AUGUSTA — Fighting against the growing epidemic of drug addiction and crime are among the goals to be considered for approval Thursday by the Augusta City Council.

Despite hiring two new police detectives last year to fight crime stemming from drug abuse, holding at least one well-attended public forum to discuss the problem, and joining alliances with others seeking to prevent drug abuse, the drug crisis has continued to grow locally and across the country, the proposed goal statement notes.

“The price of drug abuse in the area remains high,” states the council’s draft goals, written by City Manager William Bridgeo and consultant Frank O’Hara. “The fallout includes increased robberies, babies born with defects, school children suffering from neglect and abuse, and some high school students becoming addicted themselves. For this reason, the council once more prioritized addressing the drug crisis as one of its top goals.”

Councilors at their goal-setting session in January had a wide-ranging discussion on what the city should do about what they described as a drug epidemic. Ultimately they settled on assigning Bridgeo and other city staff members to drafting an action plan by the end of March that would consider:

• The potential need for a detoxification center in Augusta;

• The need to train teachers, parents and others in identifying and dealing with people with drug problems;

• The mechanics of creating or linking to a website providing resources to those who are dealing with drug abuse and its effects;

• Ways of coordinating with state efforts and maximizing the use of state resources;

• The potential need for someone on-site in the schools to coordinate with agencies;

• The potential need for an expanded health curriculum to deal with drug use;

• The potential need for more neighborhood watch groups;

• The need to assist support groups of parents and family members of abusers;

• The need to engage medical professionals and neighborhood organizations.

At-Large Councilor Dale McCormick, in a discussion of the draft proposal last week, said she thought there should be more emphasis on coordinating with other municipalities and the state in fighting drug abuse. She noted, for example, that not every municipality necessarily needs a detoxification facility within its borders, so it should coordinate to try to locate one in the area to serve users from multiple municipalities.

Fighting drug addiction and crime is one of several overall general goals, each of which have multiple, more specific subgoals.

Specific goals listed under the general goal of promoting the long-term economic development of Augusta include taking advantage of development opportunities such as the Kennebec Locke at Head Tide (the former site of the Statler Tissue mill), the Kennebec Arsenal site, Riggs Brook and the former Maine Department of Transportation site on Capitol Street; achieving Certified Local Government status from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission; holding an informational session with an AARP representative about what it would take to receive designation as an Age-Friendly Community; supporting the redevelopment of the Colonial Theater and the northern end of Water Street; and supporting the establishment of a creative coalition in Augusta.

Goals cited under the overall goal of improving the built environment include approving and enforcing the proposed Property Maintenance Ordinance, enacting the proposed Historic District Ordinance, and forming a Complete Streets committee with the charge of drafting a proposed policy for council consideration.

Ending childhood hunger also is expected to be a council goal for the year.

Councilors are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

Councilors also are scheduled to consider:

• Awarding a Mayor’s Recognition of Excellence Award to the Augusta Food Bank;

• Selling a parcel of land acquired through nonpayment of taxes on Lone Indian Trail for $2,500;

• Amending the solid waste ordinance to reduce the maximum allowable weight of a bag of trash left for curbside pickup from 100 pounds to 40 pounds.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj