Mechanic Falls gets money to replace culvert

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MECHANIC FALLS — Town Manager John Hawley on Monday told councilmen a $88,125 grant through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program will help replace a major culvert on Lane Road.

The total cost estimated two years ago when the town applied for the grant stands at $117,000. The culvert has not handled flows from Pigeon Hill and the back side of Stand Pipe Hill for years.

Hawley said the town conducted traffic counts that showed the number of vehicles on what was a relatively quiet country road has more than doubled since the Oxford Casino opened on Route 26 in Oxford. Lane Road runs between Route 26 and Jordan Road near Route 121.

The project will be put out to bid this winter with the work scheduled for next summer.

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In other business, the council signed a letter affirming its belief that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood plain map was in error when it placed a building at 32 Lewiston St. in the Little Androscoggin River flood plain. Property owner Chuck Starbird had hired a surveyor who checked the property’s elevation and determined that it was above flood levels.

The council also:

* Approved a new contract with the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office to provide emergency dispatching services to the town

* Formally accepted the latest audit of town accounts

* Adopted a fire safety policy

* Approved a stipulation in the town’s employment policy which makes it clear that all employees are entitled to disciplinary hearing reviews before the council

The council also met with the Revenue Enhancement Committee to discuss the committee’s proposal to study municipal services and the feasibility of partnering with neighboring communities to cut costs and increase revenue.

Carl Beckett said when Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland formed Regional School Unit 16 the total spent on education in the three towns dropped about $4 million the first year, from about $21 million to about $17 million.

“And five years later we’re still a good million dollars below what it was before,” Beckett said.

The council authorized the committee to speak to officials in surrounding towns to gauge their interest.

The council also viewed a three-minute video promoting the town. It was produced by students in Dawnie Hodgkins’ audio-visual class at Poland Regional High School. Councilmen said they were quite impressed with the work. The video will be posted on the town website.

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