MECHANIC FALLS — Town Manager Koriene Low told the Town Council on Monday that it appears proponents of a town dog park don’t have the money to develop and maintain one.

The group would like to establish a fenced-in area on the town’s old dump site, located off Walker Road.

A month ago, Low reported that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection had given preliminary approval for such use of the land.

The council, while it took no action approving use of that particular site, stipulated that the town’s involvement would end with providing a site and the group of dog owners would be responsible for its development and upkeep.

Low said the group has raised almost $2,000, which is short of the $3,000 it is estimated for fencing. She said a reasonable annual operating budget could run about $8,000.

Low said she had spoken with legal counsel and was advised a dog park could prove a liability for the town because someone should be there to check that dogs are licensed and have had their shots, and that the area would have to be cleaned regularly, especially given the possibility of spreading diseases such as the parvo virus.

“It’s a good idea,” Councilman Steve Bolduc said. “I applaud them for their effort but I don’t think that’s a viable location to begin with.”

Councilman Lou Annance stressed that residents shouldn’t have to bear the cost of mowing.

“We don’t need to add to what (Public Works Director) Scott (Penney) has to do.” Annance said.

Low said the group was aware of its limited ability to raise the money needed and would like advice on what they should do with the $2,000.

In other business, Annance reported that the group planning a Community Day met recently and wants to bring back a parade to add to festivities, “maybe a horribles’ parade.”

The group set June 4 as the date for this year’s Community Day.

The council was quite concerned when Councilman Nick Konstantoulakis reported he attended the historical society’s meeting and learned members are considering selling the organ in its headquarters, the former Congregational Church on Elm Street.

“It doesn’t belong to the historical society,” Councilman Wayne Hackett said. “Everything there belongs to the town, it’s up to the town to do any selling.”

“The organ is part of history,” Councilman Cathy Fifield added.

Councilmen voted 5-0 that the society must get council approval to sell anything associated with the building or its contents.

The council appointed Walter Goss to the Planning Board.

The council agreed to hold a special meeting Feb. 8 to take an initial look at a proposed municipal budget for 2016-17.

According to Low’s proposed schedule for the budget, the council will hold working meetings with the Budget Committee on Feb. 29 and March 21 before both boards hold a public hearing on the proposed budget April 28. Townspeople will vote on the budget June 14.


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