Tuesday, February 28, 2017
The Rockland Report February 24, 2017
We held interviews this week to fill the Assessor’s position. Unfortunately no candidates were certified. Because we are in the middle of preparing the FY18 budget the Finance Director and I will look at a number of different alternatives for the Assessing Department. These options may include a combination of shared assessing services with surrounding towns, contracted services, part time employees, etc. Ultimately we want to explore all options, both creative and
conventional, for the most cost effective way to deliver Assessing services to the community.
The budget working group met for the second time this week. In just two meetings the group has made a tremendous amount of progress. We are nearly finished reviewing the entire budget and so far have come up with a strong proposal that will allow us to retain our current levels of service without any significant increases in cost.
The new City website and intranet/extranet was presented to the Department Heads this week. While the site is built we still need to do a lot more work to both update the existing content and include new content. Good and relevant content is the single most important factor in having a website that allows us to better communicate information to the public.
The City has officially been invited by the Office of Community Development to apply for a Downtown Revitalization Grant for the redevelopment of the Public Pier/Harbor Park. Should the City be successful this will be an excellent start in implementing the plans for the redevelopment of these facilities.
OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC SERVICES DIRECTOR
Submitted monthly wastewater pretreatment report.
Continued work with Woodard & Curran on landfill closure planning and presented transfer station redesign, landfill reimbursement, schedule of compliance to Council during special workshop.
Met with Jeff Strang from CES to finalize the SWPPP.
Attended Energy Committee meeting.
Attended Waste Watchers Group meeting.
Working on EPCRA Tier 2 Reporting.
Attended budget meeting.
Traveled to Ecomaine to tour the waste to energy facility and single stream recycling operation with the Waste Watcher Group and other members of the public.
Traveled to Augusta to review Schedule of Compliance, Landfill Reimbursement and landfill closure.
Waste Watchers conducted waste audit.
Attended GIS/RSMS training.
Attended Parks Commission Meeting.
Reviewed the Mid Coast School of Technology plans. We may be able to incorporate some storm water removal into the School’s storm water infrastructure.
Met with members of Rockland Main Street to discuss flower hangers, banners and flags.
Submitted the line painting RFP.
Finalized agreement with state for structure cover adjustment for upcoming South Main Street and Camden Street.
Oversaw backfill of emergency excavation of broken water line by Maine Water on Broadway and Willow Street.
Replacement of mail boxes damaged by snow plowing.
Citywide sign repair.
Citywide cold patching.
Crew tended loose cable on pole at Rockland Street.
Meeting with Railroad concerning rebuild of crossing on corner of Thomaston Street and South Main.
Crews responded to several major snow events.
Ice control was addressed around city and Municipal Buildings.
Crews addressed City wide sidewalk salting after several major snow events.
Preventative maintenance was performed on the two landfill flares.
Crews worked on interior carpentry project at City Hall.
City wide catch basin and drain cleaning in preparation of rain event.
Fixed flagpole at Library.
Crews and Mechanics continue upkeep and cleaning of winter maintenance equipment.
Crew removed stockpiled snow in the downtown district and relocated to snow dump.
OFFICE OF THE CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
John has met with four more property owners of short-term rentals to discuss requirements and restrictions as well as designed site plans for two properties for Planning Board review. We have received 7 more applications for Short-Term Rentals.
We have permitted 5 more Short-Term Rental properties. Two of them are STR-1’s, meaning that they are owner occupied. Additionally, they are owned by residents of Rockland. The other three are STR-2’s all single-family whole house rentals owned and those three happened to be owned by non-residents.
John attended a Department Head meeting and two meetings of the Rockland Planning Board.
John and Bill hosted a meeting of Maine Code Enforcement Officers and they both attended the Public Hearing for the abandoned building at 33 North Main Street.
Bill attended a meeting of the Comprehensive Planning Commission.
Roxy organized, prepared for, and sent out abutters’ notices and public hearing notices for two meetings of the Rockland Planning Board.
John met with contractors, property, and business owners regarding various proposed projects throughout the city, some of these meetings were in conjunction with the Fire Department.
Bill performed five victualers’ license inspections and one lodging house license inspection which was performed in conjunction with the Fire Department.
