Rockland City Manager’s Report
Below is the report from Rockland City Manager Tom Luttrell for the week of Feb. 23, 2018.
OFFICE OF THE CITY MANAGER
- Fiscal Year 19 Budget work continues. The committee has been working hard on presenting a reasonable budget that encompasses a $500,000 loss in non-property tax revenue compared to FY18.
- Met with representatives from the Texaco Car Wash and Lube Center on Camden Street. Our current sign ordinance does not allow the altering of lettering as the sign is nonconforming to current ordinance. Working on ways to help property owner.
- Discussed MacDougal park with Mike Grondin and Joe Steinberger of the Parks Commission. They will be bringing the park design to council in March for approval.
- The new chair of the Energy Committee, Brooks Winner, and I met to discuss the new ordinance outlining the duties of the Energy Committee. New members of the committee have recently been appointed by council, lots of ideas are floating around, should be an active year for the committee.
- Welcomed the new CEO of the YMCA, Melissa Bellew, to Rockland. They are excited to be part of the Rockland Community for years to come.
- Preparing for Union Negotiations that will start next week.
OFFICE OF THE CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- John attended a meeting of the Rockland Planning Board.
- John attended a City Council Meeting.
- John met with Rockland Downtown Merchants.
- Bill attended a Comprehensive Planning Board meeting.
- We renewed 9 Short Term Rental Applications and processed 2 new applications for Planning Board approval.
- Bill did four license inspections, 315 Main St, 252 Main St, 316 Main St and one at 235 Camden St.
- John and Fire Department performed a Pre-conveyance Inspection at 88 Camden St.
- John and Bill 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.
- We issued four building permits. We issued a permit for a complete house renovation on Linden St. Additionally, we issued a permit for fence repairs on Mechanic St and renovations at 15 Merrill Dr.
- 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:
5 Building Permits
4 Electrical Permits
4 Plumbing Permits
2 Planning Board Applications
-2 New Short Term Rental Applications
-1 street excavation.
- 9 Renewal Short Term Rental Applications
OFFICE OF THE WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITY DIRECTOR
- The recent rain and snow melt has caused flows through the treatment plant as high as 15 MGD.
- The lab continues to do TSS and BOD testing for North Haven.
- Received a draft for review of the Preliminary Engineering Report for the wastewater treatment
plant and collection system from Wright-Pierce Engineering
- The temperature sensor used to monitor the temperature of influent from the DuPont plant failed
and was replaced.
- The equipment to upgrade the air quality monitoring system in the headworks building arrived
and is scheduled for installation soon.
- Fabricated and installed a guard to protect the instrumentation tubing near the plant water pump
- Repaired the guides for the belt tracking roller on #2 belt filter press.
- Interstate Septic pumped and cleaned the wet well at the Glenwood Ave. pump station.
- NITCO replaced the fuel sending unit on the JCB forklift.
- Weekly inspection and testing of the ten pump stations.
- Worked with tech support from Horizon Solutions to troubleshoot a problem with the logic
controller in the control panel for the gravity belt thickener.
- Checked the oil levels in the primary drives of the four clarifiers.
- Investigated and corrected a programing issue with the variable frequency drive for the #3 wet
- Placed an order to restock spare parts for various pumps at the treatment plant.
- Exercised and tested the backup generators at the pump stations and treatment plant.
- SOMATEX did the annual safety inspection of all lifts and cranes.
- Completed a total rebuild of the thickened sludge pump for the gravity belt thickener.
- Assisted a contractor to trace and locate the sewer service lateral from a property on Main Street.
- Received the estimate from CUES Inc. and approved repairs to the pipeline inspection camera.
- Responded to a dig safe request on Main St. for Maine Water.
- Received a request for information regarding connection to city sewer from an architect working
on a project at Achorn Cemetery on Old County Road.
- Received a call from Maine Water reporting water bubbling from the pavement on North Main Street. Investigated and determined it was not a sewer issue.
- Replaced the 1000 ft. control cable for the pipeline inspection camera. The other cable will be sent for testing to see if the problem can be located and repaired so that we will have a spare cable in the future.
- Worked with Leticia VanVuuren from Knox County Emergency Management on editing and
updating the G.I.S.
- Sent information regarding the location of the sewer lateral from the property at 696 Main Street
to the code office.
OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC SERVICES DIRECTOR
- Roads, sidewalk & facility walkways were maintained and treated on 2/18
City Manager's Weekly Report
- Frozen drain lines at City Hall cleared
- Completed pipe repair of failed stormwater line that runs past the Fuller parking lot
- Cold Patching throughout City
- Repairs and maintenance at City Hall and Rec
- Sprucing up shop continues with cleaning and painting
- Preventative maintenance and replace of wear items on plows
- Brush removal along Dump Road
- Gas Flare repair at Transfer Station
- Quarterly Gas readings completed
- Pretreatment report submitted and sampling complete
- Submitted electrical usage for Transfer Station to Woodard & Curran as part of the recycling upgrade.
