WATERVILLE — City Councilor John O’Donnell, D-Ward 5, was unanimously elected council chairman Tuesday night after City Clerk Patti Dubois administered the oath of office to new councilors Steve Soule, D-Ward 1, and Jackie Dupont, D-Ward 7.

O’Donnell, a Waterville lawyer who has served 10 years on the council, joined in on the 7-0 vote to elect him chairman.

“All I want to do is try to help these guys — the councilors — steer this ship in the right direction,” O’Donnell said after the meeting. “Because right now we’re looking at some positive changes, and we need to make sure those changes come to fruition.”

He was referring to a joint effort by Colby College — which has bought several buildings downtown and plans to develop a hotel and college housing — and the city to help revitalize the downtown.

The city, state and Colby also are working on a project to help improve safety and traffic flow downtown. An improved intersection at Main, Water and Spring streets is being considered, as is the possibility of converting Main and Front streets downtown to two-way traffic.

The council voted 7-0 Tuesday to partner with Colby and the state Department of Transportation to hire a traffic consultant to study traffic, parking and other transportation concerns in the downtown area. The city’s share of up to $35,000 would be taken from the downtown tax increment financing fund. Colby and the DOT would share equally in the cost of a study.

O’Donnell, 58, cited the traffic study as contributing to positive changes to take place in the city that will require everyone to work together.

“We’re all optimistic,” he said.

Also sworn in Tuesday were 10 people appointed to serve on boards and committees. Other appointees had come to City Hall earlier in the day to be administered their oaths of office. Those present at Tuesday’s meeting were Mark Champagne, who will serve on the Board of Assessment Review and the Planning Board; Donald Dufour, a former city councilor who will serve on the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Ethics Committee; Kim Lane and Peter Lyford, Ethics Committee; Nicholas Champagne and Bruce White, Planning Board; William Grant, Elizabeth Maynard and Tamara Ranger, Trustees of Waterville Public Library; and Paul Jacques, Waterville Housing Authority.

Other appointees, not present Tuesday night, are Tom Munson and Michael Lamontagne, Airport Advisory Committee; Joe Ferris, Board of Assessment Review and Ethics Committee; Todd Martin, Board of Zoning Appeals and Ethics Committee; Dan Chasse and Cathy Taylor, Ethics Committee; John Hamelin and Percy Monty Smith, Kennebec Sanitary Treatment District trustees; Cynthia Jacobs, Waterville Public Library trustees; and John Hamelin, Waterville Sewerage District commissioner.

Also Tuesday, the council voted to approve a revised lease for Black Bear Aviation at the city-owned LaFleur Municipal Airport that provides additional office space for Black Bear.

Councilor Rosemary Winslow, D-Ward 3, cited many improvements that have taken place at the airport over the last 15 years and more activity there. She said she spent part of the day at Black Bear recently and aircraft were being worked on both inside and outside the main hangar. People have been hired at the airport and “not just at base-level” jobs, and the work that has been put into the airport is extraordinary, Winslow said

She said what is heartening for her is that 15 years ago, Telford Aviation chose to leave the airport and “15 years later, they’re coming back to have their Caravans updated at the Waterville airport.”

The council also voted 7-0 to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Friends of Quarry Road that spells out the responsibilities of both the city and Friends.

City Manager Michael Roy explained the document amends a prior one from 2013 and ensures that insurance and liability concerns are addressed adequately. It clarifies who has such responsibilities and liabilities, Roy said. Because the city owns the property and equipment, for instance, the city contracts with people doing the snow-making.

“The payment for that work is all going to be carried by (Friends of) Quarry Road,” he said.

Parks and Recreation Director Matt Skehan noted that members of the Friends of Quarry Road unanimously approved the memorandum of understanding.

Councilors also voted 7-0 to authorize Roy to sign a contract with JR Fabrication to conduct snow-making operations at Quarry Road Recreation Area with the understanding that all costs related to snow-making be paid by Friends of Quarry Road.

The council voted to approve various food, special amusement and liquor licenses for various businesses, including Amendment 21, a new New York-style deli on Union Street.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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