Calais City Council, January 12, 2017

By Michael R. Brown


After pro forma approvals of regular city business plus approval of victualer’s license, liquor license, and special amusement permit for Just South of the Border as well as liquor license renewals for Karen’s Korner Pub and the Calais Motor Inn. The council entered into lengthy and indecisive discussion concerning the unresolved application for additional funding for repair work in the St. Croix Fire House #1.

Mayor Billy Howard said, “It’s our building in the end.  We put over two hundred thousand dollars in that building. I’d like to see it move on.”

Referring to the appeal from Gary Thomas for more money to cover additional unanticipated costs, Councilor Michael Sherrard asserted, “This is a very dangerous situation.”

Council Scott Geel added, “We should have approved it before the work was done.”

Councilor Anne Nixon countered, “It’s a done deal. Let’s get over it.”

Mayor Howard observed, “We’re going to be pricing ourselves out of future work.”

Councilor Eddie Moreside commented, “We’re setting a precedent that’s dangerous.”

After further discussion, a motion was put forth and approved four votes to two that (1) City Manager Jim Porter talk with Mr. Thomas to settle the price and (2) that there be a meeting with the St. Croix Firehouse No #1.

In other business, the council approved an update in the Emergency Operations Plan, forwarded a request to extend the Downeast/Sunrise ATV trail into Calais via the abandoned rail bed, redesign the sidewalk and street crossing plans under the Safe Routes to School Grant to be covered by already existed funding, voluntary road toll applications, and Calais School Choice Week, January 22-28, 2017.

Councilor Sherrard brought forth a question of discussion regarding Marijuana Dispensary, and City Manager Porter said that since the recently passed statewide referendum had allowed a nine-month window, that matter will be taken up at the next council meeting.

Councilor Sherrard also asked about getting 30 to 50 beds for a nursing home in Calais. He noted, “We could use it for our families, and we could use the jobs.” Councilor Nixon and City Manager Porter both noted problems of expense for such a large investment. 

At that point the council was called into executive session to deal with a personnel issue and a contract negotiation.