Government at a Glance: Auburn

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Board: Auburn City Council

Met: Tuesday

School budget vote
Issue: According to state rules, voters have to approve the school budget every year. School officials are planning that vote on May 11.
The Scoop: Each City Councilor needs to  sign the election warrant. Since two councilors were absent from Tuesday’s meeting, the council scheduled a specific date, next Monday, April 26 sign the warrants and formally schedule the election.
 

Twin Cities fees
Issue:
Lewiston and Auburn are currently working to share a local government software suite that will give citizens, contractors and businesses easier access to city programs, licenses, forms and other information. To get there, city systems, programs need to match as much as possible.
The Scoop
: One area where the two cities don’t match is in the citation fees charged for building permit or planning violations. Auburn would increase its current citations fees to match Lewiston, according to City Planner Eric Cousens.
Councilor also considered change the current scheduled for plumbing permits, increasing most of them by 50 percent. For example, the per fixture fee would go from $6 per fixture to $9 per fixture. Minimum fixture fees would go form $24 to $36.
Up Next: Councilors approved the plumbing fee increase. They’ll vote on a the citation amount at their May 3 meeting.

Traffic study
Issue: Earlier this year, councilors asked city staff to talk to the state to research ways of slowing  traffic along Minot Avenue. Tuesday, City Manager Aho reported that one option would be to reduce traffic from two lanes in either direction to one lane each way, separated by a turning lane. That would require traffic studies before it could be considered.
The Scoop: Minot Avenue is a state-owned road, but Aho said the Maine Department of Transportation has no budget for studying the road’s traffic patterns. If councilors choose to proceed, they’d have to pay for the study with city money.
Councilor Mike Farrell suggested councilors put the matter before voters this spring, but the idea didn’t receive council support.
Up Next: Aho said he would include the study in the city’s capital spending budget. Councilors can decide if they want to fund the item later this spring.

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Next meeting: The next workshop scheduled for the Auburn City Council is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 26, followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m.

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

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