The Lincoln Street parking garage, lower left, and Bates Mill No. 5 behind it. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — City officials will review roughly $23 million in projects proposed for fiscal 2022, the first step in the city’s budget talks for next year.

Some of the listed items are familiar, like a citywide revaluation, environmental cleanup work at Bates Mill No. 5, and initial funding for an expansion of the Lincoln Street parking garage, which is tied to the entire Bates Mill redevelopment.

All three projects were included in last year’s plan, but ultimately not funded.

The annual CIP is an outline for future construction projects and other capital expenses. The most immediate part of next year’s plan calls for $9.9 million in city bonding, and another $13.8 million in bonds for projects by the School Department, and water, sewer and stormwater departments.

Also included are projects related to the canal system and Simard-Payne Memorial Park, part of an effort to beautify the area as more nearby redevelopment takes shape.

For the School Department, the plan includes a $3.5 million upgrade to the HVAC system at Lewiston Middle School, and $600,000 for basement ventilation at the Dingley Building.

Other items are regular maintenance costs for city roads and vehicles. It includes $3.6 million for street maintenance, $1 million for municipal vehicles and equipment, and roughly $2 million each for the sewer, stormwater and water divisions.

The City Council is holding a joint workshop with the Planning Board and Finance Committee on Tuesday to discuss the CIP and the 2020 financial review.

As of the start of the year, Lewiston has $206 million in outstanding debt.

Together, the city and school plans equal some $15 million in projects, but officials will likely be tasked with whittling the costs down to about $7.4 million, or 80% of the average amount of debt retired by the city over the last three years.

The plan includes $1.03 million for environmental cleanup at Bates Mill, which has been in the works for several years.

Last year, Ransom Environmental was hired to oversee the project, which includes the removal of asbestos, lead paint, and the encapsulation of PCBs in an electrical generating and supply area of the mill. It is mostly funded by a $500,000 grant that must be spent by September 2022.

Two items are holdovers from previous plans, which were eliminated due to larger financial implications.

Next year’s CIP, like fiscal 2021, includes initial funding ($952,000) for an expansion of the Lincoln Street parking garage, which is tied to the entire Bates Mill redevelopment.

The initial funding would pay for architectural and engineering costs, while another estimated $12.6 million for construction would appear in a future year. That bond amount would likely require a voter referendum.

Like last year, the 2022 CIP includes partial funding for a revaluation in Lewiston, which has been debated for years.

A revaluation, typically implemented every 10 years, is done to assess the proper value of all real estate and personal property. Lewiston has not done a full revaluation since 1988. A 2006 revaluation was mostly completed but never implemented.

A $575,000 revaluation has appeared in the city’s CIP over the last few years but never funded.


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