A city commercial loan program will keep its interest rates at 3 percent, councilors decided Tuesday.

Councilor Norm Rousseau said he didn’t agree with a plan to raise the interest rate for the loan program from 3 percent to 5.25 percent.

“We have a real need for incentives to bring small businesses here,” Rousseau said.

The loans use Community Block Grant money to support small business development in the city.

– Scott Taylor
Lewiston: Small claims authority talks tabled

Councilors will consider giving City Administrator Jim Bennett the authority to settle small claim lawsuits.

Bennett currently has the authority to settle lawsuits for $1,000 or less without consulting councilors.

“When you consider attorneys’ fees usually amount to $3,000 to $4,000, that doesn’t do much good,” Bennett said.

Bennett asked councilors to expand his authority, allowing him to settle suits valued at $25,000 or less.

“If it’s much below $15,000 or $20,000, you might as well leave it at $1,000,” Bennett said.

Councilors agreed Tuesday to table the idea and discuss it at a workshop later this year.

– Scott Taylor
Lewiston: MMA, county budget nominees named

Councilors hope to put one of their own on the county budget committee this year.

Councilor Renee Bernier is one of three Lewiston nominees councilors hope will oversee the county budgets.

“After seeing how big that budget is, I want one of us on that panel,” Councilor Lillian O’Brien said.

Councilors also picked City Treasurer Paul Labrecque and resident Dennis Roderick as nominees.

Androscoggin County municipalities each get to nominate members to committee. Communities get to vote on a slate later this fall. Those elected serve three-year terms on the committee.

Councilors also reappointed colleague Stavros Mendros as the city’s representative to Maine Municipal Association’s Legislative Policy committee.

– Scott Taylor
Durham: Town to pay to reset cable TV

Selectmen will pay to have a town employee reset Durham’s cable access channel when it goes out.

The job was previously done by volunteer Cecile Kirk. Administrative Assistant John White has taken over the task. Selectmen approved paying $20 to the person who comes into the office on weekends to restart it when it goes out.

The money will come from the cable franchise account. Town Office personnel have agreed to become trained to enter information on a regular basis, as time permits.

– Connie Footman

Durham: Tax lists fee set at $25

Selectmen set a $25 fee for computerized copies of the town tax and assessment lists. The data, which comes in a spreadsheet, is public information. It is usually requested by banks and real estate agents.

– Connie Footman


Tax Collector Pauline Paradis reports that 83.5 percent of the 2004 tax bills have been paid in the first 30 days since they were mailed.

Bills totaling $3,382,168 were sent out on July 12, and as of the close of day Thursday, $2,828,884 were paid, leaving a balance of $553,284 to be collected.

Those remaining unpaid as of Friday will be assessed a late penalty of 6.5 percent. Taxpayers whose bills are not paid by Dec. 31 face the prospect of having their names and amounts owed published in the annual town report.

– Connie Footman

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