Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect additional action taken by the council Monday night.

MECHANIC FALLS — Town Manager Zakk Maher told town councilors Monday night that a federal agency has approved the plan to renovate the former medical building on Pleasant Street, paving the way to move town offices there.

The approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development was delayed by the partial government shutdown, Maher said.

Estimates for the project can now be obtained, he said.

In November 2017, voters approved $724,311 to relocate the Town Office, Police Department and library from the former high school at 108 Lewiston St. to the former Mechanic Falls Family Practice Center in Depot Square.

Since then, town officials learned the medical building will not have enough space for the Police Department. That prompted the formation of a Public Safety Committee to make recommendations on future municipal facilities and financing options.


In the meantime, Maher said, the town will ask for a six-month extension of the finance agreement to complete the project. The agreement stipulated at March 20 deadline.

In other matters, Regional School Unit 16 Superintendent Ken Healey and School Committee Chairperson Mary Martin presented a timeline for developing the 2019-20 budget:

* Feb. 26, daylong budget session with the administrative team, school board and community members at the Poland Fire Station;

* March 26, public informational meeting at Elm Street School in Mechanic Falls;

* April 24, school board vote on the budget at Poland Regional High School; and

*  May 14, referendum for voters in Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland.


Healey said the referendum, which is usually in June, allows time, if the budget doesn’t pass, to vote again before the school year ends. It also means more applicants are available for vacant staff positions than in July and August.

Healey also said the first payment on the loan to renovate Bruce M. Whittier Middle School is due in the fall. It is about $441,000, with Mechanic Falls’ share at $72,000, or 16.39 percent.

He said construction would begin in March and the first phase, which includes a wing extension, should be completed by December.

In other matters councilors:

• Were told by Maher that a grant from the USDA is being sought for a waterline extension to the trailer park on Poland Corner Road in Poland. Mechanic Falls Water Department officials and project engineer Rob Prue will meet Feb. 12 with the Poland Planning Board to discuss the matter;

• Approved the 2019-20 municipal budget schedule, which lists Budget Committee meetings Feb. 21 and March 7, committee and councilors meeting March 21, a public hearing April 1 and the budget referendum June 11.

• Appointed Meghan Lewis to the school board until the June election;

• Approved the Recreation Committee Summer Program budget presented by Sue Marston; and

• Tabled a decision on the Financial Oversight Resolve with the Recreation Committee until the March 4 council meeting.

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