GARDINER — After a 34-year hiatus, an annual report has once again been produced by the city.

City Manager Scott Morelli said he tried to find out as much as he could about the city when he interviewed for the manager’s position in 2009. He said Gardiner had a great deal of information about the community on the city’s website, but he couldn’t find an annual report.

Later, he found out the city hadn’t produced one in years.

Last year, Morelli asked City Clerk Deirdre Berglund to revive the annual report, which serves as a clearinghouse of information on city activities each year. Annual reports are most commonly produced by communities that hold annual town meetings, which are not held in Gardiner and most cities.

“Transparency in government is critical, not only so that the public can hold its officials accountable but also because it helps to foster a sense of trust,” Morelli said.

Morelli said the city does a good job providing documents in a timely manner to citizens on request, but has been exploring ways to provide them with other pertinent information.

“The annual report is one way to do that,” he said. “The report is filled with data and information that residents will likely find useful.”

He said the report includes financial information, a summary of accomplishments, statistics such as the number of permits issued, fires responded to and library patrons served.

“We weren’t sure what to expect, but it came together very nicely and everyone has enjoyed it,” Berglund said. “Hopefully people will use it as tool and resource.”

Berglund said no one knows why the city stopped producing annual reports, which included write-ups from departments about what each had done for the year.

Everyone on Berglund’s staff, including Deputy Clerk Ruth Glaeser, who worked on annual reports when she worked at the West Bath Town Office, helped in the effort.

“We pulled some old reports and tried to bring back some of the historic stuff. We saw some things in the ’50s reports that we liked,” Glaeser said. “We added the list of mayors and little fun facts that people would enjoy. We also put in a basic calendar about stuff that happens annually just for their reference.”

Morelli said the report was published at no cost to taxpayers — except staff time to compile the pages and a minimal cost to print some copies from a City Hall printer. Berglund said the old reports can be found at the Gardiner Public Library.

Copies of the 2011 annual report can be downloaded from the city’s website, www.gardinermaine.com, and copies for public viewing are available at City Hall and the library.

Morelli said the report is dedicated to former Mayor Brian Rines, who died last year and was instrumental in many of the city’s projects, including Libby Hill Business Park, the Kennebec River Rail Trail and the Gardiner Main Street Program. Rines was mayor from 1993 to 2006.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]


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