Link to the PDF file containing the list of proposed TIF funding, projects and donations
The total being proposed from the three different TIF funds is $1,176,180.00.
The Covered Pedestrian Bridge is on that list of proposed spending. So is the Beach Shuttle (Shoreline Explorer entry), which voters have already defeated twice. There is also a listing for the proposed Trolley and Train Stops grant program matching funding.
Also included, another whole section of Downtown Enhancement, for Route One south this time. Then we have Marketing Materials (brochures?), grant writing; posies galore ($10K for the turnpike medians;, $5,300 for those geraniums); new banners, and all manner of new spending gimcracks.
Residents should read this information carefully, because the BOS does have the authority to spend the TIF money WITHOUT voter approval. That doesn't mean they will do so, but better to be informed now, than surprised later.
The TIF funding list starts on page 3 of the file above. The first two pages explain the finances, both current and projected, of the three different districts. (pay attention to the word 'projected' - TIF funds are not guaranteed).
As always, if you have any comments or questions after reading the information, please send the BOS and the town administration a respectful email. Many times during meetings, various board members have asked for citizen input, and they really do want to hear what you think. So, please take a minute, and send them your input!
firstname.lastname@example.org (Town Manager, Barry Tibbetts)
email@example.com (Finance Director, Joel Downs)
if you want to read the entire budget, you can find the PDF files for all departments and items here:
"Costin lodged a strenuous objection to the proposed Chamber donation, citing their link to the state and national chambers, which, according to him, have become "politicized" and quasi-"Republican" entities"
I can't say anything nice so I will not comment.....
The local Chamber cannot be said to be a "quasi-Republican entity," far from it. Costin is correct, however, with the rest of his argument.
The state chamber is not a quasi republican entity either.
Costin's allegation was that if the local chamber is affiliated with the national and state chambers (ie, has memberships in those entities), then ipso facto, the local chamber is a Republican organization.
Even if it were (which I don't believe is true), I'd rather see my money go to the chamber, than to the MMA. That goes for the Beach Shuttle (aka Empty Ethanol Wagon), the Posies/Pergola/Pedestrian Bridge, and some of the other suggested uses on the TIF Gimme List.
Let's face it - there's likely something in the town budget that would meet with a "meh" from any given resident. That's Democracy, kind of like free speech, or voting rights.
For instance - last night, Costin made another suggestion, to replace the former Social Services position. To that end, he handed out a list of proposed cuts in other budget items, to pay for the position. He didn't get to read much of the list, as the BOS chair asked him to make a motion on the position first, and he didn't get a second on his motion.
However, one of the first proposed cuts he read was to reconsider the defeated attempt to decommission $24K annually in street lights. Clearly, he feels that's an expense we could live without. As we saw during that discussion, the BOS and many residents felt otherwise.
So, I guess my point is that there's always going to be Something to Make Us Go "Meh."
So, I guess my point is that there's always going to be Something to Make Us Go "Meh."
Agreed. I am however weary of Johns use of the word republican as a pejorative. He needs to stop being so tribal.
"Republican" is a pejorative in Mr. Costin's world, which is entirely too large. He needs to stop campaigning for his wife, as well. Chivalry may not be dead, but it is getting tedious.
Covered bridge proposal to get public airing
February 17, 2011 2:00 AM
KENNEBUNK —... covered bridge for downtown will be discussed at ... meeting Feb. 22,...
... (to discuss) ..cost of purchasing and transporting a covered bridge (from)... Dover, N.H. Tibbetts said he'll present those figures ... at the meeting.
... Tibbetts ... did include a possible one-time expense of $75,000 (in) ...(TIF)... funds for the Fiscal Year 2012 ... for transportation and installation of one covered pedestrian bridge.
The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. on the third floor of Town Hall.
Abutters Beware - if you want input on this project, now is the time. Do not fail to attend the meeting and voice your concerns, and/or write a letter to the BOS and town manager.
Otherwise, you may well find your homes, and your quality of life, permanently impacted by a project that doesn't fit with your neighborhood.
