Lewiston City Council

Tuesday, Dec. 18

City Hall

Rental committee term extended

What happened: Councilors voted to extend the term of the ad hoc Committee on Rental Registration.

What it means:  According to an agenda information sheet, the committee, which was formed in June, has been tasked to “investigate whether the city should or should not adopt a rental registration program.” Landlords would pay an annual per-unit fee and submit contact information for a city database in case of emergency. The committee’s original term was set to expire Jan. 31, 2019, but was extended Tuesday to Feb. 28, 2019.

What’s next:  The committee will add council recommendations into a “fully rounded program” and will “identify costs and implementation steps” for the registry.

Amendments to policies

What happened: The council approved amendments to the Park Use and Special Events policies.

What it means: In the Park Use policy, the cost to use Judge Armand A. Dufresne Jr. Plaza was cut from $265 to $150 per day, and the cost to use Simard-Payne Memorial Park was raised from $135 a day to $150 per day. Lewiston nonprofits were previously granted an 85 percent discount on daily park use for five days per year; that discount was cut to 50 percent.

In the Special Events policy, a cap of 17 road races per year and a cap of 18 festivals per year were removed. All paperwork needs to be filed and fees need to be paid 30 days before the event, not 45 days as before.

What’s next: Nonprofits and event organizers will be notified of the changes. The city could potentially see 18 road races in 2019.

 

Kennedy Park pool

What happened: The council moved to accept the Public Works Committee report and recommendations for December 2018. Included in the report was a recommendation to move the Kennedy Park swimming pool funds from the recreation fund to the general fund in the fiscal year 2020 budget.

What it means: Council President Kristien Cloutier expressed concern that moving the pool funds would make it a target for cutting when the council is looking to lower the tax rate.

“My concern has to do with the fact that we all know the pool is expensive to run, and we can all agree with that,” she said. “I’ve heard closing the pool bantered around on more than one occasion and I have real concerns about that.”

Mayor Shane Bouchard, head of the Public Works Committee, said he would just as soon fill in the pool.

“The pool is the biggest drain on our Recreation Department,” he said, and doesn’t support itself. As a result, he said, in three to four years the recreation fund will have a zero balance.

Bouchard said it was a choice between moving the pool now, or waiting until the recreation fund runs dry.

What’s next: Cloutier urged caution on how to handle the funding situation and reminded councilors that last year the public opposed charging those who use the pool.

 


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