AUGUSTA — Augusta city councilors approved borrowing $2.8 million in bonds for major capital improvement expenditures including a new ambulance, replacement of the east side Kennebec River boat launch, street repairs and a portion of the cost of replacing the roof of the Augusta Civic Center.

$2,055,000 of that borrowing proposal will go to voters for approval in November, while the remaining $750,000 in borrowing was authorized by councilors, under a city charter rule that allows them to authorize borrowing up to that amount without a referendum vote.

Councilors voted unanimously, last week, in favor of both bond packages, the $750,000 they approved themselves, and the $2,055,000 that would go to residents in a Nov. 8 referendum vote.

Replacing the roof of the Augusta Civic Center is expected to cost about $2 million, well more than the $750,000 the city’s borrowing package has alloted for it. The remaining $1,250,000 will be funded by American Rescue Plan Act funds awarded to Augusta by Kennebec County officials.

Of the $2,055,000 in bonds that would need voter approval, $250,000 would go toward the reconstruction of the city’s boat landing on the east side of the Kennebec River. City Manager Susan Robertson said the surface material of the boat launch into the river has been disintegrating for some time but has now gotten to the point it needs to be replaced.

“We’ve had disintegration of the boat landing itself, and rebar is coming up,” Robertson told city councilors of the need for the project.


An item initially planned to be funded with bonds, but has since been removed from those plans, was $100,000 to be set aside to fund a citywide property revaluation. City officials have said with the sharp rise in property values the city will likely have to do a property revaluation to keep values properties are assessed at close their actual market value.

However Robertson told councilors the city’s bond attorney does not see that as an appropriate use of bond funds, so that’s been taken out of the proposed package of bonds.

Robertson said there has been a slight downturn in property sales prices and is hopeful the revaluation can be put off until prices, which in recent years have skyrocketed, stabilize. But she noted the city is required by state law to keep its property assessments within state standards, as compared to market value.

Municipalities in Maine are required to not let their property assessments fall below 70% of market value.

A new replacement ambulance, at a cost of $340,000, is also in the proposed bond package.

And $310,000 of the bonds would go toward the costs of covering a portion of Hatch Hill landfill to comply with environmental requirements, which would also be paid for with $810,000 from solid waste fees collected from other users of the regional landfill, and the landfill’s fund balance.

A total of $1,155,000 would go toward street and sidewalk reconstruction, repair and replacement projects around the city.

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