It should also be noted that the $75K TIF figure is very preliminary, and doesn't include any cost to purchase the bridge. Dover spent $192K on that bridge, and I doubt they're anxious to simply give it away. Myself, I believe the total project would cost more in the $400K range, when all is said and done.
One can only hope that this ridiculous idea has a short life-span with the Selectmen. My hair hurts just thinking about this.
I agree with you - the proposed plans are plain wrongheaded, from many angles. If the neighborhood weren't full of longtime homes right next to the proposed location, and the street weren't already difficult to maneuver from a traffic/parking aspect, this project might make sense. Given those factors, I think it's unwise, and worse, totally unfair to the abutters.
If the town administration is determined to make this project happen, why not locate it right down the the street, at the existing Rogers' Pond park? There's a large parking lot right there, a covered structure with picnic tables and benches, and plenty of space for folks to congregate.
The bridge could span the river at that location, and dead-end on the other side. Folks could walk out onto the bridge, enjoy the breeze and the view, fish if they wanted to, and then walk back over to the existing park.
First and foremost, this version of the plan wouldn't unfairly impact the homes further up Water Street, who don't deserve the disruption. Second, it would take advantage of an existing municipal facility, and improve it immensely, into the bargain.
Why doesn't something like this occur to the folks at town hall? Would it make too much common sense?
If the value of such an effort cannot be quantified, it should be defeated.
That kind of thinking would make a nice change, wouldn't it? Instead of empty beach buses, banners, bump-outs and geraniums, and to heck with whether they're really needed, or worth the money.
The largest objection I foresee to the Rogers' Pond location will be "Oh, but the tourists wouldn't be able to see it from Route One, as they pass into town!"
Since I can see that objection coming, here's the response --> that's what signage is for.
In fact, we have an expensive master traffic/parking plan that says so (the Stantec plan we paid for, about 5 years ago).
All of the downtown improvement efforts, ideas and dollars have a noble intent (I guess). There are really no data to demonstrate their value, so the hoped-for outcome is based upon feelings or opinions. It is my opinion that, in the end, after adding millions in pavers, bridges, lighted waterfalls, etc. we are still left with downtown Kennebunk. Not that it is so bad, but it will never become a "destination."
There are many who agree with you, FLNext. We can make it a very pretty place to pass through on the way to Dock Square, that's for sure. A lovely thoroughfare to view, on the way to the beach. But, absent folks standing on street corners handing out money, our Downtown is never going to be "the" destination for Southern Maine.
Regardless, that reality doesn't seem to stop certain Empire Builders from coming up with new ways to spend all that TIF money.
Kennebunk Budget Board, selectmen sign off on $6.8 million budget
By Laura Dolce
February 17, 2011 2:00 AM
... Kennebunk Police Department... (cut) six full-time and one part-time employee(s) ...
.... positions and funds (added) to Kennebunk Fire Rescue.
... $92,000 increase...for ... EMS ...supervisor ... (on) .ambulance side ...and increase funds ...for per diem employees on the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift.
... 2,778 ambulance calls in 2010, 545 of which were non-emergency transfers. ...
While Tibbetts said the town is not looking to expand its private transfer services, it is looking to dedicate more resources to them.
I don't believe the town administration has abandoned their attempts to expand the routine transfer service. We're purchasing another ambulance and adding a staff position, as well as more money for per diem staff. The call to expand the routine transfers will be back.
RSU 21 Cost Sharing Committee close to agreement
Future district debts could see funding shift from Kennebunk, Arundel to Kennebunkport
KENNEBUNK — ...Committee may ... (have)... solution to a funding "glitch" ...(and) how ... future debt will be shared by the... towns.
... proposed ...agreement calls for new debt service... based 100 percent on property value and ..disputed debt .. divided equally between Kennebunk and Kennebunkport.
.... Kennebunk member John Sharood said ... language would... give each town... control over its elementary school.
