WATERVILLE — The City Council on Tuesday plans to consider rejoining the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments after leaving its membership many years ago.

The meeting is scheduled to be at 7 p.m. at The Elm at 21 College Ave., and the public may watch or take part virtually via a link on the city’s website, www.waterville-me.gov. An executive session to consult with legal counsel will be held at 6:45 a.m., prior to the meeting.

As part of the order councilors are set to consider regarding KVCOG, the city manager would be authorized to expend up to $6,821 to pay the city’s dues through June 30 this year. The yearly membership is $13,643. The council must take two votes to approve the membership but may take only one vote Tuesday.

KVCOG works on local and regional economic development and planning efforts and works to support and expand the capacity of local government within the Kennebec Valley region.

It also works to help communities adapt to solar farm development, the emergence of the cannabis industry and other initiatives, has a joint purchasing program, hosts household hazardous waste days and offers land use planning services. KVCOG developed a new lending program intended to fuel economic development with new business financing and creating and saving more than 250 jobs in the region. It also is working to address climate change issues and help provide reliable internet services.

Ole Amundsen, KVCOG’s executive director, spoke to the council Jan. 4 and answered questions about the organization. Amundsen said KVCOG has a membership of 50 municipalities in Somerset and Kennebec counties, as well as several towns in Waldo County. In response to a question from Councilor Thomas Klepach, D-Ward 3, Amundsen said he does not know the exact date Waterville left KVCOG, but it has been at least a decade.

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Councilor Rebecca Green, D-Ward 4, said officials were pleased with the services KVCOG provided as facilitator at the recent Waterville Housing Conference held at The Elm. She asked what initiatives KVCOG is working on with member municipalities.

Amundsen said routinely, KVCOG organizes grant opportunities for economic development efforts and does a comprehensive economic development plan for the entire region every five years; it is working on one now. Having membership municipalities helps KVCOG leverage matching federal dollars, according to Amundsen.

“The more match we are able to put up, the more we’re able to draw into this area,” he said.

KVCOG, which has seven employees and is located in Fairfield, is working on master comprehensive plans for Jackman and Readfield; it also is working with municipalities on the challenge of code enforcement officer shortages, he said.

KVCOG has been busy over the last year, helping communities during the pandemic and making crucial loans to startup businesses, according to Amundsen, who said the organization also is working on a wide range of transportation planning projects.

In other matters Tuesday, councilors are scheduled to consider a final vote to create a new mixed-use zone to allow specified commercial uses and apartments in a strip along the west side of College Avenue; accept a gift of rope tow equipment and accessories from Friends of Quarry Road; establish a historic preservation committee; and amend the lease agreement between the city and Waterville Opera House Improvement Association.

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