WATERVILLE — William Lee will continue to be city solicitor for another three years — and at an increased rate of pay.

City councilors on Tuesday unanimously approved a three-year contract renewal for Lee, of the law firm, O’Donnell, Lee, McCowan & Phillips.

A city solicitor is legal advisor to the mayor, council, city manager, department heads and all city boards. He prosecutes suits for the city and defends suits brought against the city; he also prosecutes people accused of violating city ordinances.

Lee will be paid an increase of 3 percent over the term of his contract, according to City Manager Michael Roy. Currently, his rate is $140 and hour; it will increase to $145 for fiscal year 2012-13; $150 for 2013-14; and $153 for 2014-15.

The 6-0 vote Tuesday followed discussion about Lee’s performance, with Roy saying the increase is very fair, and comparable to solicitor rates in other municipalities.

“There’s no retainer, so we pay by the hour,” Roy said. “I think that we get a lot of calls and a lot of help from him (Lee) without charge also, when it’s something quick and simple.”

Lee has been city solicitor 15 years. Councilor Rosemary Winslow said he has an institutional memory that is important to the city. Roy added that Lee served on both the council and Waterville Board of Education before becoming city solicitor.

“He knows what it’s like,” he said.

Lee, who did not attend the meeting, said Wednesday that he was very pleased to have been reappointed.

“I think municipal government is usually the most responsive level of government and I’ve always enjoyed practicing municipal law,” he said.

In other matters, councilors voted to award a $78,800 contract to William Mushero Inc., of Oakland, for installation of a power line at Quarry Road Recreation Area.

One other contractor, Northern Line Construction Inc., of Dover-Foxcroft, submitted a bid for $83,180.

Parks and Recreation Director Matt Skehan initially recommended Northern Line be awarded the bid. Peter Arno of Northern Line told councilors Tuesday night that he was withdrawing that bid because people once willing to give private money to the project may not do so if the lower bidder is not chosen.

Arno said he understands why people think a local bidder should be given the work for a local project.

“We appreciate the opportunity to bid,” he said. “We wish you all the success in the world.”

Councilors also awarded a $402,365 contract to Ferrara Fire Apparatus to buy a new fire engine/rescue truck.

They voted 6-0 to sell tax-acquired property at 6 Pine St. to an abutting property owner for $2,200.

Mayor Karen Heck read a proclamation recognizing Decal Gymnastics, a family-owned business that represents Waterville YMCA in the YMCA Gymnastics League. The team won first place state team titles in four levels and second place in another level, she said. Several members of the team also won individual all-around state titles in their respective levels; and three members who competed in a YMCA regional meet won all-around titles, Heck said.

She also announced that she and her partner, Bruce Olson, will host a Dance Walk through downtown starting at 5 p.m. Friday and all are welcome to participate.

The Dance Walk, an activity that is gaining popularity in cities across the country as a social fitness activity, will start at Selah Tea Cafe on Main Street.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

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