Board: Auburn City Council

Met: Monday

Public Nudity

Issue: City liquor license and special amusement permit ordinances don’t allow public nudity, but they only apply to establishments that serve alcohol. A topless restaurant could open, according to police Chief Phil Crowell, if it did not serve alcohol.

The Scoop: Crowell suggested Monday that Auburn councilors close that loophole. Businesses have inquired about opening something similar and he suggested the city should be ready if they do apply.

Up Next: Councilors agreed to review the matter, with Councilor Ray Berube saying the Twin Cities have been working to clean up their images. Topless establishments would not help.

Flag pole heroes

Issue: When Auburn Hall was built, designers didn’t include plans for an outdoor pole to display the American flag. A group of residents banded together to raise money to install a pole near the building’s Court Street entrance.

The Scoop: Councilors recognized those volunteers at Monday’s meeting. They include 84 local residents and businesses that donated money or time to the effort, city employees, police, public works and electrical staff and members of the Auburn Firefighters Local 797 Honor Guard.

School sale

Issue: The city has two unused school buildings to sell, the old Land Lab Building at 31 Holbrook Road and the Merrill Hill Alternative School.

The Scoop: Councilors said they wanted to hire professional Realtors to handle the sales, and they asked for bids to take on the project. City Manager Glenn Aho said six applied. The best bid came from Dot Fernald of ERA Worden, who offered a sliding scale. If the city finds a buyer and closes without Fernald’s help, the city doesn’t pay a commission. The city pays 2.5 percent if Fernald handles the closing; 5 percent if she finds the buyer, handles the closing and the properties sell for $250,000 or less. The city pays a 6 percent commission if the properties sell for more than $250,000.

Up Next: Councilors agreed to give the contract to Fernald.

Open sessions

Issue: Council meetings include two opportunities for residents and other members of the public to address matters that are not on the current agenda, one at the beginning of the regular session and a second at the end.

The Scoop: Mayor Dick Gleason wanted to find out if councilors felt the second session was necessary.

Councilor Eric Samson said he felt the second open session was the most important of the two, since it gave people more time to consider what was on the agenda. Most of his colleagues agreed.

Up Next: The regular meeting agenda will stay the way it is, with open public comment sessions at the beginning of the meetings and at the end.

Drug forfeitures

Issue: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency shares proceeds from drug busts with the other police agencies involved.

The scoop: Councilors on Monday accepted a share of $1,742 in seizures and the sale of seized property stemming from arrests last summer. The money will go to Auburn police.

Tuesday meetings

Issue: The City Council’s normal Monday meeting schedule is getting interrupted in January thanks to the holiday schedule. The council’s first meeting of the year comes the day after the long New Year’s weekend and the second comes on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 18.

The Scoop: City Manager Glenn Aho suggested moving both meetings from their normal Mondays to the following Tuesday.

Up Next: Councilors agreed, scheduling their first 2010 meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 5, and the second on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

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 American Legion, 426 Washington Ave; Auburn Fireside Inn and Suites, 1777 Washington Ave.; Lost Valley, 200 Lost Valley Road; New Auburn American Legion, 71 S. Main St.; New Auburn Social Club, 7 2nd Ave.; and VFW Capt. Frank Hulett Post #1603, 588 Minot Ave.

 Next meeting: The next workshop scheduled for the Auburn City Council is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m.

Contact government reporter Scott Taylor via phone at 689-2846 or via e-mail at [email protected]

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