City councilors discuss new subcommittee and amend Planning Board ordinance

10 months ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Councilors on Wednesday night discussed the details of the duties of Park and Recreation Department employees working at The Forum for the new Facilities Management Department.

The Facilities Management Department, which reports to city hall, will oversee the maintenance and future plans for the city’s infrastructure, such as The Forum and other city-owned buildings, according to City Manager Martin Puckett.

There will be no additional cost to taxpayers for this work, Councilor Craig Green said.

The council has been discussing a better approach to taking care of the city’s assets for several years. The proposed new Facilities Management Department is the result of those discussions.

“As long as I’ve been around we’ve either had this proposal on the sheet or somewhere below a laundry list of other priorities and I for one am really glad to see this get kicked over the goal line,” said Councilor Kevin Freeman said.

The recommendations included moving staff into the Facilities Management Department, while also shifting positions to the Recreation Department. One of the goals is to promote more events happening at The Forum.

The city councilors will review the proposal for salaries and how they should be included in the draft 2024 budget, plus decide whether to split some of the Forum staff into the Parks and Recreation Department. Three new positions for the Facilities Management Department will be a facilities manager and two other employees.

In other business, city councilors voted 5-0 to approve the amendments to Chapter 43 of the Planning Board Ordinance. One amendment grants the chairperson ability to call special ad-hoc committees as needed to research, discuss or debate an action item before reporting a recommendation for consideration by the Planning Board.

Other amendments were adding the title of secretary to prepare an agenda, keep meeting minutes and most importantly provide proper public notice of each meeting for the public. The Planning Board may establish bylaws separate from the Planning Board Ordinance to govern rules of procedure and civic participation from the Planning Board.

Lastly, the Planning Board may amend portions of the ordinance by a majority of 51 percent of the members present with adoption by the majority of the City Council.

During the public comments section, Councilor Craig Green announced that Main Street will be closed between State and Academy streets on Aug. 17 for the Antique Automobile Association Vintage Tour with the band Star City Syndicate booked for a downtown party at 6 p.m. The Antique Automobile Association Vintage Tour will begin on Aug. 16 and tour Aroostook County for three days. Vendors interested in participating can contact Craig Green.

City councilors approved a taxi cab service license for Shiretown Solutions.

Presque Isle councilors voted to pass Malt, Spirituous and Vinous licenses for American Dream LLC doing business as Pizza Hut at 814 Main St. and TALK Pizza doing business as Pat’s Pizza of Presque Isle at 9 North St.

Councilors Jeff Willette and Gary Nelson did not attend the meeting.