Three complaints were filed. One was regarding snow overhanging eaves on Main Street, one was regarding egress and fire safety of a multi-family dwelling on Bunker Street, and one was regarding trash at a multi-family dwelling on John Street. We remain very busy investigating and following-up on complaint issues within the city.
At its February 14th meeting, the Planning Board reviewed and approved the site plan for four Short-Term Rentals at 33 Park St, 34 Mechanic St, 224 Limerock St, and 8 Gay St.
At their February 21st meeting the Planning Board reviewed and approved the site plan for a Short-Term Rental at 155 Lake View Dr, and began the review process for Mid-Coast School of Technology at 1 Main St. They will continue to review Mid-Coast School of Technology at their next meeting on March 7, 2017, which will also serve as a Public Hearing and be preceded by a Site Visit at 4:00 pm.
We issued 7 building permits. One was for change of use from office to residential apartment at 328 Main St, one was for change of use from commercial retail to lodging at 410 Main St, one was to demolish a commercial barn/garage at 79 Grace St, one was for alterations to a commercial retail property at 497 Main St, one was for extensive remodeling of a multi-family dwelling on Grace St, one was for a roof off the side of an existing shed on Perry St, and one was for a new residential shed on Payson Ln.
We issued a temporary Certificate of Occupancy for a residence on Bog Road.
We issued three Notices of Violation for abandoned buildings at 38 Admontem Ave, 298 Broadway, and 50 Broad St.
We continue to be busy with various other permits, inspections, and assisting the public with questions. The following permits were issued by the Code Office:
7 Building Permits
6 Electrical Permits
4 Plumbing Permits
5 Street Excavation Permits
2 Sign Permits
OFFICE OF THE WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITY DIRECTOR
Spent a lot of time the week of Feb. 12th on snow plowing and snow removal at the treatment plant and ten pump stations after back to back snow storms.
The rapid snow melt in the days following the storms caused the average daily flows through the treatment plant to increase from 3.1 million gals./day to a peak of 12 million gals./day. This is caused by the fact that a large part of the city sewer is combined; sewer and storm water.
Exercised and tested all emergency generators.
Repaired the tractor mounted snow blower.
Assembled the new intake air filter assembly for the aeration blower system.
Checked oil levels in the clarifier primary drive gearboxes.
Thayer Corp. made temporary repairs to the door on the rooftop H.V.A.C. unit that was blown off during the storm. A replacement door has been ordered.
Weekly inspection and testing of the ten pump stations.
Repaired the lights on the small Kubota tractor.
Replaced the circulator pump for the odor control system air exchanger.
Loaded scrap metal and hauled to the transfer station.
Responded to an alarm at Waldo Ave. pump station. Cleared a blockage in the #2 pump and restarted it.
Replaced the differential pressure gauge and tubing on the scrubber tower for the odor control system.
Completed P.M. service and repairs to the compressor in the trailer loading bay.
Sealed leaks in the enclosure for #1 aeration blower.
Replaced the dissolved oxygen monitoring probe in #1 aeration tank.
Corrected a programming problem with the Logic Controller for the return sludge pumps.
Cleaned the effluent weirs in the secondary clarifiers.
Responded to 4 Dig-Safe requests from Maine Water.
Used the CCTV camera to inspect a section of sewer main on Camden St. to see if it was the cause of a sink hole occurring in the area. The sewer pipe is not the cause, the pipe is not broken.
Checked a reported sewer backup on Florence Street. The cause was determined to be in the property owner’s sewer lateral.
Received a quote from Summit Geoengineering Services for test borings to locate ledge as part of a planned sewer main extension on Philbrook Avenue.
Entered the sewer manhole on Limerock St. at Ulmer St. and cut the top of the sewer main to allow access with the sewer jetter and CCTV equipment for completion of the pipeline inspection. This is considered a confined space and we are required to follow a strict safety procedure which involves assistance from the Fire Department.
Began cleaning the sewer main on Limerock St. west of Highland.
