Government at a glance

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Board: Lewiston City Council

Met: Tuesday night

Festivals and parties

Issue: Organizers for the Great Falls Balloon Festival and the Empower Lewiston Neighborhood Block Party both need city approval for their celebrations.

The scoop: The Balloon Festival is scheduled for Aug. 17-19 in Railroad Park. Empower Lewiston’s party is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. July 25 in Potvin Park.

Up next: Councilors approved both permits.

City helps Wahlco expansion

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Issue: Wahlco-Metroflex plans a 17,000-square-foot expansion to the rear of the existing building west of downtown on Lexington Street and asked the city for some help paying for the project. The company makes exhaust systems for big industry.

The scoop: The company asked city councilors to approve issuing $2.5 million in revenue obligation securities. The bonds carry no risk for the city, but lets the company use tax-free financing.

Up next: Councilors approved 6-0.

Taxi rules

Issue: Councilors moved quickly in June to close a loophole and keep registered sex offenders from driving taxi cabs in the city. Under the old rules, the city could deny a driver a taxi cab permit if driver had been convicted of any crime within a five-year period. Sex offenders could slip by if they’d been convicted more than five years ago.

Councilors changed the ordinance in June specifically to ban any registered sex offenders, no matter when they were convicted. But councilors wanted to look at banning people with other serious crimes – such as kidnapping – from getting taxi licenses.

The scoop: Staff suggested Tuesday banning anyone convicted of a Class A, B or C crime from getting taxi cab permits, bringing those rules in line with other city business permits.

Up next: Councilors agreed to the change.

Franco Fun signs

Issue: The Festival Franco Fun is scheduled Aug. 3-5 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. Organizers want to put up signs advertising the event.

The scoop: Councilors agreed to let a temporary sign advertising the festival and some of the performers to be placed in at the corner of Lisbon and Main streets through Aug. 5.

Money for trees

Issue: The Twin Cities will get a $10,000 grant from the Maine Forest Service to plant trees in both cities.

The scoop: Lewiston councilors accepted their share of the grant money Tuesday night. The plan is to plant 50 new trees around Lewiston and Auburn during the next two summers.

Longer parking time

Issue: Businesses at the corner of Lincoln and Cedar streets complained the time limit on parking meters in the city’s lot there are too stringent, forcing them to run back hourly to feed the meters. The lot is on the northeast corner of Lincoln and Cedar streets, about one block up from the Franco American Heritage Center.

The scoop: Councilors agreed to increase the parking time for the 15 metered spaces in the lot from one hour to two hours.

Lewiston PD gets drug bust money

Issue: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency shares the proceeds of money from drug busts with the agencies involved once the accused has been convicted. In Lewiston’s case, that money is put into a special account to help pay for future drug enforcement actions.

The scoop: Councilors on Tuesday accepted $678 in proceeds from a drug arrest earlier this year.

Liquor licenses

Issue: Local restaurants and bars must reapply for liquor licenses and amusement permits each year. Liquor licenses let them serve alcohol; amusement permits let them play music, have a DJ or karaoke, or have games on site.

The scoop: Councilors approved a special amusement permit for the Acme Social Club, 255 Park St.

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

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