Lewiston City Council regular meeting

April 19, 2016

Lewiston City Hall 

Lewiston budget

What it means: The city has room in its fund balance to reduce annual debt a bit more, according to the city’s Finance Committee.

What happened: Lewiston’s Finance Committee is a group of five, including two city councilors and two former councilors, tasked with deciding the fate of city purchases, bids and spending.

That group presented its view of the proposed 2016-17 budget to councilors Tuesday, suggesting the city borrow less but pay for more capital out of its reserve fund balances. They also noted that project budgets tend to overestimate actual costs and suggested the city budget less for equipment and contracted services. Any overages can be pulled out of that reserve fund balance.

What’s next: Councilors are reviewing the entire city budget and are scheduled to make their own changes beginning with a workshop meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. 

School budget vote

What it means: Lewiston voters go to the polls May 10 to decide the fate of Lewiston’s school budget for the coming fiscal year.

What happened: Councilors adopted the warrant, officially setting the date for the school budget validation vote and the sole polling place as the Longley School gymnasium.

School officials are requesting a $69 million budget for the next year, a 6.8 percent increase over the current year’s budget.

What’s next: Councilors will vote on the school’s budget in the next few weeks, deciding what kind of increase they’ll send out for voter approval. 

Room for four

What it means: Councilors closed out discussions about how many dogs a home can keep, settling on the number four — for now.

What happened: A Lewiston woman trying to register her four dogs in January discovered a zoned limit of three. Fearing that she’d be forced to give up one of her dogs, she asked councilors to ease that rule or get rid of it.
Councilors Tuesday opted to allow residents to keep up to four dogs.

What’s next: With Tuesday’s final vote of approval, the change to the ordinance becomes law Friday. But expect councilors to consider further refinements to the dog-keeping rules later this summer. 

Color Me Rad

What it means: Fans of running a 5K foot race covered in multiple colors of corn starch will get to do just that in Lewiston-Auburn in August.

What happened: Color Me Rad, a national series of colorful franchised 5K runs, plans to bring its event to Lewiston’s Simard-Payne Memorial Park on Aug. 13. Runners are doused in colorful powders as they pass checkpoints throughout the run, crossing the finish lane a powdery, rainbow-colored mess. Organizers hope to bring as many as 5,000 participants to the Twin Cities for the event, which will benefit the YMCA and the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

What’s next: Registration costs $35, or $29 for those who register early, and can be done at www.colormerad.com.

Drinks and paint

What it means: Councilors Tuesday renewed a popular Lisbon Street establishment’s right to serve alcohol while letting patrons paint.

What happened: Councilors agreed to renew the special amusement permit for Avant-Garde Maine, 182 Lisbon St. Avant-Garde Maine serves wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks to its customers while leading artistic painting classes.

While liquor licenses do not expire unless the business closes or changes hands, special amusement permits must be renewed by councilors each year. The special amusement permits allow on-site entertainment, including music from a disc jockey or a live band, karaoke and dancing — or guided painting, in this particular instance. 

Drug dollars

What it means: Lewiston police should get a share of $16,000 in drug arrest forfeitures for their participation in a pair of investigations they took part in during the last year.

What happened: Councilors agreed to accept the proceeds from two federal drug cases currently being judged in federal court. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the Maine Attorney General’s office share proceeds from drug busts with the other police agencies involved. The money is used to support law enforcement, especially drug enforcement operations.

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