When Gardiner officials put together an assessment of city sidewalks in 2007, they had no idea that a financial crisis was looming or that a decade would pass before the project would be addressed.

Now, with $655,000 identified in the current Gardiner city budget to take on sidewalk work, the city’s Sidewalk Committee has updated the decade-old recommendations.

The committee will present its Sidewalk Improvement Plan when the council meets Wednesday.

The updated plan reflects changes in the cost of materials and in some cases changes in the use of some of the city’s sidewalks.

In his memo to elected officials, Dennis Doiron said what had been projected to cost $628,000 a decade ago would now cost $838,675. The committee also opted to recommend changing some parts of the project, such as adding a new section of sidewalk on West Hill Road from Ash Street to Route 26 to connect to the Gardiner Area High School, for instance, and reducing the scope of work on some sidewalks and eliminating others from the list altogether.

“These changes bring the project cost down to $644,440, with $10,560 left in contingency, which is a very small contingency amount,” he wrote.

The committee’s recommendation is for the city council to approve the updated plan so that the request for proposal can be updated and the project can be sent out to bid so work can start in late summer. The Sidewalk Committee would meet after bids are received to make adjustments based on the pricing, and the City Council would have a final chance to review the project scope before any contracts are signed.

The committee, made up of Doiron, Colin Frey, District 2 City Councilor Patricia Hart and At-Large City Councilor Jonathan Ault, City Manager Scott Morelli, and Public Works Director Tony LaPlante, will attend Wednesday’s meeting to talk about the project.

The annual budget review season in Gardiner starts Wednesday when elected city officials get their first look at the fiscal year 2018 budget recommendations for the city’s general fund, tax increment financing funds and enterprise funds.

The budget is not expected to be discussed in great detail during that meeting. Following the format established last year, city councilors will review department budgets during council meetings in March and April. They will hold a series of budget public hearings in April, May and June, and they are scheduled to debate the budget in early May.

Discussion on Gardiner police and fire and ambulance budgets is scheduled for March 15.

The council will also:

• consider whether to comment on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing of the American Tissue dam on the Cobbosseecontee Stream;

• hear a presentation from the Senior Tax Relief Working group;

• hear the quarterly financial update from the city finance director;

• hold a public hearing and consider a second read on general obligation bonds;

• hold a public hearing and consider a second read on an appropriation of $150,000 from fund balance as a leadership gift for the Johnson Hall renovation project;

• continue executive session discussions on the purchase or sale and/or option agreements on lots at the Libby Hill Business Park and perhaps consider accepting those agreements if negotiations are completed;

• consider making changes to the City Council’s meeting schedule in June, July and August.

The Gardiner City Council meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Gardiner City Hall, 6 Church St.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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