Government at a Glance: Lewiston

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Board: Lewiston City Council

Met: Tuesday

Casino Ballot
Issue:
Councilors voted last month to put an option sales agreement on the Bates Mill No. 5 property before voters in June. It will replace an earlier ballot issue supporters of a casino group were collecting signatures to get it on the ballot.
The Scoop
: Dispensing with the casino group’s ballot measure wasn’t an easy task, according to city attorney Martin Eisenstein. Since 870 people had signed the petition, no single group has the authority to declare the original ballot measure invalid. That could have meant two competing casino measures on the June ballot.
Up Next: Stavros Mendros, representing the Great Falls Recreation and Redevelopment LLC, said his group simply chose to withdraw their request for an option, solving the problem.

Flooding appeals
Issue:
Backed-up storm sewers in central Lewiston flooded a number of basements during a heavy rainstorm last July. Five of those residents filed claims with the Maine Municipal Association to pay for damage.
The scoop:
Of those five, only one was successful. The others were turned down. Councilors on Tuesday agreed to hear appeals from residents living on White, Newman and Bardwell streets if their claims were turned down.
Up next:
Councilors approved the appeal process at an earlier meeting and confirmed their decision Tuesday. Residents who suffered from flooding have until Dec. 31, 2010, to file an appeal. It will be reviewed by city councilors.

Streetlights
Issue: As a budget trimming measure, councilors agreed last year to turn off some streetlights around the city. It was part of an effort to cut down on the $500,000 the city spends for electricity to run those lights.  The city began placing black bags over the lights and dimming them, to let neighbors know the lights would be removed. Neighbors had 45 days to appeal the removal of a neighborhood light.  
The Scoop: Staff has identified 96 more lights around the city they want to turn off, and they are asking the council to reduce the appeal time from 45 days to 30.  
Up Next: Councilors approved both items Tuesday. 

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Liquor licenses
Issue
: Local restaurants and bars must reapply for liquor licenses and amusement permits each year. Liquor licenses permit the establishments to serve alcohol; amusement permits allow them to play music, have a DJ, host karaoke or have games on site.
The scoop:
Councilors renewed a special amusement permit for Carlton Club, 25 Sabattus St.

Next meeting: The next workshop meeting of the Lewiston City Council is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 9. The next regular meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday , March 16.

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

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