NEW GLOUCESTER — Selectmen were told Monday night that membership dues for the Greater Portland Council of Governments will double in the next two years.

Executive Director Kristina Egan said the 26 member towns will face higher fees as part of a strategic plan to address operating in the red for many years.

GPCOG’s presentation to the board was sparked from last month’s board meeting when it was discovered there was an unexpected 1 percent surcharge on bids for pavement this season from a list of five vendors. 

New Gloucester has paid GPCOG $5,542 annually, or $1 per resident, for 27 years. The fee is expected to increase 50 cents per residents next year and 50 cents in 2019.

This year, New Gloucester saved $6,742 and paid $5,542 in dues.

“You have just given us bad news, to me your company is double-dipping,”  Selectman Stephen Hathorne said.

Egan said, “We’re trying to put new life into GPCOG that been operating in the red for many years and it’s not a sustainable financial model. I want to deliver a great value to our members.”

Cooperative purchasing, Egan said, will save members money and cover GPCOG’s costs to advance the mission of growing the local economy.

The agency offers bulk purchases for such items as road salt, pavement, road striping, culverts and signs. GPCOG also provides planning assistance to towns.

In other business, Patti Mikkelsen of the Cable TV Committee told the board a citizen group, rather than the Cable Committee of two members, run a selectmen candidates forum.

Chase agreed that the board put the issue on an agenda to address creating a citizen committee to handle the forum.

Finally, the board agreed to hold a special town meeting Sept. 18 to ask voters to approve an amendment to the municipal development and tax increment financing district. A second article will seek approval of the design, construction and equipping or a new Public Works facility at at 611 Lewiston Road next to the New Gloucester Fire Station.

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