Government at a glance

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Board: Auburn City Council

Met: Monday night

Africana Festival

Issue: Members of the African Immigrants Association are planning a Sept. 1 celebration at Festival Plaza featuring food, concerts and a fashion show.

The scoop: The group looked to the City Council to waive fees associated with trash collection and food licenses. The city also waives those fees for the July 4 Liberty Festival and the Great Falls Balloon Festival.

Up next: Councilors enthusiastically agreed, saying they hoped the festival would become an annual event.

Water main

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Issue: A state water quality program will offer the city special financing to build a 24-inch water main crossing the Little Androscoggin River between Washington and Mill streets. The new main will increase water pressure for New Auburn but could increase water rates by 8 percent

The scoop: The Auburn Water District will sell bonds to pay for the $750,000 project. Councilors gave their approval to move forward.

Up next: The Water District will schedule a public hearing later this year to discuss the project and possible rate hike.

Fire fees

Issue: People who let controlled burns get out of hand, start controlled burns without a permit or have multiple false fire alarms per year could face new fees in Auburn. The new fee schedule would charge for arson investigations, code inspections, oil, gas or propane burner permits and salvage calls.

The scoop: Councilors approved the plan on first reading, with Councilors Dick Gleason and Ray Berube dissenting. Both said the new fees seemed unfair to taxpayers.

Up next: Councilors will vote on the matter a second time at their next meeting.

Airport taxiway

Issue: A parallel taxiway at the Auburn Lewiston Municipal Airport will run into 2.5 acres of wetland under current plans, and airport officials need to find alternate wetlands in the city to preserve before the Army Corps of Engineers will let plans proceed. Officials proposed having the Federal Aviation Administration buy 26 acres off of South Main Street in New Auburn from the city and setting it aside.

The scoop: Appraisers set the value of the 26 acres at $39,000. Councilors said it sounded like a fair amount and agreed to the swap. The deal gives the Androscoggin Land Trust access to 26 acres of open space paid for by the FAA.

Drug bust money

Issue: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency shares the proceeds from drug busts with the other police agencies involved.

The scoop: Councilors on Monday accepted $380 seized from a drug arrest. That money will go to Auburn police.

Contact government reporter Scott Taylor via phone at 689-2846 or via E-mail at staylor@sunjournal.com

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