...Sharood said. "If the board votes to close a school and voters of that town vote against it, it stays open."
That's just great. Don't support the clear and present necessity to close a facility. To heck with plummeting enrollments, and burgeoning budgets and bonding.
Hey, teen drivers — I'm talking to you
By Laura Dolce
February 17, 2011 2:00 AM
I love teenagers.
But as much as I love teenagers, I really hate teen drivers.
I know, I know. Not all teenagers are bad drivers.... My oldest daughter, now 20, is a terrific driver and I know a lot of other teens who are responsible and mature behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, I've seen plenty of others who should consider parking their vehicles ASAP and maybe riding their bikes from now on.
When I lived on Ross Road near the high school, I could always tell when school let out. The speeding cars passing my house at 50 mph, 60 (and sometimes 70) were a sure sign. Like Ms. Dolce, I've also been aggressively tailgated by teen drivers in the area near the high school, and seen a couple drive up onto neighboring lawns to pass me, while I was waiting to turn into my driveway from the road.
Kennebunk's "Bridge to Nowhere"
The next discussion of the proposed Water St. bridge project is set for the BOS meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 pm.
The BOS will hear a presentation from the town manager, and discuss the project. How much will this proposal be? $125k? $250K? $400K?
Will those Magical, Inexhaustible TIF funds once again be proffered as the solution to the spending question?
Other Items of Interest:
-- RFP for the sale of the Mobil Station property.
-- Chase Hill Road; decisions on travel direction and road access.
-- Lower Village improvements; to come from the LV TIF fund.
-- Route 9/Clayhill Bridge replacement.
-- Form a Dispatch/Communications Selectmen Subcommittee.
-- Discussion of letters from the BOS to the RSU 21 board, on TAMS buyout election date and MSK roof issues.
As always, you may read the entire agenda and backup materials at www.kennebunkmaine.us
The meeting will be broadcast (and repeated) on cable channel 5, or on www.townhallstreams.com
Kennebunkport BOS - Cost-Sharing Formula Meeting
The *Port* board recently discussed the options being presented by the RSU 21 Cost-Sharing Committee. The Port BOS meeting, from Feb. 10th, can be seen online, at www.townhallstreams.com
Enter "04046" in the selection box, to find the list of Port meetings on the site. Look for the 2/10 meeting.
Here's a synopsis of the discussion on the funding formula proposals, sent to me by an interested reader:
"Please see the replay of the Kennebunkport Selectmen Meeting of February 10th. IIt is the most intelligent, revealing, willing-to-compromise discussion of the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport school cost sharing formula.
Larry Mead has got to be the most intelligent Town Manager in the State. Stuart Barwise was fantastic when trying to sell the Board on Option C, which is one of the 3 options that Special Cost-Sharing Committee has come up with. The well-deserved "reputation" of Kennebunk was discussed at great length. The Port rightly has a very nasty taste in its mouth when discussing Kennebunk's behavior with funding issues over the last 4 years.
Larry Mead and Stuart Barwise had a difficult time selling Option C, as Sheila Matthews and Matt Lanigan cannot even tolerate the idea of once again compromising, but the hard sell was "if you do not support Option C, any renovations to Consolidated & Mildred Day along with the High School will never pass. The folks in Kennebunk will not vote for this bond unless we compromise on the past debt issue."
The discussion is at the end of the meeting and they will vote on whether the Port Selectmen will support Options A, B, or C on March 24th. Option C was suggested by the Arundel representatives on the Committee.
Option C is more than fair, and Kennebunkers should appreciate the Port's compromise "once again." The entire Port Board agreed that if this issue just involved Kennebunk.they would stand firm, but they have no issues with Arundel."
-- FROM A READER
Letter to RSU 21 Board
Superintendent Andrew Dolloff
cc. Kennebunk Selectmen
cc. Kennebunk Town Manager
Clarification of Terms
In recent school board deliberations, a term has been used several times, on which I'd appreciate some clarification.
