Rockport Town Manager report: Storm preparedness, budget season to begin

Posted:  Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - 7:15pm
The “Thanks for Giving” program sponsored by the Assessor’s Association was successful with two boxes of food donations collected here in Rockport. Hannah Sisk is taking herAssessor’s test this week. This is a difficult test that take most people several attempts to pass. We are hopeful that she will do well.

The Finance Department has been busy working on budget preparation. Budget memos have gone out to all department heads reminding them that budgets are due by December 14th and no later as we have essentially lost 3 weeks in our budget schedule. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it forces us to get it done and allows a little more flexibility at the end of the process to deal with storms and other delays.

Fire Department
The Fire Department has continued with the never-ending series of calls that seem toalways be happening on nights and weekends. They are way ahead of last year’s call numbers. They are finished with the annual fire prevention programs at the schools.

The Fire organization has decided to purchase a storage container to store the ladder truck rather than shrink wrap it because of the possible damage from condensation and moisture. This is paid for from the separate fire organization and not tax dollars.

The Fire Department participated in an emergency response training at the hospital recently.

Docks are coming out at the harbor with the final ones coming out over the next week or so. The harbor committee has been working on updates to the harbor fee schedule which will be discussed as part of the agenda.

The ramp down to the Heron Dock has been fixed. A longer hose on the pump out station has been installed to allow a longer reach.

The pedestal move is waiting for funding from Legacy Rockport, which we expect will be approved very soon. The stone wall by the launch ramp which is beginning to lean in, is being budgeted for next year’s budget or possibly done in the spring if funds allow.

The generator is on a 12-week delivery schedule from when the order was placed on Oct. 25 this puts delivery to the bidder, the week of January 14. Our goal is to have everything ready to go so that once the generator gets here they need to put it in place and connect everything and test it. We are meeting with the company next week to lay out where we need to install conduit and place the concrete pads.

We completed a table top exercise with Knox County EMA to review and evaluate our response to the most likely major emergency, a severe winter storm. Since our last table top exercise, we have completed most of the weaknesses found in our plan and training which is good, however this new training identified several areas that we need to work on. Most of these are very achievable and we are working towards that goal. Thank you to Jason, Abbie and Diane for setting this up.

The “report it /fix it” program is proving to be very useful, however we are still havingproblems identifying the status of street lights that are out or have been repaired so all of the street lights that have been reported out still show as out even though they may have been repaired.

We have restarted our quarterly meetings with Pen Bay Regional Hospital to build a better connection between the hospital and the community as well as maintain good emergency planning and communications with that facility.

Police Department

The Police Department has been running at 100 calls a week. They held a drug take-back program that netted 108 pounds of collected drugs between the Towns of Rockport and Camden. Tony Del Vecchio attended the FBI interview and interrogation school.

The all-night parking ban will go into effect on November 15. Officers will likely beputting friendly “reminders” on cars if the weather allows, before ticketing or towing.

Finally, Police Officers in Rockport and Camden completed their annual firearm training and qualifications. I try and attend these trainings and support them in this as it is so important. I always walk away with great pride in our Police Officers and the way that they approach this part of their job. I hear over and over again that they train with the hopethat they never have to call on that training. They are dedicated and serious and I don’tbelieve it is simply because I am standing there. It was one of the coldest days we had seenso far this year but they didn’t complain.

Public Works

Paving is complete for this year. We paved West Street extension, Ministerial Drive, Brandy Brooke, Scott Street and Mt Pleasant Street up to Molly Sholes house.

The Oshkosh is back in Limestone getting the frame sand blasted and repainted because the Public Works Director was concerned about a step in the process that was not done correctly. We expect to have it back the third week of November.

The sidewalk at the end of Pascal Avenue is due to be refaced next week.

The ditching and culvert work on Glen Cove Drive and Hawthorne Drive has been completed.

Two members of the crew have been working with the school to get all ballfields put to bed for the winter so that next Spring the startup time is minimal.

Trucks are being set up with plow gear and wings in preparation for the first event of the season. We have a lot of staff out using vacation and comp time before winter hits in full force so we are not shorthanded. Of course, they all are on call in the event of a storm that would require them to come in to plow.

Town Clerk/Tax Collector

The Town Clerk’s has been consumed with elections over the past several weeks with over 700 early and absentee ballots processed and nearly 76% of registered voter’s participatingin the election.

The amount of time it takes to process early voting in order to protect the security of the voting process is significant. There are several steps more that the normal process that add a lot of extra time for the Town Clerk and Staff. In addition, we had a huge voter turnout, that led to long lines for most of the day. For the most part, people took it all in stride and spirits stayed upbeat all day.

I want to extend a huge thank you to Linda and her staff and the many volunteers that made the process go smoothly. They take a great deal of pride in this part of their work and should be commended for that effort.