WATERVILLE — The City Council unanimously voted tonight to renovate the basement of City Hall, but the work may leave little capital investment cash for emergencies.

The council voted 6–0 to renovate City Hall’s basement, which until early this month housed the Police Department. City Manager Mike Roy asked the council to approve renovations up to $85,000, and fund it using money in the capital investment reserve fund. Roy said that the $85,000 is all that is left in the capital investment fund, but the work is not necessarily going to cost that much.

“We’re going to use public works as much as possible for the renovations,” Roy said, adding that some of the work will probably have to be contracted out.

The renovations would focus on adding more storage for City Hall and the police department, moving the information technology department to the basement and expanding the general assistance office.

Roy said the balance of the capital investment fund has fluxuated over the years since it was established in 2005. He said at one time it had a a couple hundred thousand dollars, but it was used to help balance the city’s budget and upgrade equipment.

If the basement renovations use all or most of the $85,000, Roy said there will be little money left for emergency renovations.

“There is some risk to it,” he said.

Roy added that construction would begin within the week in the basement, but the project would be drawn out for “quite a few months.”

Councilwoman Eliza Mathias and Mayor Karen Heck were not at the meeting.

A donation of $1,000 to the Lac-Megantic Relief Fund was also unanimously approved by the City Council, with the money coming from Waterville’s undesignated fund balance.

Mike Duguay, director of business development for Summit Natural Gas of Maine, updated the City Council about the construction of a natural gas pipeline through Waterville, which has hit some snags.

“Basically, we ran out of calendar,” Duguay said, adding that construction for the pipeline at the upper and lower parts of Main Street and on the corner of Elm and Silver street will go forward this year, providing the backbone for the rest of the construction, which Duguay said would be scheduled for 2014.

“It does not mean part of the network won’t be built, we just ran out of time,” Duguay said. “What we don’t build this year, we’ll add to next year’s calendar.”

Jesse Scardina — 861-9239
[email protected]

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