MECHANIC FALLS — The Maine Department of Transportation plans to replace the traffic lights in the town center and improve the bridge over the Little Androscoggin River in fiscal year 2024-25, Town Manager Vic Hodgkins told the Town Council on Monday night.

The lights and bridge are at the intersection of Routes 11, 121 and 124.

The bridge will have work done on the surface and be repainted, Hodgkins said.

Councilors were also given an audit report by Christine Howe of RHR Smith, who said the $1.58 million in the undesignated fund balance is a healthy amount and meets state standards.

Mike Baird of the town Development Commission said it has been particularly difficult attracting new businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic that began three years ago.

Asked what the commission was doing to attract businesses, Baird said, “Generally businesses come to you.”


He said the cost of advertising and trying to convince businesses to come to the town doesn’t necessarily work in the long run.

Since the commission was formed in 1981, the same year that Marcal Paper Mill moved to New Jersey, it has assisted Maine Wood Treaters, Auburn Manufacturing, New England Public Warehouse and Electro Static Technology, as well as smaller businesses.

Baird said what he has learned about what businesses like about Mechanic Falls is its “good municipal system” where everything is centered in a single complex.

The council also approved using $21,630 from the town’s American Rescue Plan Act funds to repair the garage doors at the fire station and public works.

The fire station share is $15,930 and the public works portion is $5,700. Roberts Overhead Door Co. out of Norway was chosen to do the work.

The council accepted the resignation of Aaron Ouellette from the Planning Board.

Councilors also approved the $1,280 grant to the Mechanic Falls Fire Department for pagers, chain saws and foam. The money comes from the Maine Forest Service Volunteer Fire Assistance Fund.

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