$500K grant for Mexico
MEXICO -- Unless the feds come up short on their end, the town will receive a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant, which will pay a portion of the Alder Street and South Main Street reconstruction.
Town Manager John Madigan told selectmen on April 10 that the funding has been set aside for the town. Now it's a matter upon how much the federal government allots for the program.
He said the design is 100 percent complete and a public hearing will have to be held.
Planned is a $1,234,900 project to replace sewer and water lines on portions of Alder and South Main streets as well as a new storm drain system, an upgrade of retaining walls, roadwork and paving.
From the grant, $119,540 will go towards sewer work, $217,370 for the water lines, and the remaining $163,090 for the storm drains.
The town is contributing $534,900 from a bond, and the water and sewer departments are each providing $100,000.
Mexico is one of 14 towns to receive word from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development that an
infrastructure project was approved. This round of grants came in at $3.8 million.
In other business, following a closed session, selectmen approved Police Chief Jim Theriault's recommendation of William Cook to become the fifth officer for the department. Cook, a former Paris and Mechanic Falls police officer, will replace Zack Matthews.
Cook will begin work immediately as a reserve officer before taking on a fulltime role in May.
Also at the meeting were members of the town's recreation committee, who received clarification on programs the town pays for its children to participate with the Greater Rumford Community Center by Bob Anderson, GRCC program director, and Gary Dolloff, chairman of the GRCC Board of Directors.
Anderson noted that the statement made during the recent Mexico budget session that the GRCC was closing was "totally not true."
Dolloff added that misinformation can lead to a lot of bad things. "Hopefully, we can work together somewhere down the line."
Mabel Merrill, a member of the Mexico rec board, agreed. "Neither one of us is big enough to stand alone."
Dolloff noted that rec programs in both towns take place in buildings that cost a lot to heat and to maintain. "The area may not be big enough for two rec programs."
The Mexico Rec Board also proposed making changes to the organization's bylaws, including one that would expand the board from five to seven members, with up to two of the seven coming from a town other than Mexico.
Mexico Rec Director Wayne Sevigny said, "Many of our volunteers are from out of town, as well as many of our memberships."
Selectman Reggie Arsenault said he was again having an out of towner on the board voting to spend Mexico tax dollars.
Selectmen Byron Ouellette and George Byam said they would support it if the two out of towners are non-voting members. A final decision was not made, but will come up again at a later selectmen's meeting.
Selectmen have also settled a three-year contract with five employees of the Public Works Department's, whose contract expired on June 30, 2011. The union and the town agreed to no wage increase for 2011-12. During the fiscal year beginning July 1, employees will receive a 2 percent wage increase, and starting July 1, 2013, it will be 3 percent.
The agreement also calls for Public Works employees to pay the percentage increase for health insurance premiums equal to the percentage that other municipal employees pay.
Following a presentation by Glen Holmes, the newly hired director of the Western Maine Economic Development Council, the board agreed to begin the certification process to become an “Open for Business” town, as Gov. Paul LePage has promoted.