Specifically - the comment has been made that we need to bond and spend money, not just for repairs, but in order to "bring our schools into the 21st Century."
That statement was made most recently by Tim Hussey, during a regular school board meeting. I have also heard it mentioned during previous meetings.
Could someone from the RSU board or administration please explain to me, exactly what does that term mean? It's easy to use certain words, but I think we need a definition.
It's my understanding that we already have an excellent school district IT department. We also have many different forms of technology equipment, in every one of the district schools. To include laptops, Smart Boards, computers, internet service, and likely many more features of which the general public is unaware.
What, precisely, is it that some RSU board members feel is currently lacking, in making the determination that our schools don't meet supposed "21st Century" requirements?
On what is that determination being based?
Since it appears this rationale is being used to support bonding that includes far more than basic renovation and repairs, I think the public deserves a clear definition of that term, going forward.
Also, if there is independent criteria that would support a finding that our schools do not meet that "standard," I would appreciate a link, and some supporting information.
Note - I've had no response to the letter I sent to the RSU 21 board and administration, above. Could this be the real answer? They want new facilities and bells/whistles to compete with Thornton Academy (and other districts) for enrollment numbers. In particular, from Arundel. (Which, of course, wouldn't be kosher for them to state in an upfront manner). That's what I think - somebody will have to prove me wrong.
With regard to other issues ---
DING DONG, THE BRIDGE IS DEAD.... Wicked Bridge; the Bridge is Dead.
(Sorry; I couldn't resist....).
Thanks to all those who wrote to the selectmen and town manager, and made their opinions known on the "Bridge to Nowhere" project. Last night, the BOS said "no thanks" to any further discussion on the issue.
Turns out the bridge transport alone would have cost $125K, so the town manager said he'd rather keep that TIF money for "other projects," * and drop the proposal.
The TM, along with several BOS members, is still blaming the Post reporter for the hullabaloo over the project proposal. This is the second time the TM and some BOS members have implicated the Post reporter, who wrote an article on the bridge project some weeks ago (complete with quotes from the town manager and a former BOS member).
Myself, I think the accusations against her are pretty unfortunate. She's not in a position to dispute the charges being made against her, and I think the negative comments are unfair. Unless the TM and others are prepared to say she made it all up, a quick read through the article says this project was indeed something the town manager wanted.
Last night, Chairman Al Searles asked resident Ed Karytko why Ed "seemed to think" the bridge issue was a big deal, and why Ed (and other residents) might think the BOS had any firm plans to make this project happen. Al kind of put Ed K. on the spot with the question. Since Ed was too polite to tell the truth, I'll do it for him --- the answer is "history."
The reason voters in this town get concerned when they hear about expensive projects like the bridge, is because of things like the repeated, failed Park St. school and community center proposals; the WK fire station debates; the downtown project (another repeated vote); the failed proposal for $500K for 16 parking spaces at the old Trio's location, and many other examples over the years.
As long as we have a town administration that cannot be trusted to listen to the will of the voters, and keeps bringing back failed proposals and expensive projects, we will remain on "high alert." That's a promise.
* (the Downtown Enhancement Extension to Route One South, as well as the other TIF fund projects/spending. You can view the entire list on the town website, or by looking on this thread, for the link in an earlier post).
Water-plagued Kennebunks school passes OSHA inspection
Teacher: This changes nothing
By Laura Dolce
February 24, 2011 2:00 AM
KENNEBUNK — A surprise visit by... (OSHA)... turned up no violations at (..MSK)...
... staff members (said)....inspection doesn't look for... molds and mycotoxins ...
... 68 percent of.. capital improvement spending ... in recent years ... done on MSK alone.*
(Teacher) ..McCarthy said ... administrators have refused.. to close the school or (install) ..portable classrooms .. all she can do is pray that voters approve the funding.
"I hope the referendum gets passed," she said. "If that doesn't get passed, we're in trouble."
If the teachers want the bond passed to fix MSK, they should ask the school board to schedule the vote in June, with the town referendum. The Kennebunk selectmen have asked the RSU board the same, only to be refused.
