HALLOWELL — The City Council discussed proposed ordinance changes relating to the Stevens School campus, the municipal budget and unanimously approved Nate Rudy’s appointment as city manager during Monday’s meeting at City Hall.

Rudy, 40, who replaced interim city manager Maureen AuCoin, starts Tuesday. He came to Hallowell after serving as the executive director of Waterville Creates!, a nonprofit organization promoting and supporting the arts and culture scene in greater Waterville.

The Stevens School project has been on the minds of many area residents for the better part of a decade. Matt Morrill purchased the 54-acre Stevens School campus in late April and outlined his visions for the property at May’s council meeting. In front of dozens Monday, Morrill shared more ideas and gave a progress report including the possibility of a tenant moving into the Baker Office Building on July 1.

Most, if not everything, Morrill wants to do with the Stevens School campus requires approval of either the Planning Board or City Council, and Morrill wants to move fast to get things started.

One of the proposed ordinance changes is to add a residential component to Section 9-388 on permitted uses. Morrill, who began developing the Hallowell Overlook neighborhood in 2013, has said he wants affordable housing and residential space on the property. Morrill said the cost of improving roads and infrastructure on the campus would be in the millions, and he asked the city to pay for it.

“We’ve spent a lot of time diving through the systems on site to see what intact and what’s defunct, and some looks OK, but some of it looks not so great,” Morrill said. “I’m charging forward and am excited to keep it going at this pace. The more time I spend on this, the more time I realize I need your help to keep things moving.”

Stearns said the council has spent years being frustrated by how the state let buildings on the Stevens School campus exist in disrepair. He said his goal is that “we get as many existing buildings occupied by winter as we can.”

The Planning Board was directed to hold a public hearing on Thursday, June 30, about the amended ordinance with the hopes that the Planning Board will report its findings to the council at the July 11 meeting.

The council also approved a request from the Planning Board to have a historical consultant on retainer to help the board deal with issues related to Stevens School ordinance changes and other complex applications the board expects to receive in the near future.

Councilor Alan Stearns wondered if applicants would have access to the historical consultant, but Planning Board Chair Danielle Obery said the board first tries to steer applicants to the Maine Historical Society. Stearns was appointed as the council’s liaison to the Planning Board.

Obery spoke at the May 23 council meeting and said the board would send a letter to Walker and the council about their request. The letter said one of the priorities should be a workshop historical consultant Mark Eyerman, the Planning Board, a councilor, the code enforcement officer and Rudy to discuss the Stevens School project. The workshop is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, June 30.

The council also approved the first reading of the nearly $5.6 million 2016-2017 expenditure and revenue budget, which has $5,578,897 in expenses and $5,170,324 in revenue. The difference of $408,573 would result in an estimated mil rate increase from 17.6 to 19.

More than half of the city’s expenses go to Regional School District 2, who’s budget called for an increase of nearly $200,000 from Hallowell, accounting for the biggest expense change in the city’s budget.

Rudy, a former Gardiner city official, is Hallowell’s first permanent city manager since Stefan Pakulski’s unexpected death in March. Pakulski took over for Michael Starns last October after spending 12 years as Readfield’s manager. AuCoin, Hallowell’s former code enforcement officer, took over in March on an interim basis and was one of the finalists for the permanent position but did not receive a second interview.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ


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