WATERVILLE — City councilors voted Tuesday to approve up to $6 million in tax-exempt bonds for Inland Hospital improvements, and elected Fred Stubbert, D-Ward 1, council chairman.
Inland is borrowing the money under the city’s umbrella. The city is allowed to borrow up to $10 million annually in federally exempt tax bonds.
Two years ago, Delta Ambulance borrowed money under the city’s authority for a new building on Chase Avenue, according to City Manager Michael Roy.
The money for Inland will come through the Finance Authority of Maine, he said Tuesday.
“The city is not, as we said at prior meetings, in any way liable for this debt, this obligation,” Roy said.
The vote was 7-0. Improvements to the hospital will be completed this month. Roy said Inland is able to borrow through the city at lower interest rates.
Hospital improvements included the renovation and expansion of three areas of the institution. The medical-surgical and ICU units were consolidated into a new acute care unit. New, private rooms were created and the unit layout was improved to provide for more efficient care. Two other improvement projects were completed more than two years ago and involved expanding the day surgery unit and adding two more labor-delivery-recovery-postpartum rooms to the birthing center.
Stubbert replaces Councilor Erik Thomas, D-Ward 4, for the council chairmanship.
The vote to elect Stubbert was 4-3, with Stubbert and councilors Edward Lachowicz, D-Ward 2, John O’Donnell, D-Ward 5, and Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7, voting in favor of Stubbert; and councilors Rosemary Winslow, D-Ward 3, Thomas, and Councilor Dana Bushee, D-Ward 6, voting to re-elect Thomas.
Stubbert was council chairman one-and-a half years before the council elected Thomas chairman last year. Stubbert is entering his eleventh year as a councilor.
“I’m very pleased to be chairman again,” Stubbert said late Tuesday. “I’ve got a lot of things I want to get accomplished. I have two more years on the council and I have goals I have not accomplished yet.”
He cited as a goal the continued development of Robert LaFleur Municipal Airport and the building of a new terminal building there. He also cited construction of a new police station as one of his prior goals, which has been realized.
Thomas on Tuesday was appointed to the Tax Increment Financing Advisory Committee. Mayor Karen Heck also appointed Thomas to the Waterville Development Corp., after Stubbert said he wanted to serve on that panel.
Heck read a proclamation honoring Firefighter/rescue technician Mark Hamilton for saving a man’s life Dec. 12 by rescuing a man from a burning building, and Hamilton’s on-scene commander, Capt. Michael Michaud.
Michaud retired last week after 29 years.
Both he and Hamilton received applause for their work.
Heck also praised Public Works Director Mark Turner and his crew for the work they did during recent storms and in cold temperatures.
“I truly appreciate all the hard work and sacrifices I’m sure have been made in the last couple of weeks,” she said.