City Council mulls $90K in pump station upgrades

Also looks at ordinances for parking, disorderly houses
By Daniel Dunkle | Jan 08, 2013
Photo by: Daniel Dunkle Pictured, from left, are City Councilor Larry Pritchett, Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson (hiding behind Larry), City Attorney Kevin Beal, Mayor Will Clayton and City Manager James Smith Jan. 7 during an agenda-setting meeting.

Rockland — Rockland's City Council will decide whether to authorize $90,000 for repair and replacement of electrical control equipment at city pump stations at the Jan. 14 meeting.

The council met Jan. 7 for an agenda-setting meeting in which it discussed not only the repairs, but new ordinances targeting parking violations and disorderly houses.

Pollution Control Director Terry Pinto met with the council to explain the need for the upgrades. He said the money, to be taken from the city Wastewater CIP Repair and Replacement Reserve Fund would repair and upgrade controls for the Park Street and Glenwood Avenue pump stations.

The Park Street station, close to the harbor, is the city's largest and Glenwood receives the leachate from the landfill, he said. He said both stations are critical.

"The failure of proper operation of the pump stations could cause irreparable harm to the environment along with damage to homes and businesses," Pinto wrote in a Dec. 4 memo to City Manager James Smith.

At the meeting Jan. 7, Pinto said he was concerned about the potential impact to fishing areas. He said a failure could mean closing fishing areas south of the stations.

"We have delayed the repair upgrades as long as we possibly could," he said in his memo.

Pinto said that when the control systems were put in place, they were state-of-the-art, but now they are serviced by only one vendor out of Florida for parts. In addition, new government requirements concerning radio frequencies for the control devices make upgrades necessary.

The council will also consider amending city ordinances to be tougher on parking violations. The proposed amendment targets those who shuffle their vehicles, moving them briefly to avoid parking time limits downtown and then moving them back. It also makes it clear people are not to remove the chalk marks from their tires placed there by a police officer to mark how long the vehicle has been parked in one place.

The council discussed another proposed law change that would define a "disorderly house" as any building which the police have visited three or more times in any 60-day period or 10 or more times in a year in situations created by the owner, tenants or guests.

The existing law states that it would have to be visited by police five or more times in 30 days. The proposed change adds teeth, according to city officials.

Owners can be fined in the cases of disorderly homes. The goal is not to penalize landlords, but to target those — tenants or owners — who create ongoing police complaints, the council stated.

The proposed ordinance changes will be considered in their first reading at the Jan. 14 meeting. If they are approved in first reading, they will require public hearings and final approval later.

A public hearing will be held at the Jan. 14 meeting concerning proposed sidewalks outside the Recreation Center on White and Limerock Streets, around the playground. Recreation Director Rene Dorr met with the council and will provide updated plans for the next meeting. The project is being funded through a Maine Department of Transportation grant.

City Manager Smith updated the council on plans for a proposed Public Works garage at the transfer station. He said officials from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection had visited the site and tested for possible buried paint. He said he was happy to report there are no signs of buried paint or hazardous materials at the site.

The council will also vote at the next meeting to accept donations to the Rockland Public Library. Elizabeth Johnson of Owls Head has donated $1,000 to buy books for the library and Alice Kinney of Rockland has donated $500.

Mayor Will Clayton opened the meeting by saying he was excited to see the purchase of the Lincoln Street Center (see related story).

Other city news

In his Jan. 4 report Smith said, "We are moving forward with making contact with local officials to establish a date in January to allow all emergency responders to meet with school officials and review emergency response and school safety procedures and protocols."

The same report noted that Code Enforcement Officer John Root met with a young entrepreneur from New York about relocating her business to Rockland at 279 Main Street. "She is the owner of Bixby & Company, makers of all natural, organic, specialty chocolate bars."

It was also noted that Assistant Fire Chief Adam Miceli inspected the new wing at Bartlett Woods in anticipation of its Certificate of Occupancy and was pleased with the construction and found it in compliance.

News Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at ddunkle@courierpublicationsllc.com. Follow him on twitter at @DanDunkle.

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