City may borrow $1.6 million for Old County Road
Rockland — City officials may ask voters in June to approve a $1.6 million bond to pay for repairs to Old County Road.
The road is in dire need of repair due to potholes and frost heaves. Fixing it may mean a municipal partnership with the Maine Department of Transportation.
The City Council is expected to discuss the issue Monday night, April 7, at its agenda-setting meeting. Transportation department engineers will be in attendance.
According to an estimate from Gartley & Dorsky Engineering & Surveying, the cost of repairing the road could total $2.3 million.
The state's position is that the city, rather than the state, is responsible for repairs and improvements to the road, and has been since it was put in what is called an urban compact zone.
As part of the proposed partnership, the state contributes to the repairs, but caps its contribution at 50 percent or less, up to $500,000 per year. Still, the city hopes the state will be able to contribute more to the project, City Manager Thomas Luttrell said April 4.
The council will decide whether to ask voters for a bond of up to $1.6 million, which would be put on the June ballot. If the council goes forward with that plan, a public hearing will be held on the issue, possibly on Wednesday, April 23.
"For over a year city and MDOT staff have been meeting and talking off and on in an attempt to find a path forward to make essential repairs to Old County Road," Mayor Larry Pritchett said in an email. "The current badly failing condition of the road is a major concern to all members of council and many residents in the area. A variety of ideas have been considered."
Pritchett said the bond is only a proposal, and the concept has never been discussed at the council level before.
"This concept may well evolve over the next few weeks."
Courier-Gazette Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 594-4401 ext. 122.
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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 since 1998.