Rockland council gives OK to borrow voter-approved money for roads, sewers, library, broadband

Jul 10, 2018
Source: File photo

Rockland — The Rockland City Council unanimously voted Monday evening, July 9, to have the city borrow more than $14 million to upgrade roads, sewers, the library and construct a high-speed fiberoptic broadband network.

The bonds had been approved by voters in November 2016, but at that time, councilors said the money would not be borrowed until other debt was paid off by the city.

:"I understand taxes will go up," Councilor Ed Glaser said, but added that they were all necessary and important projects.

City Manager Tom Luttrell said property taxes next year will increase $110 for the average home ($180,000 assessment) from the borrowing. An additional $55 increase will occur in two years.

The largest bond approved in November 2016 by voters was $10 million for more upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant, as well as stormwater and sewer line separation.

The project that received the most support from voters in that election was $2.7 million for road repairs. That was backed 2,575 to 845 by city residents.

The roads that were to be rebuilt under that project were listed as Atlantic Avenue, Broadway from Pleasant Street south to Gordon Drive, Limerock Street from Broadway to Old County Road, Lovejoy Street, Old County Road from Route 17 to Lake View Drive, Park Drive, South Main Street, much of Thomaston Street, two sections of Talbot Avenue (Main to Union and Broadway to Old County), and Winter Street.

City Manager Tom Luttrell said Public Services Director David St. Laurent is reviewing the list to see if an update is needed.

Mayor Valli Geiger said at a meeting earlier this month that the Bog Road should be considered for that list.

Voters also gave strong backing to borrowing $1.1 million for what the city said was long-overdue masonry work for the public library, including rebuilding the north wall, which has deteriorated and allows water to enter the building.

The final bond issue approved in 2016 was $400,000 to construct a high-speed fiber broadband network that would be the backbone from which service could eventually be extended all over the city. The money would create a system to link municipal and school buildings and key downtown locations.

Luttrell said the city's overall debt of $7.3 million is well below the amount allowed by state law. He said the state caps a municipality's debt to 7.5 percent of its overall valuation. With the new bonds, the city will be at 1.7 percent, the manager said.

The manager said he expects paving to begin later this year and the library repairs to start in the fall.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Jul 13, 2018 08:07

Dennis wake up and smell the coffee.  The public has no interest in lowering taxes.  That was the platform I ran on twice and was soundly defeated both times.  Get another job, or at least an extra job.

Posted by: Debby Hansen | Jul 10, 2018 21:19

What happened to the road work that was previously slated for Camden St at Maverick to Waldo Ave? Maine Water ran pipes across that length of road and the paving afterwards is like driving on a washboard. This is Route 1 by another name, driven on by locals and visitors. Welcome to Rockland.

Posted by: Dennis Corkum | Jul 10, 2018 18:00

On top of the latest tax increase.  How can anyone afford to live in Rockland?  If I weren't so old I would move.  Let's cut some costs, but of course taxes never go down.

If you wish to comment, please login.