Voters should approve city bond items

By The Courier-Gazette Editorial Board | Oct 13, 2016

We support voting to approve bonds proposed by the City Council, including $10.4 million for sewer repairs and improvements and $1.1 million to fix the leaky Rockland Public Library building.

The question is not whether we will fix the 35 miles of century-old clay and brick pipes that collect our wastewater. This work must be done, and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection is going to make sure the system works properly.

The money to finance repairs to the collection system and Water Pollution Control Facility, as well as to separate the wastewater from the stormwater, will be borrowed at a low interest rate and replaces a bond we have finished paying for. City officials are on the record saying this will not increase taxes.

We believe it makes sense, as the city pays off its debts, to reinvest in improving our infrastructure. It also will save money in the long run to approve a plan for infrastructure maintenance, rather than waiting for something to break and fail and then paying to fix it as an emergency expense.

This is the best decision for the citizens' pocketbooks and for the environment.

Proposed road repairs and building repairs in the bonds fall into the same category of need. One does not need to look very far in Rockland to find the results of deferred maintenance on property and buildings.

The one area that may seem more elective is the proposed $400,000 to improve the city's fiberoptic broadband network.

However, many of us use the internet in our businesses every day, and in the near future not having this high-level technology could set us back. Failing to invest in fiber would be like failure to add phone lines in the past century.

As a community that is always seeking new businesses, residents and job creation, this seems like an opportunity. We have seen the benefits of several technology-related businesses in the community already. In addition, increasing numbers of young professionals are able to work from home using high-speed internet connections, and Rockland, with its quality of life, is an attractive location.

Voting to approve these bonds is the wise choice for our future.

Hang in there for the election

After what many found to be a depressing second presidential debate Sunday, and a relentless stream of negative campaign advertisements on television, we can understand if election fatigue has started to take a toll.

However, we do ask readers to hang in there and give attention to information on the local races. We will have a special election edition of The Courier-Gazette on newsstands Saturday, Oct. 22, with candidate profiles of people running in local races. We've peeked at the stories coming in for that edition and they are mercifully focused on the issues, rather than the personalities, personal lives and what Bob Schieffer of CBS referred to the other night as "WrestleMania."

Courier Publications and VStv are sponsoring a debate Oct. 20 at the Rockport Opera House.

House District 94 candidates Independent Owen Casas and Democrat Kathleen Meil will face off at 6 p.m. and State Senate candidates Democrat David Miramant and Republican David Emery will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. To submit a question for the candidates, email them to

This debate will be focused on the issues as well.

This election has been rough, but it is a small price to pay for the freedom to enjoy a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Quote of the week

Speaking of Bob Schieffer, we thought his statements summed up what many were feeling Sunday night after Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debated each other for a second time:

“How have we come to this? This is supposed to be a campaign for the most powerful office of the land. Here we’re marching in women into the hall who were supposed to have some relationship with one of the candidate’s spouses. What’s that supposed to prove? ... I mean, this is what they do in Banana Republics. This is the United States of America. ... I just hope to God I don’t see another campaign like this one. America can do better than what we have seen here tonight. This was just disgraceful."

Comments (4)
Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Oct 13, 2016 17:38

Hi there N K D,


I do not disagree with you.


The role of Government should be to maintain infrastructure, educate the children, protect The People and then; get out of The People's way and not pick winners & losers in the biz world.

I am aware that The Steele House has fast Internet Access. You guys did it as a responsible and independent biz and other biz should follow your lead and if they need fast internet, they should pay for such a biz expense.

You are also right on having a full eval of the ISP service: bandwidth, latency, reliability, etc play a role in the decision. Just take a look at the state of disrepair of our sidewalks, streets, sewer system and the Sound/Video equipment in city council chambers. Would you depend on Rockland's city hall to provide you consistent and reliable Internet Service? I would not do that. Time Warner [others?] provides good service and a myriad of options!

Posted by: Sandra Schramm | Oct 13, 2016 17:28

Voters of Rockland, please understand that once our house is in order we can place the bonds on a special ballot at anytime during the year. Do not feel compelled to pass these until Rockland has vetted and hired a responsible manager, finance director and got their legal advisory situation fully under control.  If you have had doubts about the vitality and viability of Rockland the last two years, hold off.  I can relate to Mr. Pinto's validity but with no one "minding the store" do you stock the shelves? This project cannot go forward till 2018 when some bonds are retired. We can hold off on these decisions.  It is important that the residents stand up against what the Council has had a hand in for the past 18+ months and send a message we want change. This new proposal to circumvent public participation on ordinances is just one more way to thwart democracy. When Councilor Geiger recently referred to "her priorities" not getting passed, I suggest she was not speaking for all the residents. When she says she talks to people at meetings etc.that she attends,  were these all Rockland residents? The truly wasteful spending on the recent downtown street lights is yet one more reason for the need for change on the Council. And Councilor Pritchett has spent money exploring changing all the street lights in the city before these problems can be addressed and was called to task by the Mayor and Councilor Geiger for not informing the entire Council of his plan and getting permission to spend the funding.. Camden in addition to cities and towns all over the US and Europe are banning these particular lights. If, as the Energy Committee states, they could be retrofitted, why did they not do it right the first time and not have to reinvent the wheel?  Time to get this Council back to representing the residents first and foremost.  How many months have been lost with out Economic and Community Development Director sitting in at City Hall as Ass't Manager and then Interim Manager?  Missed opportunities perhaps. And how about all those spot zoning changes of late. There will be no boundaries soon.  Rockland can address the bond issues in a March election. Rockland has many decisions facing it and let us figure out our need list in order of priority, First elect two new faces with potential for change to the Council and give them the opportunity to serve.  As few have been pleased with the old guard, let's move forward!  The silent majority has to step from the shadows and and let your vote speak for your mind.

Posted by: Nathan Kroms Davis | Oct 13, 2016 16:09

My business is already hooked up to the fiber line and has 100Mbps access, so I won't personally benefit from the fiber bond. But for individuals who either produce large media files (filmmakers, editors, artists, etc.) or who work on remote servers (programmers, sysadmins, tech-focused businesses), faster and more reliable broadband is vital. I've both experienced and heard stories of large overnight uploads breaking and costing hours of downtime. Further, low latency is just as important as raw throughput, as anyone who spends hours typing commands into a remote server knows.

I think that fast, reliable, widespread fiber access will be a significant boon to local economic development, and will make it more feasible for tech and creative businesses and remote workers to locate here. I will vote for the bond.

Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Oct 13, 2016 15:33

Hi there The Courier-Gazette Editorial Board


I respectfully but STRONGLY oppose your support to the bonds proposed by the present Rockland city council.


I am not against repairing Rockland's infrastructure. I am against giving money to a fiscally irresponsible council.


0] Three years ago The People approved [573 Yea 528 Nay] a new Salt & Sand Shed, because we were told that we would be saving money. 2016 and were is the Salt and Sand Shed?


1] The $1,100,000 Library Bond includes about $500,000 to re-point the building, again! Rockland's taxpayers payed for shabby work and city hall has no mechanisms to prevent this from happening again.

2] How much of the $10,400,000 Sewer Bond is due to NEGLIGENCE? Pls read the MRSA chapter regarding sewer districts. City hall has not respected the guidelines and now they expect The People to foot the bill without asking questions . . .


3] Who needs 100 Mbps Internet connection? The only explanation I heard from council was "to attract millennials." How many households and/or local biz need such speed? Moreover Time Warner is able to supply fast & reliable internet services. This bond looks like another way for The People to SUBSIDIZE a few biz.




Once seated, then it will be possible, and the responsible thing to do, to talk about bonds.






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