GARDINER — One new city councilor will be sworn in Wednesday night at the City Council’s inauguration and first meeting of the new year.
Terry Berry, a real estate agent with an office in Hallowell, won an uncontested race for District 1, a seat previously held by Chris Leake. District 1 encompasses most of the city north of Cobbosseecontee Stream.
Councilors Patricia Hart from District 2, Richard Heath from District 3 and Philip Hart from District 4, who were all re-elected in uncontested races, will be sworn in as well. The Harts are not related.
Berry, the owner of Century 21 Alliance, has been a Gardiner resident since 2011.
Following the ceremony, councilors will move on to their regular agenda, which includes a final public reading of an ordinance change to allow camping on city property during special events and discussion on the library fee charged to the town of Randolph.
No one from the public spoke in December at the first public hearing and reading of the proposed special events ordinance amendment. The city began the process of amending the ordinance in anticipation of an overnight bicycle event that might include a stay in Gardiner next year.
Officials planning the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s BikeMaine, a weeklong bicycle ride planned for next September, asked the city whether they could use the Waterfront Park for an overnight site during the event. Currently, overnight camping isn’t allowed on city property.
The event could bring up to 350 cyclists and around 40 staffers to Gardiner, according to city officials.
City Manager Scott Morelli said the change, which would still require applicants to seek approval from the council before being allowed to camp during special events, will go into effect 30 days after Wednesday’s final reading.
Councilors will also discuss slightly lowering the fee the city planned to charge the town of Randolph for its residents to use the library’s services.
Council at its first meeting in December approved raising the fees charged to the four member communities — Litchfield, Pittston, Randolph and West Gardiner — for using the Gardiner Public Library by 3 percent.
The amount each community pays is based on a formula that uses the number of items checked out by residents, but the library froze the fee for the last two years, according to Anne Davis, director of Gardiner Public Library. Davis said in a memo to councilors that Randolph would end up paying more with the 3 percent increase than it would if the cost was still calculated by usage.
Davis is proposing the city charge Randolph $17,328 a year, $152 less than the 3 percent increase approved by council. Even with the increases, the total projected revenue from the communities would only rise by about $1,000, totaling roughly 24 percent of the library’s $375,000 budget. Gardiner pays the remainder.
Member communities still must vote on the amounts allocated to the library at their annual town meetings this year.