fire department to review the single-family home plans if there is to be no sprinkler and to inform the owner about the advantages of sprinklers.

The council also recognized three veteran employees and one worker who recently retired. Commendations were given to Debra Goss who retired earlier this year after 11 years as an administrative assistant for the police department, and Mikial Mazzeo, James Gamage and Ronald Teel for 20 years of service. Mazzeo is an assistant fire chief, Gamage works at the recreation center, and Teel works for the water pollution control department.

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