WATERVILLE — City councilors on Tuesday approved a lease with Black Bear Aviation to include more space at the city-owned airport, approved spending $1,500 to help build a recreational trail through the South End and said good-bye to two city councilors.

Councilors voted 7-0 to approve a five-year lease, with a five-year extension, for the aviation company at Robert LaFleur Municipal Airport. The company does aircraft maintenance, painting, sales, detailing and repair.

Black Bear owner Kevin Dauphinee said his company is growing and he wants to lease two more rooms at the airport, one of which would be used for fabric and other materials needed for an interior shop he is bringing in that will do complete custom interiors.

“At the beginning of the year we had three employees; we have seven now,” Dauphinee said. “We’re doing pretty good. We’re growing fast.”

City Manager Michael Roy praised the company’s work at the airport.

“We’re very happy with the relations we’ve had with Kevin,” he said.

Councilor Rosemary Winslow, D-Ward 3, was pleased with the report.

“This is very good,” she said. “It’s good to hear.”

Councilors also voted 7-0 to take $1,500 from the South End Capital Improvement Account to support a Recreational Trail Program grant for designing a trail through the South End, to connect with Kennebec Messalonskee Trails. That organization has a chance to get a $35,000 grant to build the infrastructure needed to create a trail from Summer Street through the cemetery on Grove Street and continue along Water Street to where the Kennebec River meets Messalonskee Stream. The grant is contingent on the city and community pitching in 20 percent, or $7,000. The trails group has committed $3,500 and asked the South End Neighborhood Association and Waterville Community Land Trust for the remaining $2,000.

Jackie Dupont, co-director of the Neighborhood Association and a member of the Land Trust, thanked the council for approving the money.

“I know that the Neighborhood Association is excited to support this and help with the matching funds,” she said. “That’s part of the requirement of the grant.”

Scott McAdoo, also a member of both organizations, said the area where the trail will be built is beautiful.

“Once it’s developed, it’s going to be a nice asset to the city,” he said.

Dupont and McAdoo joined Kennebec Messalonskee Trails President Rick McCarthy in addressing the council Tuesday.

In other matters, the council voted 7-0 to refer to the Planning Board a request to hold a public hearing and make a recommendation to councilors on whether to rezone 345 Main St. to allow a Taco Bell to build a restaurant there. The site is the former Bank of America, just south of Dunkin’ Donuts. The Planning Board would make a recommendation to the council, which would make the final decision on rezoning.

Erik Nadeau of Nicholson, Michaud & Co., certified public accountants, gave an overview of the audit the company did for the city’s 2014-15 fiscal year, which ended June 30. Total expenditures for the year were $37.5 million, while the city had estimated the figure would be $37.8 million, a difference of $361,874. The city had estimated its total revenue for the year would be $36 million and the total was $36.5 million. The audit shows the city had a fund balance of $5.9 million, or more than 12 percent of the total budget for the year. The council’s policy is to maintain a minimum fund balance of 12 percent.

“We’re still within that policy range. We’re still complying with city policy,” Nadeau said.

He said city and school staff members did a great job working with auditors and they were prepared, experienced and knowledgeable.

“It makes our job a lot easier,” he said.

Roy handed Council Chairman Fred Stubbert, D-Ward 1, and Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7, gift bags containing city of Waterville fleece vests on their last day serving on the council.

Both were defeated in the November election.

Roy thanked Stubbert and said he was grateful for his long service to the city. He said Stubbert was extremely supportive and especially helpful with building projects.

“It’s going to be hard to fill those shoes,” Roy said.

He said there’s no question Rancourt-Thomas cared very much about the people in her ward.

“Karen certainly represented Ward 7 as well as anyone I’ve seen in my time,” Roy said.

Both councilors received applause.

Mayor Nick Isgro also praised them, saying it is not an easy job.

“Thank you for your long-term service,” he said.

Steve Soule was elected to the Ward 1 seat; Dupont was elected to the Ward 7 seat.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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