AUGUSTA — Proposals to fund almost $620,000 worth of paving on city streets, and $231,000 to install solar panels at Hartford Fire Station, go to city councilors for approval Thursday.
The work on local residential and rural streets by the city would join extensive road repaving work the state Department of Transportation plans to do on some of Augusta’s most well-traveled, state-owned roads this construction season.
The state’s work plan for 2014 includes repaving in Augusta such as: outer Western Avenue, Mount Vernon Avenue, Eastern Avenue and Riverside Drive.
Which roads would be done with the city’s proposed $620,000 are still to be determined, but the work would take place on roads owned and maintained by the city. Typically, those are the more residential and rural roads in the city, according to City Manager William Bridgeo.
Of the proposed $620,000 in local work, $366,500 would come from the city’s street opening permit fund, money collected from fees paid primarily by utilities such as the two natural gas companies installing pipe along roads in Augusta.
The remaining $252,000 would come from a proposed $750,000 bond councilors will also consider approving at their meeting Thursday night.
The bond would also provide $257,000 toward the estimated cost of $662,000 to build a large new heated storage building at the public works department that would store public works trucks and other equipment as well as large pieces of equipment from the fire and police departments.
And it would fund $241,000 of improvements to a number of city properties, including $30,000 to resurface the parking lot at the police department, $35,000 to upgrade a parks and cemeteries maintenance building upgrade, $30,000 to replace a fire department vehicle and $25,000 for a storage shed at Alumni Field.
Councilors are allowed by the Augusta City Charter to bond up to $750,000 a year without seeking voter approval for long term improvements to city property and streets, Bridgeo said.
The city almost always does an annual bond to pay for such long term capital improvements, he said.
Councilors, who meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center, are also scheduled to consider a $231,000 project to install solar energy panels on Hartford Fire Station, and $231,700 for the city’s share of a new phone system for city and school buildings.
The solar panels would be similar to the setup installed last year on the side of the Augusta Civic Center, and would help heat Hartford, the city’s main, and oldest, fire station, said Ralph St. Pierre, finance director and assistant city manager.
The solar panels would be acquired through a $181,000 lease-purchase deal and $50,000 in grant funding from Efficiency Maine. St. Pierre said the heating cost savings from the solar panels are expected to more than pay for the cost of their lease-purchase.
Councilors are also scheduled to:
â€¢ hear a presentation from Kennebec Land Trust about a proposal to acquire Howard Hill;
â€¢ consider creating a new tax increment finance district focused on capturing the value of natural gas development in the city, and changes to two existing TIF agreements, with the TIF proceeds going to help fund city projects;
â€¢ read a proclamation recognizing resident Mary Farrell Burns for recently turning 100 years old;
â€¢ hold a closed-door session to discuss real estate negotiations.
Keith Edwards – 621-5647 email@example.com Twitter: @kedwardskj