Monday, April 24, 2017

The Rockland Report April 21, 2017

"Rockland Breakwater lighthouse" by Doug Mills
Shoot Maine Studios
Rockland, Maine
 As requested by Cr Geiger, the Council’s auditor provided the following municipalities for comparison for surplus funds balances:
  o Belfast 2016 - $2,068,254 (10.15%)
  o Belfast 2015 - $1,832,778 (9.16%)
  o Ellsworth 2016 - $3,158,815 (13.94%)
  o Ellsworth 2015 - $1,622,311 (7.22%)
  o Wiscasset 2015 (2016 not reported) - $1,181,509 (6.9%)
 I met with Tia Anderson from Habitat for Humanity to discuss the large number of projects they have planned for Rockland. There are a number of properties they will be building new homes on in the South End over the summer (on Fulton Street and Carroll’s Lane) before moving on to 17 Warren Street in the North End which will be worked on this fall. Habitat has a group of AmeriCorps volunteers who will be making improvements to the outside of 17 Warren Street (including installing new siding, windows and front entryway) within the next few months before moving on the South End properties. This should help improve the impact this building is having on the surrounding neighborhood.
 The City recently acquired 58 North Main Street through the foreclosure on a property tax lien. Sadly the former owner, Ms. Whitehouse recently passed away. I have been in contact with her daughter, Charlene Whitehouse, who would very much like to work with Habitat for Humanity so her mother’s home can be rehabilitated and sold to a deserving family who could not afford to purchase a home through traditional financing.
During the May agenda setting meeting I will recommend to the City Council that we reconvey 58 North Main Street to Charlene Whitehouse and part of the re-conveyance agreement will be her donating this property to Habitat for Humanity for rehabilitation.
 I’m pleased to report that the Allen Agency recently re-bid the City’s insurance and received very competitive bids from a number of providers. As a result the City will be switching providers for a policy that both improves the City’s coverage and significantly reduces our annual premium. I should also note our new provider is the #1 public entity insurance carrier in Maine. I would like to thank Joanne Billington from the Allen Agency for all her hard work on this. She has single handedly saved Rockland taxpayers over $20,000 for the upcoming financial year.
 The Town of Rockport and Bernstein Shur will be hosting a forum on May 25th at the Rockport Opera House at 7pm regarding the retail sale and commercial cultivation of recreational marijuana. Speakers will include State legislators who involved in the rule making process surrounding the legalization of recreational marijuana. This will be a good opportunity for local officials to get insight into how the rulemaking may be taking shape and what this may mean on a local level.

 We have received one new application for Short-Term Rental, John created one applicant’s site plan for Planning Board review, and a Short-Term Rental property was scheduled for Planning Board Review.
 One Short-Term Rental property, a STR-2’s single-family whole house rental owned by non-residents has received their permit.
 John attended a meeting of the Rockland Planning Board, and a City Council Meeting.
 Roxy organized, prepared for, and sent out abutters’ notices for two meetings of the Rockland Planning Board, and drafted Findings of Fact for the applications reviewed by the 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 and included on-site inspections.
 John performed a pre-conveyance inspection of a multi-unit dwelling in conjunction with the Fire Department on Fulton Street.
 John discussed two Ordinance Amendments he drafted for the Council’s consideration regarding yard sales and the use of recreational vehicles with members of the Comprehensive Planning Commission.
 Four complaints were filed. Two were regarding a trash and debris on Talbot Avenue and James Street. One was regarding a dangerous building on Old County Road. And one was regarding unsecured silos on Atlantic Street. We remain very busy investigating and following-up on complaint issues within the city.
 At its April 18th meeting, the Planning Board reviewed and approved the site plans for six single-family whole house Short-Term Rentals which are not owner occupied.
 A new Planning Board Site Plan Review Application was received from Keenan Hendricks for Haven Smoothies, a 64 square foot lunch wagon at 2 Park Drive. The application and site plan are scheduled to be reviewed by the Planning Board at their May 2 nd, 2017 meeting.
 We issued ten building permits. We issued a permit to demolish a 5-family dwelling at 33 North Main Street. On Talbot Avenue we issued permits to replace a deck and add a deck, and to demolish a garage and build a new garage. On James Street we issued permits to demolish a single-family dwelling and shed and to build a new shed. On North Main Street we issued a permit to make alterations to a single-family dwelling. On Prescott Street we issued a permit for a new shed. One State Street we issued a permit for two new decks and a new fence. On Old County Road we issued a permit to repair/replace a porch and barn. And finally, on Tea Street we issued a permit to repair/replace a porch and add a new deck.
 We referred the property at 38 Admontem Avenue to the City Manager’s Office for a Title Search after not receiving any response to multiple notices of violation. This is the first step toward putting the property before City Council for them to deem it an abandoned and dangerous building.
 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:
 10 Building Permits
 5 Electrical Permits
 4 Plumbing Permits
 1 Sewer Connection Permit
 1 Keeping of Domesticated Chickens Permit
 1 Sidewalk Display Permit
 1 Sidewalk/Street Encumbrance Permit
 3 Street Excavation Permits
 1 Short-Term Rental Permit

