BREWER, Maine — Brewer Housing Authority said residents recently complained to commissioners about fellow residents dumping unwrapped dog feces into trash cans — one said she puked when she inadvertently put her hand in some — which led to verbal arguments and calls to police.
Housing Authority officials approved allowing dog owners to wrap waste and dispose of it in trash cans, and City Councilor liaison Jerry Goss asked city leaders to address the issue. On Tuesday, the City Council changed the ordinance that originally required pet owners to collect the feces and dispose of it in their toilets.
“To require that everybody who has dog feces flush it down the toilet doesn’t make sense,” City Solicitor Joel Dearborn said last month when the amendment was proposed.
The amended city ordinance now allows pet owners to collect waste in plastic bags and dispose of it in their trash or public Dumpsters.
The animal control officer or police are responsible for handling enforcement, Dearborn said.
The second reading of the proposed amendment was held Tuesday and it passed unanimously without debate.
When it came time to discuss a sewer rate increase, Councilors Larry Doughty and Arthur “Archie” Verow both voiced their concerns.
“I’m a little bit concerned about this $3 jump on both the residential and business” costs, Doughty said.
Verow said it’s nice that the city has kept the tax rate stable for years, but said he was upset the sewer rate continues to rise year after year. The sewer rate increased last year for residents from $72.40 for processing the first 1,000 cubic feet of sewage to $75.30, an increase of $2.90, and business customer rates increased from $86.88 to $90.36 for processing the first 1,200 cubic feet of sewage.
City Manager Steve Bost explained that the sewer department is run very efficiently with minimal people, but there are large debts associated with the 1992 federal consent agreement project to separate water and sewer lines “that are beyond our control.”
The sewer rate for the next year was increased to $78.30 for residential customers and $93.96 for businesses on Tuesday, with Verow voting against the measure.
During the meeting, the council also:
• Approved a $60,000 change order for the Jefferson Street sewer project for Lou Silver Inc. of Orono to cover connecting sewer laterals, and heard that a temporary top coat will be put on the street this fall to help with snow removal and would be replaced next summer after the ground settles. “We will be returning in the spring and ripping it out to put down the road,” Bost said. “We can’t do that this fall. The areas … need to settle before we put the road in.”
• Posted an amended Land Use Code that will be brought before the council next month for final approval.
• Authorized purchasing firefighting gear for $15,653; a new motor for the Water Pollution Control Facility freight elevator; 2,000 tons of rock salt from International Salt Co. in Clarks Summit, Pa., for $58.77 a ton; 2,000 cubic yards of road sand from Lou Silver Inc. of Orono for $9 per yard; and cabinets for the public safety museum, $15,900.
• Accepted $151,000 in sand shed reimbursement funds from the state and appropriated them to pay for a landfill compactor ($95,000), repairs to fire trucks ($38,000), air conditioning at the fire department ($11,000) and $7,000 toward the cost of converting the auditorium to natural gas.
• Hired Mechanical Services of Hermon to convert the Brewer Auditorium and City Hall to natural gas for a cost of $38,540.
• Created a limited liability corporation to take ownership of Brewer Middle School, and State Street, Washington Street and Capri Street schools, which closed with the opening of the new elementary/middle school earlier this month.
• Authorized a one-time contribution of $14,600 to Penobscot Community Heath Care, which is the agency’s personal property tax cost. The Rev. Bob Carlson, PCHC president, requested a waiver of the equipment rental tax at the August meeting, saying officials missed the April waiver deadline for the Brewer Medical Center.