OFFICE OF THE LIBRARY DIRECTOR
But first—a carry-over from last week’s Open House: Love your Library; your Library loves you event. The fourth annual event was a terrific success, with around 200 attendees, who all seemed to have a great time. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to: Rebecca Albright, Jessie Blanchard, Pinny BeebeCenter,
Beth Bull, Café Miranda, Susanne Carey, Trudy Crane, Dorothy Elwin, Nancy Eugley, Fiore Artisan— Oils & Vinegars, Friends of Rockland Public Library, Mary Gale, Mary Ann Giasson, Linda Gundel, Joni Hall, Hannaford, Ellen Hayes, Lisa Ignaszak, Patty King, Carol Maines, Mary Jane Martin, Carol Mudd, Greg Pinto, Ann Rafferty, Rockland Public Services Department, Jeanie & Jim Schaden, Shaws’, Joan Smith, Kit Stone, Marjorie Strauss, Katie Syrett, Marilyn & Brian Trask, Walmart, PJ Walter, Frank Isganitis, & The LimeRock Inn, Deb Weeks, Beatrice, Gerald, Henry, & Jimmy Weinand, Dan Wilson, Holly Young, and Jean Young. Thank you, also, to our entertainers & performers: Steve Athearn, Bill Barnes & Spike Hyssong, and Susan Beebe.
With the Monday holiday, there was no Adult Drawing class, but the Children’s class had “Presidents” as their theme.
The AARP Tax Assistance volunteers were here Tuesday and Saturday; this will continue through April 11. They provide free income tax preparation; there are limitations on what they can offer, and assistance with the more complex returns is not part of their service.
The first of several school vacation week specials was: Dinosaur Day!—kids were able to color a mask, make a fossil, take part in a dinosaur footprint guessing game, and talk to dinosaur enthusiast Jon Wallace about his collection of fossils and other artifacts. Librarian “paleontologists” Jessie Blanchard and Patty King closed the event with an interactive Storytime.
Thank you so much to Public Services Staff for installing new hardware, and then putting up the Library’s new State and US flags!
A tech from Eastern Fire was here to do testing on Wednesday morning.
I attended a meeting of the City Budget Committee, and a Department Heads meeting, where we were able to see the new City website in action; it looks very exciting, and I think will receive wide approval when it goes live.
For Wednesday Storytime, Judith Andersen was back as our reader. Ms. Judy read several books that would particularly appeal to boys, as twins arrived with their Dad and all three were interested in trains, trucks, and other things that go! Titles included Monster Trucks!, by Mark Todd, and Car Wash, by Sandra Steen, plus a number of Mo Willems, favorites with many songs and action rhymes. After the stories, Jean Young gathered the children at the craft table where
they made action scenes with markers and colored paper.
On Thursday, artist Susan Beebe continued the creative series in the Children’s Area, where castles were constructed of cardboard, and then painted on Saturday. This (continuing series) is part of the Arts … for Kids and their Families series.
This was also a LEGOS™ Club week, with a “free-for-all,” rather than a theme.
The Thursday evening Arts & Cultural Event was a film. The Million Dollar Duck is a documentary that focuses on the strange and wonderful world of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, the only juried, art competition run by the U.S. government. This film explores the eccentric nature of the contestants who enter each year for a chance at wildlife art stardom, while also reflecting upon
the history and challenges facing the continued existence of this successful conservation program.
Another vacation week special was children’s author and illustrator Hazel Mitchell, who read from her newest book and conducted a mini workshop on “Creation of Illustration and Story”; all ages attended, including some teachers, and budding writers.
Patty, Jean, and I met with Elise Huff of the Coastal Children’s Museum, to discuss the possibility of the Library’s participation in an end-of-summer fair currently in the planning stages.
On Saturday, Jean held the end-of-the-month Tea & Tots, with songs, active rhymes, and stories - especially for ages 18 months to 3 years! This was followed by playtime with the Family Place™ toys, and a small snack for toddlers and coffee or tea for grown-ups.
Friday was a monthly Midcoast Leadership Academy day for me; this month’s Program Day was the Creative Economy.
(ongoing) Reminder: The Friends of Rockland Public Library are hosting a year-round bottle drive and we need your help! They’ve signed up with CLYNK, the bag-drop bottle return system located at Hannaford supermarkets. It's easy: Get green CLYNK bags at the Book Stop (open Mon-Sat, 10- 1) or from the Circulation Desk, fill them with your empty bottles and cans, and drop off your bags at the Rockland Hannaford CLYNK station. Funds raised will go automatically into our Friends of Rockland Public Library account. And please spread the word to neighbors and other community members!
Upcoming: the Friends are having a “clearance” bag and bake sale, where a Friends-supplied bag can be filled at a bargain rate! Also, a jam session for acoustic instrumentalists and singers—and you are invited to participate!
