2007 January 12
by Edward French
Following an executive session with city attorney Dennis Mahar, the Eastport City Council, at its January 8 meeting, unanimously authorized city attorney Dennis Mahar to contract with attorney Kimberly Cook of Portland for the filing of intervenor status with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for both the Quoddy Bay LNG proposal at Split Rock and Downeast LNG project in Robbinston.
Councillor Brian Schuth noted that the action "gives Eastport a seat at the table. It does not commit us to a particular position." However, the city will be in a more formal position if it does decide to support or oppose either project.
City Manager George Finch comments, "While neither proposal is located within Eastport, Eastport has unique concerns about the siting and operation of these facilities. These concerns include questions about public safety, the possible impacts on the port and airport and possible disruptions to fishing and other economic activity. As this process evolves, the council will evaluate the details of the proposals and develop more specific positions at future meetings."
The deadline for filing for intervenor status is January 16 for Quoddy Bay LNG and January 22 for Downeast LNG.
The council held a hearing on the proposal by Richard Klyver to place nine bronze sculptures of sea creatures along the seawall walkway. Questions were raised concerning the cost to the city if the sculptures were vandalized, since they would belong to the city. Klyver responded that the molds would be retained so that a sculpture could be re-cast. He suggested the formation of a walkway committee to oversee the landscaping and renovation of the seawall walkway and to keep an eye out for any damage. He hoped that any funding for possible repairs would not have to be borne by the city. Concerning possible liability if someone was injured, Klyver noted that there would be no sharp edges, and the city attorney pointed out that the liability would be the same as for any piece of city property.
The council voted to approve the art proposal for the seawall, contingent on the council and the historic review board reviewing the final location and attention being given to the safety of the public, and with the expectation that the project will be completed within two to four years.
Earl Small was unanimously reelected as council president.
The council made the following appointments, all for one year unless otherwise noted: city manager, overseer of the poor and emergency management director, George Finch; treasurer and purchasing agent, Muriel Randall; tax collector, Helen Archer; registrar of voters for two years, Helen Archer; code enforcement officer and building inspector, Robert Scott; plumbing inspector, temporarily, Muriel Randall; assessor I, for three-year term, Robert Scott; assessor III, Melinda Krestel; fire chief, Richard Clark; harbor master, Charlie Leppin; marine warden and animal control officer, Peter Small; deputy marine warden, Mark Emery; health officer, Mary Davis, for three years; city auditor, RHR Smith & Company; city accountants, Brantner, Thibodeau & Associates; and fair hearing authority, city council.
The council made the following appointments to boards: Stephen Collins (reappointed) and Richard Tappan to the planning board for three years; Edward French and Russ Terry (reappointed) and John Melby to the historic review board for three years; Bernie Cecire, Bob Kennedy, Dennis Turner, Ron Rosenfeld, Ed Nadeau and Gary Portnow to the airport advisory committee for one year; Charlie Leppin to the harbor committee for three years; Gregory Biss, Roberta Thompson, John Grady, Sarah Talbot, Don Sutherland, Eleanor Norton and Ruth McInnis to the Downtown Community Development Advisory Committee for one year; and Brandy Fredette, Charlie Lewis and Ann Sullivan to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) advisory board for three years.
The following councillors and alternates were appointed as liaisons to boards: airport advisory committee, Earl Small; cemetery committee, Kathy Lewis and alternate Charlie Lewis; school board, Larkin McGarvey; senior citizens center, Julie Leppin; recycling committee, Julie Leppin and Kathy Lewis; marine resource committee, Earl Small; harbor committee, Earl Small; community development advisory board, Brian Schuth and alternate Charlie Lewis; Marion Transfer Station board, Brian Schuth and alternate George Finch; Washington County Emergency Medical Service Authority, Brian Schuth and alternate George Finch; recreation board, Larkin McGarvey; Eastport for Pride/downtown development advisory committee, Kathy Lewis; RC&D, Kathy Lewis and alternate Charlie Lewis.
Assessor Robert Scott stated that the revaluation figures will be brought to the council at the February 12 meeting, the information will then be released to the public and "fake" tax bills will be mailed at the end of February. During the third week of March appointments will be set up with the assessors to review any concerns by property owners.
The council established The First, Bangor Savings Bank, and Bar Harbor Banking and Trust as depositing banks for city funds, set no discount rate for pre-payment of taxes, and designated Kathy Lewis, Julie Leppin, and Larkin McGarvey to sign warrants.
A hearing will be held on January 22 on an application for Community Development Block Grant funding to complete the downtown improvements, including streetlights and finishing the sidewalks. At the February 12 meeting a hearing will be held on a liquor and special entertainment license for Jeffrey and Lesley Starling, doing business as the Happy Crab.
The city manager's budget proposal will be presented at the February meeting. The council will hold a workshop with the school board on January 22 and with the port authority at a date to be determined. The city manager reported that the draft comprehensive plan is now being reviewed by the State Planning Office.
Since councillors had suggested purchasing a smaller truck for snowplowing for the public works department, it was agreed that it would be better not to purchase any truck at this time.
Lora Whelan, director of Eastport for Pride, reported that Maine Public Broadcasting System plans to include Eastport as part of its series on hometown economies.
Linda Godfrey stated that the women at the Commons are interested in starting a community gardeners program to work with other groups on the garden spots downtown.
© 2007 The Quoddy Tides
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.