January 16, 2018
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Rockland to weigh major public improvement projects

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — The Rockland City Council will sift through a mountain of possible public improvement projects when it meets Wednesday evening.

The council has previously listed road reconstruction and paving, residential sidewalks, closure of the quarry landfill and exterior work to the library as top priorities.

The council needs to decide over the next two months the projects it will move forward with, in order to meet a late September deadline to get a bond referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot on how much money to borrow.

In former City Manager James Chaousis’ proposed 2016-2017 budget, he included recommendations for “planned infrastructure improvements while maintaining a relatively level debt amount.” He pointed out that borrowing for these projects would require voter approval.

The amount of money needed for all the possible projects listed in those recommendations was $24.7 million.

About half that money would go for laying new underground pipes to separate stormwater runoff and sewage.

Another $3.5 million was recommended in the manager’s package for road reconstruction, $1.1 million for the library and $1 million for closing the quarry landfill. Other projects include $1 million for a new public services garage, $725,000 for improvements to Harbor Park and $500,000 for the public pier.

In a budget meeting earlier this year, councilors set their top priorities as road reconstruction and paving, residential sidewalks, landfill closure and the library. Their second tier of projects were fiber connections and the public services garage. The third tier of project included upgrades to Harbor Park, the Harbor Trail and the public pier.

Acting City Manager Audra Caler-Bell pointed out Monday that improvements to the wastewater treatment plant and stormwater separation were also top priorities for the council. The majority of current bonds for the wastewater plant are to be paid off over the next few years and will give room for a new bond to cover the planned projects, she said.

The council meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at city hall.

 


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