- Completed and submitted EPCRA reporting
- Submitted revised Thompson Meadow Road Bridge plans to DEP
- Hauled Snow to transfer station snow dump
- Park and Main Street Bid Documents are under review by DOT
- Completed Posted Road Policy and published on the City Web Page, DOT Web page and the Public Services web page
- Received Library work plan and repair quotes
OFFICE OF THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
- Business assistance/CDBG. Prepared and submitted a letter of interest on behalf of a local business for a CDBG grant to assist with business expansion and production process improvements. Met with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) staff in Augusta.
- Business assistance/brownfields. Assisted a commercial property owner with application to our Brownfield Assessment Program. This program assists owners of eligible properties by assessing what contaminants are present, and developing clean-up plans. If you know of anyone who could benefit from this service, please send them our way.
- Comprehensive Plan. Arranged interviews for potential contractors to provide technical support to the Comprehensive Planning Process. The interview team will include the City Manager, Chair of the Comprehensive Planning Commission and me.
- Grants. Continued to pull together information for an application to the US Economic Development Administration for assistance with improvements to the Fish Pier.
- Marketing Rockland. Met with staff at the Farnsworth to discuss their ideas for marketing Rockland as an arts center. Set up a meeting with the Seaweed Fair organizers, the Chamber, and Rockland Main Street to discuss the Seaweed Fair planned for July 28 in Snow Marine Park.
- REDAC. At REDAC's request, drafted a potential letter to Council supporting broadband expansion in Rockland and access to bond funds. Also reached out to Penquis to further investigate where their home rehab and weatherization programs overlap with the City's home rehab program (which is currently on hold, pending potential redesign).
- Relationships and resources. Reached out to US Small Business Administration staff and reviewed USDA programs to identify contacts and resources of potential assistance to Rockland businesses. Attended the Economic Development Council of Maine's quarterly meeting to learn about USDA and other programs and resources available to Rockland. Met with the management of Loyal Biscuit as a guest of Jake Miller's "lunch with your banker" outreach. Reached out to the new
Executive Director of the Mid-Coast Regional Planning Commission.
- Stakeholder suggestions. As always, we consider all suggestions received. Recent suggestions
- The comprehensive plan should consider transportation and technology changes such as self- driving cars and EVs so that the City is ready for these changes that are coming; it needs to set the groundwork for a future with very different infrastructure.
- The Neighborhood Business Zone idea developed in the past should be revisited.
- We should consider hiring an economist to evaluate the economic impact of large cruise
- We should gather the strongest pro and con voices about cruise ships in a moderated discussion where participants listen to each other and develop a fuller understanding of perspectives. The group could include individuals with experience from other communities.
OFFICE OF THE HARBORMASTER
-20 Feb 2018 HMC meeting concerning the proposed federal anchorage went well, very informative.
- Still working on Grants for the fish pier rehabilitation.
- Will be looking for more fish pier users this summer so if anyone is interested, please contact the Harbor Master.
- In the next couple months, we will be advertising for dock stewards and a dock master at the public landing for the upcoming summer. If anyone is interested please contact the Harbor
- Mooring permit applications and payments are due 15 March, to avoid a late fee please submit the signed permit with payment and proof of vessel registration/excise tax paid.
OFFICE OF THE FIRE CHIEF
Over this preceding week, in addition to the response to 69 Fire and EMS calls, conducting apparatus checks, daily cleaning, routine repairs and maintenance to the fleet and of the quarters, the following occurred:
- Personnel trained in the use of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). This equipment and of course the proper use of it, is vital the health and ability of our firefighters when working where burning materials release smoke, heat and toxic gases. Personnel train in the proper use and care as well as conduct numerous confidence building exercises to ensure they can work comfortably while wearing an additional 20+ pounds and a mask tight on their faces. Mayor Geiger and Councilor Magjik attended one such drill where members practiced escaping an entanglement hazard while in their full protective ensemble including SCBA.
- On Monday the 12th the FD along with mutual aid departments responded to a fire in the Fieldcrest Apartment complex. The accidental fire was caused by a hot cigarette ash falling into combustible materials and was quickly too large to be contained by the occupants. Chief Whytock arrived to find heavy fire showing from the second floor of window of one of the inner two units of a four unit building. The duty crew from C-shift arrived very soon after and were able to quickly contain the fire to the second floor of the original apartment. The crew had the fire controlled just under 8 minutes from the time it was reported to 911! Thankfully the timing was perfect as the fire was just beginning to re-enter the building via a failed gable vent. Just a minute or two longer and the large uncompartmentalized truss space over two of the four units would have been involved in fire, and this area was not readily accessible by normal means. RPD and the State Fire Marshal's Office also assisted in ensuring no one was hurt and the origin and cause were quickly determined. Crews from Camden FD, Northeast Mobile Health, South Thomaston FD, and Thomaston FD all responded and helped our personnel mitigate the fire and limit damage to the other dwelling units.
