WATERVILLE — Grove and Water streets in the city’s South End will be improved this year if all goes according to plan.

City councilors on Tuesday voted 5-0 to transfer up to $300,000 from the downtown tax increment financing reserve account to help fix those roads, which they say are in terrible shape. They hope the state Department of Transportation will pitch in more money for the project.

“We’ve asked for $275,000, and the person we talked to (at DOT) was very encouraging about our chances,” City Manager Michael Roy said.

He said the city applied to the state for help with the roads and he thinks Waterville will be successful in getting the money. The state has about $7 million to help communities with such projects, he said.

“We’re still working to include Eustis Parkway in this same program,” he said.

Councilor Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7, said there will be a lot of happy people on Water and Grove streets when they learn the project will happen. She represents residents in the South End.

“It’s been a long time coming and I just want to say thank you to everyone who put some effort into this,” she said.

Roy said he hopes Water and Grove streets will be completed this year; he was less optimistic that Eustis Parkway would be included in this year’s work.

In other matters, Finance Director Rob Boschen presented a year-end financial summary that shows most city departments came in under budget and that the city used only $717,000 of the fund balance. That is less than officials expected, making the fund balance for the new fiscal year larger than expected, according to Roy.

Boschen said Public Works Director Mark Turner contributed much to save the city more than $400,000.

“He was constantly looking for ways to save money,” he said.

Roy said Turner’s department “saved the day for us again.”

Councilor Rosemary Winslow, D-Ward 3, said she was amazed Turner could do that, considering the tough winter.

“Kudos to Mark Turner,” she said.

Councilor John O’Donnell, D-Ward 5, asked how Turner did it.

Boschen and Roy said Turner saved some money on salt and sand by buying wisely and being more efficient. Roy said he used more salt over the winter, making fewer trips.

Roy said it is possible that some of the savings from public works could be used to improve Eustis Parkway.

Roy and councilors also praised Boschen, who is leaving the city Thursday to work for the town of Falmouth. Roy said Boschen really turned things around in the finance office when he arrived in Waterville nearly five years ago.

In other matters, councilors:

* Approved the sale of 41 Carey Lane for $18,000

* Approved $25,000 in forgivable loans to Selah Tea Cafe and Charles Giguere’s apartment project

*Voted to hire Applied Forestry to construct trails at Quarry Road Recreation Area

* Ratified a union contract with Teamsters Local Union 340, representing Fire Department workers

*Approved spending $10,000 to support Waterville Main Street

*Appointed Michael Owens to the Planning Board.

The council postponed electing a council chairman, as councilors George Myers Jr., D-Ward 2, and Eliza Mathias, D-Ward 6, were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

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