Camden’s Snow Bowl audit results delayed, no decision on DEP consent agreement, yet

Posted:  Friday, February 17, 2017 - 11:30am
Share: 

Camden’s interim town manager, Roberta Smith, said Friday, Feb 17, that the results of the select board commissioned audit of the Snow Bowl are delayed “due to weather and workload.”

The town is contracting with R.H. Smith and Co., of Buxton, to perform the audit, and the Select Board agreed to spend up to $12,000 from its own contingency on the job.

There are two to three auditors involved in Camden’s job, and they are expected to be at the town office all next week, finishing the work. Any conclusions or reports are not anticipated before March 1, said town staff.

As for progress on the draft consent agreement that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection sent to the town’s attorney last month, following the 2015 Ragged Mountain violation notice, the DEP said Feb. 16 that no further discussions have taken place.

“Due to this week’s snowstorms, our scheduled meeting had to be postponed,” said DEP spokesman David Madore.

The violation notice (see attached PDF) was issued after the DEP approved the alteration of 7,028 acres of wet meadow and forested wetlands in order for the Snow Bowl ski trail expansion project. During the logging, trees were skidded down several pre-existing trails, severely disturbing soils, without erosion controls, the DEP said, in 2015.

Hosmer Pond and Hosmer Brook were contaminated by accumulated sediment.

How much the fine will be, and whether that amount will be mitigated by an offsite remediation project of the town, remains to be made public. Draft consent agreements are not available to the public, Madore said, while they remain under negotiation, even if one of the parties is a municipality.

In mid-January, the Camden Select Board voted unanimously to spend $12,000 from its own contingency on an audit of the Snow Bowl’s $6.8 million redevelopment project, which has been underway since 2014. The decision followed a closed-door meeting of the Select Board to address an undisclosed personnel issue. The reason, according to board members, was that they wanted a “good sense of the money trail.”

The Snow Bowl investment was to upgrade the town-owned ski facility, with a goal of expanding Camden’s outdoor economy. The redevelopment has been a project funded by a $2 million municipal bond, as well as a private $4.5 million fundraising effort on the part of the nonprofit Ragged Mountain Foundation.

The public/private partnership represented a collaborative effort by local citizens to improve their ski mountain, where a large community, from kindergarteners to the elderly, enjoy the winter season.

But project costs grew, and the bookkeeping got murky. The town has been close-lipped about the need for an audit, other than to say that its completion is expected by Feb. 15 and the numbers will then be made clear to the public.

 

  

Related stories: 

Camden and the Snow Bowl redevelopment: One citizen's inquiry into the cash flow (Feb. 2, 2017) 

Camden Snow Bowl Manager resigns; Camden commences new town manager search (Jan. 27, 2017)

Tacos, fat bikes and demo skis at the Camden Snow Bowl this weekend

Camden orders Snow Bowl financial audit; to negotiate with Sidecountry, Cold Toes Tacos

Following public outcry, Camden Select Board moved to help put two entrepreneurs back at Snow Bowl (Jan. 11, 2017)

Camden, Rockland entrepreneurs told not to set up shop at Snow Bowl this weekend (Jan. 7, 2017)

Camden Select Board pledges oversight of Snow Bowl spending, approves $920,000 budget (Aug. 4, 2016)

Shaping the Camden Snow Bowl budget: Spend more to make more, or rein it in? (August 4 2016)

Camden voters approve dipping into surplus to cover Snow Bowl's $297,303 deficit

Camden Select Board forms new Ragged Mountain committee to advise the Snow Bowl (June 7, 2016)

Camden Select Board chastises itself for Snow Bowl deficit, forms new committees to help

Camden leaders make plan to reduce Snow Bowl's two-year deficit

What to do about the Camden Snow Bowl’s $260,000 deficit

Sales, revenue up for season ski passes up at Camden Snow Bowl

Camden readies Snow Bowl for new season; ticket, season pass price increases included (July 20, 2015)

Camden approves Ledgewood contract for phase 2 of mountain work (May 20, 2015)

With record snowfall, Camden's Ragged Mountain Recreation Area begins making financial headway

Camden Snow Bowl Redevelopment Committee, Ragged Mountain Foundation hold community meeting (March 2, 2015)

Camden Snow Bowl project up to $8.4 million, fundraising resumes (Feb. 3, 2015)

Making tracks in some dreamy snow at Camden Snow Bowl (Jan. 30)

Snow Bowl to fire up chairlifts; refunds offered to passholders (Jan 21)

Camden Planning Board to begin Snow Bowl lodge review (Jan. 9)

Camden Select Board brings in old friend to help with Snow Bowl progress (Jan. 7)

Camden Snow Bowl to start making snow Jan. 5 (Jan. 2)

Camden Select Board pushes Ragged Mountain redevelopment project forward over protests of many neighbors (Dec. 18)

Snow Bowl progress report to Camden Select Board continues to be positive (Dec. 3)

One by one, 20 chairlift towers went up at the Camden Snow Bowl (Dec. 1)

Helicopter to help raise, place 23 chairlift towers at Camden Snow Bowl (Dec. 1)

Report: Ragged Mountain Redevelopment Project $500,000 over budget (Oct. 8)

Camden Planning Board approves Snow Bowl lighting plan as proposed (Oct. 6)

Camden Snow Bowl on target for Dec. 20 opening, weather willing (Sept. 19)

Camden to contract with South Portland firm to manage Snow Bowl lodge, base area (July 24, 2014)

Camden Snow Bowl project remains under DEP scrutiny, making progress, more work ahead (July 11)

Vermont trail builder takes helm with Camden Snow Bowl project, new phase gets under way (July 10)

Camden Snow Bowl prepped for more rain, assembling working group to assist with next steps (July 2)

Snow Bowl mountain mud runoff causes headache for neighbors, town (July 1)

Camden Snow Bowl anticipates ending season in the black; work begins on Ragged Mountain (March 19)

Homage to Camden’s Big T (March 15, 2014)

 By wide margin, Camden voters approve Snow Bowl improvement bond (Nov. 5, 2013)

 Camden voters consider $2 million Snow Bowl bond, three zoning amendments (Nov. 3, 2013)

 Camden committee selects new parks and recreation director (Sept. 6, 2013)

 Camden considers $2 million Snow Bowl bond, ordinance amendments Nov. 5 (Sept. 4, 2014)

 Camden ready to put $2 million bond before voters (Aug. 21, 2013)

 Camden pursues federal money to help with Snow Bowl upgrade (July 10, 2013)

 Camden learns about refurbished chairlifts, woven grips and haul ropes (April 10, 2013)

 Last run for Jeff (Jan. 21, 2013)

 Stellar start to season at Camden Snow Bowl (Jan. 9, 2013)

 Camden’s Ragged Mountain loses a good friend (Nov. 7, 2012)

 Ready for packed powder? Camden Snow Bowl to make it quicker, sooner with updated snow guns (Sept. 12, 2012)


Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at lyndaclancy@penbaypilot.com; 207-706-6657