- On Tuesday the 13th, Chief Whytock and the crew from A-shift worked with Fire Marshal's Office Investigator Mary McMaster to determine the origin and cause of the previous night's fire. This was a great opportunity for personnel to learn by being involved in the investigation. Of course not all were able to get full benefit as numerous emergency calls took most of the crew away from the scene for a good portion of the morning. This fire was perfect for showing many clues as to where and how a fire might occur, yet also showed why you must question what you see and hear. Thankfully in the end it was apparent that the cause was accidental and related to a cigarette.
OFFICE OF THE LIBRARY DIRECTOR
-The biggest news is actually from the preceding Friday, but it's too good not to share. The 5th Annual Open House event was the best one yet! We believe we had about 400 people this year, and were very pleased that four City Councilors were among them. Huge thanks to the Friends of Rockland Public Library, who did so much of the hard work, to all those who made or provided food, and to the community for attending and for making what we do such a joy.
-The Budget Review Committee met on Tuesday morning; we continue to make progress on the FY 19 Budget plans.
- Katie Drago held a special vacation week Storytime on Tuesday--she read the tale of Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, along with other warm and cozy winter stories, followed by two fuzzy crafts. Thirty- eight attended this comfy event.
- Catinka Knoth's Children's drawing class had as their theme Presidents' Day; Monday being a holiday, there was no Adult class this week.
- Jean Young reported that Wednesday Storytime was great fun-- Judith Andersen had an exuberant group of all ages, due to school vacation. She even had a seven year old ask if she could read a story to the group after Miss Judith! Books read included Knuffle Bunny Free, by Mo Willems, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth, by Eric Carle, and Harriet's had Enough! by Elissa Haden Guest. After the reading, the craft table was filled with a variety of foam decorations and colored paper for the children to construct a collage; even parents participated in this delightful craft project.
- Also on Wednesday, staff members Patty King, Jessie Blanchard, and Katie presented a Dinosaur Afternoon to eighty-five attendees. It started with an interactive story by Miss Katie, followed by a celebration of all things dino. Patty and Jessie helped participants make fossils and dino eggs, put together a large scale dinosaur skeleton, and more.
- On Thursday and Friday, the Children's Room hosted the Two Day Library Art Camp:
- Puppet-Making with Susan Beebe. Part of the Arts for Kids & their Families @ the Rockland Public Library series, these two sessions allowed those ages 6 and up to make fun, fabulous puppets, using papier-mâché, cloth, and wood.
- I had informal meetings with the City Manager, and the Finance Director. I also had two strategy planning meetings with Deputy Director Patty King, and met with a number of library patrons.
- I have been working on the Library's Annual Report to the Maine State Library. Among the many reasons for completing this, submission is a requirement enacted by the Maine Library Commission and "Failure to comply with this rule may result in the revocation of state-wide library services provided by the Maine State Library, including but not limited to internet access via the Maine School and Library Network (MSLN)."
- Katie reports she had 14 attendees at Baby Time today. Five of the crew were new faces, including two older girls who helped name our animals and letters. Favorites today were the tickling rhymes and (as always) "Zoom, Zoom, Zoom." We have a young gentleman who is building up his strength with his love of tummy time and another who getting ready to walk.
- The Thursday evening Community Event was the documentary: Step. The film covers the true story of a girls' high-school step team against the background of the inner city Baltimore. These young women learn to laugh, love and thrive – on and off the stage – even when the world seems to work against them. Empowered by their teachers, teammates, counselors, coaches and families, they chase their ultimate dreams: to win a step championship and to be accepted into college. As with most of the films shown at the Library, this is available for borrowing.
- On Saturday, Mary Ann Giasson led the monthly Catching up with the Classics Book Club, where readers explore a variety of classic stories, with a different title each month. February's title was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. New members are always welcome!
UPCOMING: Hygge for Health & Happiness-- Join Librarian Patty in the Reading Room for an evening of Hygge. Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Danish concept of coziness and comfortable conviviality that may instill a feeling of contentment or well-being and is regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture. While the concept of hygge originated in Denmark, it is increasing in popularity here in the United States. Patty will start the evening discussing ways to keep warm inside and out with Hygge. Participants will have a chance to experience hygge through making a traditional paper heart, eating simple food, playing games, writing a letter, engaging in conversation, or just sitting by the fire and reading, all while enjoying the welcoming and inviting ambience of the Reading Room.