 The Monday holiday meant there was no Adult Drawing class this week; Catinka Knoth’s Children’s class had the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival and koi kites as themes.
 Katie Drago joined the Library staff, beginning on Tuesday; she’s off to a great start, with Jessie Blanchard and Patty King showing her the proverbial ropes. Katie comes to us with work and volunteer experience in a number of Maine libraries, and was the head of Children’s services in a Texas library. Please stop by and welcome Katie; you’ll be glad you did.
 The multi-generational Cribbage Club met on Tuesday. There are two meetings a month—at 4:00 PM on a Monday, and 6:00 PM one Tuesday. We thank Friends’ and
PLEA Boards member Lea Carver for getting these up and running, and for hosting.
 With Jean Young on vacation, Katie presented Wednesday Storytime this week, with both adult listeners from the Coastal Opportunities program and kids attending. Among the books read: Chris Van Dusen’s Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, Even Monsters need to Sleep, by Lisa Wheeler, and Bark, George, by Jules Feiffer.
 On Wednesday afternoon, we had a terrific crafting program: Wet Felting for Kids & Parentswhere participants had a chance to play with goat milk soaps, essential oils of lavender, lemongrass, and balsam fir, and many colors of wools, which were mixed into a delightful creation. This was led by Donna Lausier, a local artist, and was part of The Arts…for Kids & their Families @ the Rockland Public Library series.
 The State Elevator Inspector was here, and advised me we passed (again). Coupled with the recent visit by Otis and Seacoast Security, we’ve gotten everything in place for the annual elevator license renewal.
 This was also a LEGOS™ Club week; there was no special theme.
 The Thursday evening Arts & Cultural Event was the film, Dancer, which examines the life and career of ballet dancer Sergei Polunin, from his early days in the Ukraine to his performances in the United Kingdom, Russia, and America. The film explores Sergei’s struggles with his talent, as he considers walking away from the ballet world.
 On Friday, we offered an author (and illustrator talk: Author Talk: On the Far Side of the Moon: The Story of Apollo 11's Third Man. Author Alex Irvine and illustrator Ben Bishop shared their exciting new graphic novel, Far Side of the Moon. The program was aimed towards young adults, budding authors, and interested adults. Part of the Arts for Kids and their Families... series.
 On Saturday, Poetry Month Rockland Co-chair Mary Jane Martin hosted the Kid’s Swarm, as we celebrated the Children’s (levels 1 and 2) Poetry Contest winners in this very special swarm of poets. Winners shared their poems in a circle and all entrants received recognition for their contributions.
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: Adult and Young Adult winners of the Poetry Contest, and the Annual Swarm…and in My, Julia Plumb (fiddle, foot percussion) and Baron Collins Hill (tenor guitar, mandolin) play original and traditional fiddle tunes from New England, Quebec, Appalachia, Scandinavia, and the British Isles.

 Held monthly Harbor Commission Meeting.
 Working on electrical distribution to the dock steward building.
 Repaired the middle pier floats, rebuilt the mooring barge, and completed annual maintenance on the Police/Harbor Master boat.

