City Council to explore alcohol at festivals, events

State looks to share costs on Old County Road
By Daniel Dunkle | Mar 11, 2014

Rockland — City Manager Tom Luttrell will explore with city committees when, where and under what conditions alcohol might be allowed on municipal properties, following a vote of the City Council March 10.

Representatives of the Maine Lobster Festival have approached city officials requesting to have a beer-and-wine tasting tent, according to a memo from Mayor Larry Pritchett. Other organizations including the Farnsworth Art Museum and Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors have made similar requests in the past.

The council voted 5-0 approving an order that the city manager work with committees to review which municipal properties might be appropriate for serving alcohol during events including Harbor Park, the library, Buoy Park and Snow Marine Park. Based on this review, the city manager will develop a proposed policy and bring it back to the council for consideration.

The order prohibits the city clerk from accepting applications for serving until Oct. 15, to allow time for the city to develop its policy.

Old County Road

In other business, the council discussed with Luttrell the options for the deteriorating Old County Road. The city manager noted officials from the Maine Department of Transportation looked at the road last week, but told city officials no funding is available to fix it.

Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson, who is also Rockland and Owls Head's representative at the State House, noted that she and Sen. Ed Mazurek have brought the issue up as part of their work in Augusta.

Luttrell said the state has talked about creating a municipal partnership for work on Old County Road, in hopes the state will not have to foot the whole bill for its repairs. As part of this partnership, the state would provide $500,000 in funding per year for the road. He said it would take a number of years to fix at that level of funding.

City budget

As part of his report to the council, Luttrell also noted he is working on the city budget for the year and hopes to have a schedule for budget meetings out soon.

Downtown improvements

The council voted 5-0 to apply for a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant to improve side street sidewalks and lighting downtown. The grant requires a $100,000 local match, which the city will take from the Tillson Avenue Area (Downtown) Tax Increment Financing Development Program.

Police Department evaluation

The council voted 5-0 to spend $6,000 from the Police Department Reserve account to pay for a Police Department Management Evaluation by the Maine Chiefs of Police Association.

The goal, as stated by the Maine Chiefs, would be "to access the management of the police department services and recommend any changes that would benefit the city, the police department and the citizens of the city."

Members of the association will visit the police department and assess everything from the administration and budget to the personnel, hiring, promotions and staff morale.

General assistance

The council voted against cutting the maximum amount of general assistance for food that can be offered.

Mayor Larry Pritchett said March 11, the state, as part of its supplemental budget, has cut the amount it contributes to food assistance for the rest of 2014. The city council declined to go along with those reductions.

As a result, the city will have to pay the difference out of its budget, but he said that will be a small amount.

He also acknowledged the state, while cutting the reimbursement to the city, has mandates requiring the city to provide assistance.

Trackside liquor and entertainment approved

There was some discussion early in the meeting about outdoor seating at Trackside Station Restaurant. Owner Kelly Woods answered questions for the council as she sought the restaurant's liquor and entertainment license.

Last year the restaurant allowed some outdoor seating during the busy tourist season. Since it is a historic building, the restaurant cannot add a permanent fence, so it solved the problem last year with a temporary orange barrier around the outdoor seating, according to Woods.

Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf sought assurances that barrier would not be used again this year.

Woods said the restaurant is looking into other options for a fence that can be put up and taken down for the outdoor seating.

The council voted 4-1 to grant the license with Dickerson opposed.

Courier-Gazette Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 122 or ddunkle@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Cynthia Mary Anderson | Mar 14, 2014 00:58

I hope the Lobster Festival remains a family-oriented event, WITHOUT the addition of alcohol!  Don't turn the lobster-fest into a drunk-fest.   Security needs are high enough with the welcomed increase in population to the area, without adding alcohol to the mix.  If people wish to imbibe, they can frequent the nearby restaurants and pubs, who will welcome their business.  Please leave alcohol off the festival grounds.



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Dan Dunkle
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Daniel Dunkle is editor of The Courier-Gazette and news director for Courier Publications. He lives in Rockland with his wife, Christine, who also works for Courier Publications, and two children.

Dunkle has previously served as editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. He has worked as a reporter and photographer in the Midcoast for 15 years.

 

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