Government at a Glance: Lewiston

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Board: Lewiston City Council

Met: Tuesday

Pound fees
Issue: Pet owners currently must retrieve their animals picked up by animal control officer and taken to the Androscoggin Humane Society Shelter. The shelter charges a daily fee for keeping the animal, but the city does not charge a fine or a fee for picking it up.  

The Scoop: Police Chief Mike Bussiere recommended the city begin charging a $50 fee to help cover the time the animal control officer spends collecting stray animals. Lewiston currently shares Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout with the city of Auburn and Auburn currently has this kind of fee in place.

Bussiere said the ordinance allows him to waive the fee if the pet owner can’t pay it because of financial hardship.

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Councilor Larry Poulin called it a purely punitive move, and he argued against it. Mayor Larry Gilbert argued for stricter fines, doing away with the hardship waiver. Councilors voted 6-1 Tuesday to adopt the fee with the hardship waiver in place.

Up Next: They’ll vote on it again at their April 6 meeting.

Campus Ave. work

Issue: St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center plans to do pavement work along Campus Avenue part of the hospital’s $25.5 million expansion at 95-97 Campus Ave. The city had planned to dig up the road this summer to build a storm sewer separation.

The Scoop: Now the city and the hospital are combining their efforts, letting crews hired by the hospital do the storm sewer work, saving money for both. Councilors agreed to the arrangement, voting 7-0 to share costs.

Up Next: Work on the road should begin this summer.

Significant buildings

Issue: Lewiston has a Historic Preservation Review Board and a special ordinance designed to preserve historically  significant buildings. It gives the historic board the chance to delay demolition of some structures and gives the city some say in renovations at historic structures, if the owners agree.  

The Scoop: Members of the historic board asked for some changes to the ordinance, letting the city delay demolition for properties that are on the National Register of Historic Places even if the owner has not volunteered to be on the city’s list.

Up Next: Councilors approved the changes on a final 6-1 vote Tuesday. Councilor Ron Jean voted against the changes.

Shrine signs

Issue: The Kora Shrine Circus, coming to the Colisee in April , wants to advertise on signs placed throughout the city.

The Scoop: Councilors agreed to let the group place 30 signs on public rights of way, on traffic medians and at intersections.

Up Next: The signs will be up April 2-20, but councilors asked staff to come up with rules allowing the city clerk to approve these kinds of sign permits without council approval.

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 special amusement permits for the Derby Athletic Club, 40 Walnut St., Fuel, Inc., 49 Lisbon St., and DaVinci’s, 150 Mill St.

Next meeting: The next regular meeting of the Lewiston City Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday , March 30.

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

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