 We welcomed our new Assistant Director and Environmental Compliance Manager Yarissa Ortiz-Vidal to the department this week. With her education and experience, she is a great addition this department.
 Sewer flows through the treatment plant have been averaging 2.5 – 3 million gallons per day except during rain the week of April 9th when combined sewer flow reached 28 million gallons per day. This shows the huge impact that just an average rainfall has on the treatment plant.
 The lab did TSS and BOD testing for Vinalhaven.
 One trailer per day of processed sludge is being sent from the treatment plant to Hawk Ridge composting facility in Unity.
 COPIA Specialty Coatings sealed leaks allowing ground water into the underground pump room at the Park St. pump station.
 Exercised and tested the backup generators at the treatment plant and pump stations.
 Replaced the battery maintainer on the generator at the Waldo Ave. pump station.
 Repaired damage to the fence and gate at the Tillson Ave. pump station.
 Checked operation of the primary and secondary clarifiers.
 Interstate septic cleaned and pumped the wetwell at the Mechanic St. Pump station.
 Electrical Installations Inc. installed new radios and antennas at the Ocean St. and Waldo Ave. pump stations. They are conducting a communications test between the pump stations and the treatment plant S.C.A.D.A. system. If this test does not indicate any problems installation of the new control system at the pump stations will begin the week of April 23rd.
 Removed the #1 dry weather influent pump and sent it to AC Electric for rebuild and testing. The spare pump was installed.
 Weekly pump station inspection and testing.
 Repaired a leak in one of the underground sodium hypochlorite chemical lines at the treatment plant.
 The maintenance boom truck has returned from Portland after having the truck and equipment repaired and inspected at HEWES truck bodies and O’Connor GMC.
 Checked a sewer cleanout at the Berry Manor Inn that the owner thought had moved and broken due to the frost. The pipe was checked with the small sewer camera and is not broken.
 Inspected and approved a sewer lateral repair at 143 Cedar Street.
 Responded to a call for a flooded basement on Suffolk Street. The city sewer was not backed up the blockage is in the property owners sewer lateral.
 The Environmental Technicians attended G.I.S. training at Knox County Emergency Management.
 J.B.I. completed an emergency repair to the sewer main on Thomaston Street. This required city employees to set up a temporary sewer bypass using portable pumps to maintain the flow of the sewer from the industrial park while the pipe was being replaced.
 Met with a contractor to discuss a proposed sewer lateral replacement to a house on Hill Street.
 Completed CCTV inspection of approximately 1000 ft. of sewer main on Orchard and Traverse Streets.

Assistant Director:
 Continued department wide safety training
 Met with Area Contractors concerning road opening permits
 Worked with Harbormaster on plans to improve public landing at Snow Marine Park
 Met with affected businesses from upcoming street closures due to MDOT rail repair. Crew:
 Crew including 2 men started work on Kenniston Field repair
 Citywide cold patch
 Citywide trash pickup
 Citywide tree trimming
 Sweeping of sidewalks and streets continue
 Work continues on Transfer station landscaping improvements.
 Parks cleaned up
 Dump trailer brakes
 Sweeper repairs
 Bulldozer drivetrain repair.
 Transfer station loader repair
 Sign truck repairs

 Attended Audit Presentation from our auditors, James W. Wadman. Overall it was a favorable audit adding nearly $100,000 to the undesignated balance.
 FY18 Budget is finalized, staff is preparing the budget presentation for Wednesday, April 26 at 5pm
 Staff is working on an Accounts Receivable list that we want Council to approve for Writing Off in the EMS Department and the Transfer Station.
 Staff finished up reconciliations for quarter ending March 31, 2017.

Over this preceding week, in addition to the response to 68 Fire and EMS calls, conducting apparatus checks, daily cleaning, routine repairs and maintenance to the fleet and of the quarters, the following occurred:
 The shifts and call division again have been training on hose advancement and ground ladder placement in an acquired structure in the north end of the city this week.
 We were happy to host Rockport Fire Department for their weekly training. Rockland Firefighter Mike Cole taught Firefighter Bail Out Procedures using our mock up. Bail Out is a maneuver used by firefighters who become trapped and have to exit a building via a window utilizing a rope or ground ladder.
 The Lieutenants Promotional Testing took place on 4/12. Five members of the department took went through the process which consisted of a written exam, hands-on practical exam followed by oral interviews that evening. I am pleased to announce that veteran Firefighter Michael Cole was promoted to Lieutenant. Cole was hired in 2000. He will begin in house training on the 24th in preparation for when the vacancy opens at the end of next month.
 I am also happy to announce that Advanced EMT Ben Adams started his first day with us on 4/17. Ben was hired to fill the EMS only position that was vacated last month. Ben worked for NorthEast Ambulance and is currently a Captain with the Thomaston Fire Dept.
 Career members conducted an annual tour of the Lonza Facility on Thomaston Street. Lonza requires us to tour their facility annually to familiarize ourselves with any hazards we may encounter if an emergency were to happen there.
 Members of C-Shift attended a benefit Cook-Out at Hannaford for the March of Dimes.
 Chief Whytock attend a class on ICS 400
 A/C Miceli met with Maine Health in regards to Hoarding.
calendar for week ending 4.28.17 public.doc

Meeting Weekly Schedule

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
5:00 PM Special Council Meeting - Budget Review, Proposed Budget
Delivered, Council Chambers

Thursday, April 27, 2017
5:00 PM CDBG Public Hearing, Council Chambers
5:00 PM REDAC, Council Chambers

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