WATERVILLE — The City Council will be asked Tuesday to spend an additional $1 million to support unexpected costs that have surfaced as part of the Main Street BUILD project designed to change the traffic pattern to two-way, improve sidewalks and intersections, beautify the downtown and make it more pedestrian-friendly.

The initial project estimate was $9.21 million, but because of rising construction costs and unplanned changes in scope, the project needs $1.66 million more to continue, according to the resolution councilors will consider Tuesday.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. and the public may watch via a link on the city website, www.waterville-me.gov. A memo from City Manager Michael Roy to councilors and Mayor Nick Isgro, dated Friday, says that when the application for  project funding was submitted in the summer of 2018, the city was not listed as a contributor. After the grant was approved for $7.37 million, the state Department of Transportation committed $975,000 to the project and Colby College committed $1.64 million, for a total project cost of $9.98 million.

“Soon after, MeDOT, the city and Colby began working on the final design for the project and by early spring, it became clear that the funding would fall far short of the project estimate,” Roy’s memo says.

He said the main reasons for the rise in project costs are that construction costs have increased 30% to 40% since the time the project was proposed; excavation of Main, Front and some other streets caused an increase of nearly $1 million to the original estimate for road repair; and because of changing traffic patterns, two traffic signals are needed and they may cost $350,000 each.

“At this time, the budget shortfall is estimated at $1,666,000,” the memo says. “It is my hope that if the city can fund $1,000,000, then we will find the rest with MeDOT and Colby’s help.”


Roy proposes the city include the request on its list for bond financing later this summer. He said he and Council Chairman Erik Thomas, D-Ward 7, will propose an amendment to the downtown TIF to cover the costs of the debt service for borrowing the $1 million. The annual debt service will average about $60,000 a year, according to Roy, who says that, by capturing the value of the future Colby hotel in a TIF, the city would easily cover the debt with the taxes collected from that building alone.

“This Main Street project is a critical element in the continued transformation of the commercial core of our city,” Roy’s memo says. “The conversion to two-way traffic, the pedestrian improvements for safety and mobility and the complete reconstruction of Main Street and all sidewalks will be of tremendous benefit to the city for many years to come.”

In 2018, the federal government announced that Waterville was awarded the $7.37 million federal grant, targeted at downtown revitalization. Funding was part of $26.6 million awarded to Maine projects through the BUILD program, previously known as TIGER, to help improve infrastructure, create jobs, reduce traffic congestion and increase safety. The $7.37 million Waterville was awarded was targeted for the $9.2 million project consisting of infrastructure improvements in downtown Waterville.

In a separate $2.7 million project, the Kennebec Water District is currently replacing pipes downtown that are more than 100 years old.

In other matters Tuesday, councilors will consider:

• Approving marijuana cultivation, manufacturing and retail licenses for Theory Wellness of Maine Cultivation LLC, at 20 Industrial St.

• Awarding a $106,000 contract to JS Industrial Arts Co. to restore the Waterville Public Library’s interior woodwork and approving $10,000 for contingency to be used if additional work is required; a $146,063 contract to Freightliner of Bangor for a single axle dump truck with accessory equipment for the public works department, to be used for summer and winter road maintenance; a $68,075 contract with Jordan Equipment Co. of Hermon for an HD track loader with accessory equipment, also to be used for winter and summer road maintenance; a $143,998 contract with Freightliner for a dual axle roll-off truck with related equipment for hauling and disposing of yard and brush debris, demolition material and bulk snow removal; an $82,628 contract with O’Connor Motors of Augusta for two two-wheel drive regular cab trucks with utility bodies, for use by facility and fleet maintenance workers; a $30,000 contract with O’Connor for a four-wheel drive double cab pickup truck for use by the highway superintendent; and a $36,858 contract with Quirk Ford of Augusta for a one-ton four-wheel drive truck with dump body and plow. Funding for the purchases will come from money the city borrowed last year.

• Taking the first of two needed votes to amend the licenses and permitting ordinance to allow licensed businesses to apply for a refund of license fees when forced to close or reduce normal business operations for more than 30 days due to a local, state or federal emergency.

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