Bangor City Council to swear in new members, elect new chairperson

Newly elected city councilor Joshua Plourde celebrates at Nocturnem Draft Haus Tuesday evening on election night in Bangor.
Newly elected city councilor Joshua Plourde celebrates at Nocturnem Draft Haus Tuesday evening on election night in Bangor. Buy Photo
Posted Nov. 10, 2013, at 5:44 a.m.
Newly elected city councilor Gibran Graham , right, talks with Joe Cutrufello,
Newly elected city councilor Gibran Graham , right, talks with Joe Cutrufello, Buy Photo

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor’s two new city councilors and a returning chairman will be sworn in during a Wednesday, Nov. 13, ceremony at City Hall.

Josh Plourde and Gibran Graham were tapped by Bangor residents to serve their first terms on the council in the Nov. 7 election. Current council Chairman Nelson Durgin also will rejoin the council for another three-year term.

The meeting begins at 10 a.m. on the third floor of City Hall, 73 Harlow St. The council also is expected to pick its next chairperson during that meeting.

Later that night, the new council will hold its first regular meeting. On the agenda is a proposed moratorium on issuing permits to facilities that provide Suboxone treatment in the city.

Suboxone, like methadone, is used to treat opioid addiction. The moratorium of up to 180 days would not affect the ways Bangor’s three substance abuse clinics — Penobscot County Metro, Discovery House and Acadia Hospital — currently operate. There are only nine such facilities in the state, and the only one north of Bangor is in Calais, which means Bangor draws patients from as far away as Aroostook County.

The Government Operations Committee recommended the full council approve the moratorium during a meeting in October. Councilors have expressed concerns about the fact that Bangor has more treatment facilities than any other city in the state, as well as the fact that patients sometimes have to drive more than two hours to get to Bangor to receive their treatment.

City officials have been working with legislators on a bill, titled An Act to Reduce Costs and Increase Access to Methadone Treatment, that would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to license federally qualified health centers, health care providers or medical practices as methadone treatment clinics. It garnered enthusiastic support from Bangor’s City Council and city officials in March and April of this year.

Supporters of Suboxone treatment expansion, however, have said that there’s already a long waiting list of people seeking chemical treatment for their dependencies and that making them wait longer would cause more harm than good.

Councilors also will hold a first reading of an item calling for a similar moratorium on facilities that provide buprenorphine treatment, another method of treating opioid dependency. That discussion would be passed down to the Government Operations Committee, which will hold its next meeting on Nov. 19 to discuss the issue.

The council also is expected to accept nearly $7,000 in donations raised to keep the Odlin Road Community Connector bus route going. Much of that was raised during a Halloween spaghetti supper benefit organized by Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci. That will bring the total amount raised to more than $11,000, which is enough to fund the route for about half a year.

The Wednesday night meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.

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