The Gardiner City Council will consider a new contract for the police union at its meeting Wednesday, as well as decide whether to have the city manage the loan portion of a new downtown business incentive program.
The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall. The council plans to hold executive sessions before the public meeting to discuss the police contract and to conduct an annual review of City Manager Scott Morelli.
Councilors also are expected to approve the hiring of Dan Guimond as interim fire chief to replace Fire Chief Mike Minkowsky when he steps down at the end of the month. Guimond is being hired provisionally until financial concerns about the city’s ambulance fund are resolved and the city staff can recommend cost-saving changes to the department. The city is in negotiations to hire an outside consultant to review the finances of its ambulance service to determine why revenue appears to be less than expected.
Guimond, who retired from the Augusta Fire Department as a battalion chief in December, will work three days a week and be paid $30 an hour, according to Morelli. Minkowsky makes roughly $27.50 an hour, along with benefits, Morelli said.
The city staff will present in executive session the three-year contract agreed upon by the city and the Gardiner Police Association, Morelli said, and councilors will be asked to ratify it during the public portion of their meeting. The current contract expires June 30.
Morelli declined the discuss any details of the contract because councilors haven’t approved it yet.
The downtown business incentive program that will be discussed is a collaborative effort among the city, Gardiner Main Street, the Gardiner Board of Trade and The Bank of Maine.
The program, Gardiner Growth Initiative, will offer incentives such as forgivable loans for infrastructure costs, free rent for long-term leases and micro-grants for working capital to businesses looking to open a new location in downtown Gardiner or to existing businesses to expand their footprints.
Gardiner Main Street is asking the city to administer the forgivable loans portion because the city already has experience in running its revolving loan program, said Gardiner Main Street Executive Director Patrick Wright.
The city won’t incur any direct costs from administering the program, according to Morelli. Indirect costs, consisting of staff members working on the program, will be minimal and won’t affect any services provided by the city, he said.
The $125,000 that will be available for the loans worth up to $50,000 for individual businesses will be provided by The Bank of Maine, Wright said.
The council also is scheduled to:
â€¢ Discuss whether to use a weed-killing product on city sidewalks to prevent damage. Public Works Director Tony LaPlante has a preliminary plan to start on major streets including the downtown area, Brunswick Avenue and around the Common.
â€¢ Consider accepting a gift of an ice harvester sculpture from local artist Nicolas Genovese. The Gardiner Public Library has agreed to display it in the library after it’s complete.