WATERVILLE — The City Council on Tuesday took a first vote to sell city-owned property off Airport Road for $70,000 to Pondwood Self Storage, which wants to construct a building there to rent for warehousing or other uses.

Councilors voted 7-0 to authorize City Manager Roy to negotiate a contract for the sale of that property, Lot No. 5 in the Airport Business Park. It is one of seven remaining in the park, which is an approved city subdivision. Roy said the city listed the lot for sale for $73,000 and Pondwood offered $70,000.

“I recommend that we agree to accept and move forward with the sale,” Roy said.

The council approved the sale with no discussion. One more vote is needed to finalize the sale.

The council considered taking a first vote to sell undeveloped, city-owned land off Airport Road to Leo St. Peter for $12,000 per acre with the understanding that he would be responsible for surveying the acreage he wants to purchase.

Councilors voted 7-0 to table voting until the council’s next meeting after St. Peter spoke about the proposal.

“I don’t really want to pay for a survey; I’m not saying I won’t,” St. Peter said.

St. Peter said his goal is to connect his property with Airport Road in order to have access to Interstate 95 and Kennedy Memorial Drive, but right now he is “kind of landlocked,” and he wants to see a road built.

“I need utilities. I would like utilities. I’m not Daniel Boone,” he said.

St. Peter said he needs three lots. The city eventually will build a road to connect Mitchell Road to Airport Road, according to St. Peter, who suggested that be done to enable him to have access.

“At some point, the city is going to do this,” he said. “I don’t necessarily want to pay for it, but I need those things. I would like the property.”

Roy estimated the cost to build a road from the dead-end road to Mitchell Road at $1 million.

“It’s an expensive deal to cut a road through the woods, basically,” he said.

Mayor Nick Isgro asked St. Peter if he still would want to buy the property if the city did not install water and sewer there. St. Peter said he would. He agreed the council should table the issue until the next council meeting to allow the city time to get a cost estimate for surveying the property. Councilors voted 7-0 to table.

The land is beyond the end of the paved area of Airport Road and is part of a much larger parcel the city bought in 2012, according to the order the council considered Tuesday.

In other matters, councilors voted 7-0 to ratify a three-year collective bargaining agreement between the city and the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Council 93, which represents 11 city employees, including clerical and administrative workers. They will receive a 3% pay increase as part of the agreement.

The council voted 7-0 to declare an emergency to be able to continue funding city needs such as payroll after the end of June, when the city’s fiscal year ends, because the council has not approved a proposed budget for 2019-20 yet. The council had been waiting for the state to approve a budget before it voted on the city and school budget. The council probably would take a first vote on the budget July 2 and a final vote possibly July 9.

The council voted 7-0 to adopt a policy for use of drug forfeiture assets by police, as “there has been an exponential increase in the total value of cash, vehicles, etc., from drug forfeitures and it is important to have some guidelines for spending,” according to the resolution the council considered Tuesday.

The policy says police will use the assets to conduct and support ongoing drug investigations and overtime costs and buy protective equipment, weapons, vehicles, technology and other goods and services needed for the safety of officers and the public. The council may determine whether to apply assets to other city budget needs, according to the policy.

The police chief shall have the authority, with approval from the city manager, to spend forfeiture funds not to exceed $10,000 in a fiscal year for activities directly related to the Police Department’s operations and drug investigations. All uses of funds greater than $10,000 will require council approval, according to the policy.

The council voted 7-0 to award a $57,976 contract to Darling’s Bangor Ford for two new police vehicles — both 2020 Ford Utility Police Interceptor SUVs. The price includes the trade-in value of two police vehicles.

Councilors also voted 7-0 to award contracts for heating and motor vehicle fuel bids and to amend public hearing requirements for new on-premise liquor licenses so as to no longer require formal public hearings and associated public hearing notices for such licenses.

The council considered the amendment in response to questions and concerns raised by Jennifer Bergeron about the costs of new licensing requirements. She told the council June 4 that she plans to open Lion’s Den Tavern in the former Itali-ah restaurant space at 74 Main St. downtown.

The council voted to table until the next council meeting a request to authorize the sale of city-owned property on Sterling Street that is the site of a former playground after neighbors in the area said their children play there and they will mow and maintain it.

Roy and Lisa Hallee, co-chairmen of the RiverWalk Advisory Committee, said the balance in the RiverWalk account is $153,000 and they plan to use $102,000 of that for installing a shade pergola, or awning structure, in the park. The pergola was designed by a Maine designer, specifically for Waterville’s RiverWalk, they said.

“It’s beautiful and I think it’s going to be a real show stopper at our river,” Hallee said.

 

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