The following is the city manager's monthly report for January.

Community Development

"Community Development is part of a coalition of groups preparing a proposal for the Maine Working Community Challenge. We expect to bring an order to Council soon for permission for the City to act as fiscal agent for a $25,000 planning grant, should the group proposal be successful.

"The planning grant would open the door for the public/private/nonprofit team to access more substantial funds over time. Community Development also is working on a grant proposal to USDA Rural Development’s EA/REDA Program to support energy related technical assistance for Rockland businesses to help identify where renewable energy options and incentives can improve their economic and environmental sustainability.

"The City’s solar credit purchase from Revision Energy is underway on schedule — operational and generating credits. Installation of cost-effective LED lighting at the Fire Department is scheduled to be completed next month.

"We’re also working on an energy and emissions baseline to measure financial and emissions savings over time."

Finance Department

"Starting budget process for FY22. Coordinating the implementation of Tyler Cashiering which is a software package that allows payment integration with our Munis (also owned by Tyler Technologies) taking some of the manual process out of the billing and payment flow process."

Public Services

"Public Services will begin accepting outside waste at the landfill from two haulers, aiding in the rapid fill needed to allow the quarry to be capped. The demolition and debris removal of the skate park at Oceanside High School as well as demolition of a derelict property at 375 Pleasant St. were completed. The Department is putting together a paving assessment/evaluation with a draft five-year plan.

"Two staff members will be attending a UMA grant writing training as we look ahead to funding opportunities for the storm water project."

Fire Department

"Our personnel planned and implemented a vaccine rollout for Knox County EMS personnel. The vaccines took place at both the Flanagan Community Center and Vinalhaven for our island neighbors. Over the course of two weeks, we were able to vaccinate 115 first responders with their first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

"The second doses will follow soon, along with a hopeful start of the rest of our fire/police/dispatch frontline workers. Work continues on the grant applications for both a new fire apparatus as well as a regional communications grant to replace aging equipment. Assistant Chief Adam Miceli reached a milestone of 25 years of service to the Rockland Fire and EMS Department.

"If you know A/C Miceli then you know he is one of the best in this business. His leadership and dedication to Rockland makes him one of the most valuable members on this department and we are glad he has chosen to stick around a few more years. Members of the Department have been training on shift at a donated structure on Knowlton Street.

"Although we have been busy with emergency calls, we hope to take advantage of the building before it’s demoed in a few weeks."

Police Department – The new Rockland

"PD Policy and Procedure Manual has been provided to the City Manager to be posted on the city website so that it can be viewed by the public. This transparency should clarify exactly how Rockland PD Officers are expected to conduct themselves on a daily basis.

"Traffic enforcement details are being conducted in areas throughout the city that have been identified as areas requiring extra enforcement.

"The Chief continues to monitor the COVID-19 Pandemic as it relates to law enforcement. The departments’ protocols evolve as new information and best practices are received. The Chief has completed proposals from two different body worn camera vendors and provided those proposals to the City Manager for review.

"The Chief has met with community advocates against domestic violence and is working with those advocates and the District Attorney’s Office to improve prosecution and sentencing against offenders. These groups are also looking at alternative funding sources for body worn cameras. The Chief attended a federal grant webinar explaining what grants are available, how to apply for those grants and instruction on grant writing.

"The Chief has completed his annual report to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. This report is used in part to track excessive force complaints against agencies and officers and to show officers have met all annual training requirements to maintain certification as a law enforcement officer in the state.

"Command Staff at the police department have outlined their goals for 2021. These goals include:

 

  • Continued focus on training in situational use of force, de-escalation and bias based policing.
  • Implementation of a peer to peer support program within the department.
  • Continue working with city officials and community members to enhance the transparency of the department.
  • Complete our digital radio conversion this fiscal year with existing funding.
  • Inventory existing equipment and asses future needs to include in an updated strategic plan.
  • Work to implement a body worn camera program.

 

 

"The Chief has signed on to a new web-based recruiting platform. This platform is free of charge and connects us with 35 colleges in New England and along the east coast. It is designed to assist college seniors with job placement upon graduation."

Library

"Plans are afoot for a 'substitute' Valentine, as we cannot host the much-loved and enjoyed Annual Open House—Love your Library/your Library loves you. Patty King trained new staff member Em Lewis in general library procedures and those specific to programming, as well.

"The bi-monthly newsletter, The Library Lowdown, has a virtual events brochure, articles of interest, book reviews, and more. You can subscribe by emailing refdesk@rocklandmaine.gov. Em reports she has been strengthening community contacts and expanding the types of offerings, while planning February events.

"The events scheduled so far center local voices, and also include the reintroduction of film screenings for our virtual audience. Katie Drago is a weekly guest at the South School library (via Zoom), participating in this year’s Chickadee Award (A Maine Children’s Choice Picture Book Project) readings.

"The Library continues to offer programming to adults and kids via Zoom and/or the Library YouTube channel. We’re one of the few area libraries offering public PCs at this time, though the number has been reduced to enforce physical distancing. Upcoming— Local birder and columnist Don Reimer will be discussing birding, and his new book, Seen Anything Good?

Harbor

"GEI engineering is at 95% complete for the fish pier project. We anticipate going out to bid in early spring for a November construction start date.

The new permit system for moorings is online and permit renewal notices are going out. Will be working with the contractor on new Public Landing/Middle Pier/Harbor Park/Police building plans."

Waste Water

"Environmental Compliance Manager is preparing documents and data necessary for this year’s renewal of the City of Rockland MEPDES permit. The department is working with Wright-Pierce Engineering on evaluation of the facility regarding readiness for new regulations regarding chlorination.

"The upcoming Treatment Plant upgrade project design received final approval and has been posted for bids. The bid opening date is Jan. 28. The maintenance department is in the process of entering records and data pertaining to equipment and assets at the treatment plant and pump stations into a new computer maintenance program. The program will be ready and in use to add all of the new equipment being installed during the plant upgrade.

"The Environmental Technicians are working on design and cost estimating of sewer repair and improvement projects to hopefully be completed in 2021. The team effort continues to keep up with necessary preventative maintenance and plant operations while trying to stay safe during this pandemic."