OFFICE OF THE HARBORMASTER
Annual mooring permit reminder letters will be sent out this week. Late fee will be imposed after 15 March.
Roof repairs on Harbormaster building, new rug for downstairs, drywall repairs, painting.
Pending weather, we will be starting repairs on the floats in the upcoming weeks.
Reminder that boat ramp stickers are available at the Harbormaster’s office along with dinghy stickers, first come first serve and there is a limited supply of dinghy stickers.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF POLICE
Completed final revision of the City Safety Manual. The manual is complete and ready to be disseminated to City Employees.
Facilitated the first round of 2017 mandatory trainings. Completion date is March 24, 2017.
Completed final preparations for the new candidate physical agility test and written test to be administered on 02/25/17.
Scheduled Interviews for Patrol Officer with the Personnel Board.
Completed monthly building safety inspection.
Convened Officer of the Year Nominating Committee and submitted the recommendation to the Chief of Police.
Criminal Investigations Division –
Conducted Sex Offender compliance checks on Registered Sex Offenders living in Rockland.
Assisted Knox County Sheriff’s Office Detective with a theft investigation.
Conducted a joint investigation with the Department of Health and Human Services.
Continued to investigate ongoing criminal violations in Rockland.
Spoke with property managers regarding current concerns about drug use trends.
Patrol Division –
Officers conducted probation checks of residence that are currently on probation to ensure they were in compliance.
Officers conducted bail checks on residence that are currently on bail conditions to ensure they were in compliance.
Officers conducted alcohol compliance checks to ensure that establishments were in compliance with state law and city ordinance.
Officers conducted Stinger Spike Mat Training while on shift.
Officers assisted Army personnel in trying to locate an AWOL recruit.
Sgt. Finnegan met with Ocean Side High School staff to discuss Rockland PD’s response and approachability.
Officers assisted Probation and Parole with transporting several probationers to the jail that had violated the term of their probation.
During the snowstorms over the past two weeks officers have assisted Rockland residence in many ways including, shoveling walkways, assisting in transportation to work and help with moving vehicles that have been stuck.
Officers met with school staff and students at all schools in Rockland in order to interact with staff and students and to address any concerns they may have.
Officers responded to 159 calls for service, investigated 8 traffic accidents and conducted 21 motor vehicle stops. As a result 13 people were either summonsed or arrested for various violations.
OFFICE OF THE FIRE CHIEF
Over this preceding week, in addition to the response to 71 Fire and EMS calls, conducting apparatus checks, daily cleaning, routine repairs and maintenance to the fleet and of the quarters, the following occurred:
I know I shouldn’t be writing this due to the nice weather we are currently dealing with, but the last few weeks have been very busy due in part to the SNOW load we received between the 12th and 14th. While our call volume wasn’t as busy as I thought, a lot of time and effort was put into clearing the snow away from fire hydrants in the City. Rockland has over 200 fire hydrants and after any significant snow, those hydrants have to be cleaned out. We would like to thank the residents that take the time and effort to clear out the hydrants in their neighborhood. Every hydrant cleaned by a resident is one less we have to shovel out. THANK YOU!
This month’s training has been focused around firefighter safety and survival. The training committee put together a great month worth of valuable and lifesaving training. FF Cole constructed a search and rescue maze that ended with a drill to allow our members to work on entanglement scenarios in the event of a roof/ceiling collapse. We learned a few tricks of the trade that will keep us safe and allow us to work effectively as a team. Job well done by all.
Interviews were conducted for our vacant EMS only position and we are happy to report that we have offered an employment opportunity to a very highly trained and dedicated person who will do great things for the City of Rockland. More to come on this exciting news.
Our new command vehicle has arrived and will be sent out next week for lights and radios to be installed. The new Car 1 should be in service in a few weeks. It replaces our 2007 Ford Expedition which was plagued with corrosion issues. The truck lived up to its expectations of life service and
was well used. The new vehicle will add another ten plus years to the fleet.
Chief Whytock has been attending budget meetings in preparation for the FY 18 budget.
Chief Whytock also attended a meeting in reference to the new city website. This looks to be a well needed and deserved upgrade that will serve both the City and its citizens well.
More training has been conducted with our probationary firefighters to increase their knowledge and skills within the fire and EMS services.