LEWISTON – Councilors-elect and Mayor Larry Gilbert won’t go north for a retreat due to concerns about costs.

They’ll still gather sometime before the year’s end to discuss city issues, council rules and to get to know each other.

“Whatever it is we end up doing, it will be local and will have very little, if any, costs,” said City Administrator Jim Bennett. “It’s still important to meet, because they have a lot of issues they’ll have to work through.”

The city had reserved space at the Lucerne Inn, outside Bangor in Dedham, on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, for a strategic planning session with a professional moderator.

“But a few members of the new council were concerned about the cost – or the appearance of cost,” Bennett said. He would not say how much the weekend would have cost.

“It was very affordable,” he said. “But there was a concern about the appearance of spending money. This council is anticipating making some difficult financial decisions in the next six months, and we want to see if there is a way to accomplish this, a planning session, with fewer resources used.”

Voters elected an entirely new City Council earlier this month, and that group will take its oath of office in January. New councilors are Thomas Peters II in Ward 1; Nelson Peters in Ward 2; Larry Poulin in Ward 3; Denis Theriault in Ward 4; Tina Bailey in Ward 5; Elizabeth Dube in Ward 6; and Robert Reed in Ward 7.

“It’s going to be very important for them to be as familiar as possible with each other, and with the job,” Bennett said. “They will begin making decisions about the budget 60 to 90 days after they are sworn in.”

Councilors last went on a weekend retreat in February 2000, when then-Mayor Kaileigh Tara brought newly seated councilors to Damariscotta Lake for a weekend of strategic planning.

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