The June referendum would offer absentee balloting, and would draw the largest number of voters. The May school budget election will not offer absentee balloting.
Since the RSU budget represents the largest portion of our property tax bills (about 73% in Kennebunk and Arundel), it's only fair that such expensive proposals be decided by the largest amount of registered voters possible.
* (this money likely could have been saved, if the past school administration and board -- including Maureen King and John Sharood - had gone after the original MSK contractor in a timely manner. Instead, the performance bond and insurance were allowed to lapse, due to the contractor's bankruptcy filing. Subsequent shoddy repairs have also gone unredressed by the board, in terms of seeking compensation. Instead, that cost has been paid for by the voters).
Kennebunk leaders says covered bridge too costly to bring to town
KENNEBUNK — ...covered bridge...dismissed ... as too expensive ...snip
... board approved.. (RFP) on .. former Mobil station .. include...developing just the Mobil site or purchasing part of ... parking lot. ..proposals ...due.. by April 29.
..board also (approved) ..warrant articles (on)... Lower Village TIF district. ...add one parcel to ..TIF.. (and) ... approval for $600,000 in renovation ... for .. Western Avenue...
... three workshop dates: Possible uses for TIF funds ... 6:30 p.m. March 15 ... possible Lower Village trolley stop and loop through Chase Hill Road... 6:30 p.m. March 29 ... junk yards ... 6:30 p.m. June 7...
Site Applicant for Route One North, across from Hannaford
Norway Savings Bank is the developer of the 12+ acre parcel on Route One North, across from the Hannaford plaza. They are before the Kennebunk Planning Board this evening, with the initial sketch plan for a four-lot, commercial subdivision. The bank will be on a lot close to Route One, with three other commercial lots to be divided and sold. The final siting of the four lots and the buildings is to be determined.
A rear loop road is proposed, from Route One, through the new subdivision, to run over to the present Keating property. That would be done so an eventual connection could be made to Ross Road, on the other side of the Keating parcel.
The main entrance to the new bank and subdivision is proposed to be located on Route One, across from the Hannaford's main entrance. The PB suggested that any drive-through for the bank be located on the back side of the building, furthest away from Route One.
Norway Savings has asked for a waiver on sidewalks on that side of Route One, since they propose to route pedestrians across Route One to the Hannaford side, where there are existing sidewalks. If the sidewalk waiver is granted, the Town Planner suggested the developer make a donation to the town equal to what those sidewalks would have cost. The money would be held in an escrow account against further sidewalk development elsewhere on Portland Road. (This has been done elsewhere in town, with the funds to be held for ten years, maximum. If not used by the end of that ten years, the money would revert back to the developer).
However, several PB members said they'd like to see sidewalks on the Norway Savings side of Route One. That discussion will continue at a later meeting. The PB also suggested that parking be sited behind the buildings, and not front on Route One. The PB also voiced a strong desire for design standards to match the buildings in the Hannaford's plaza.
The property contains wetlands; as well as a potential vernal pool. A decision will be made later as to whether Norway Savings will pay fees for wetland mitigation, or whether money will be designated for conservation of another property in town. It also remains to be seen how drainage issues will be resolved, since the property is fairly wet, and new paved areas will add to that situation. The drainage and storm water design will be a topic of later discussion.
The other issues to be addressed at future meetings will be a traffic study, and the siting of the buildings in order to make a minimal impact on the wetlands. At present, there is no information on what other businesses might be located in the new subdivision.
A site walk will be scheduled at a later date, as well as public hearings on the project.
and from Kennebunk, Josh has moved onto cause the same in Biddeford......thanks
Another business goes under -- sorry to hear this. The Rainbow Market has been in that location on Route One for many, many years. I wish the owners all the best.
Rainbow Market up for Auction
To me, this kind of regionalization makes sense. I wish we could get something like this done in Kennebunk, too.
Ambulance proposals begin to surface
Proposal claims new regional service would save money
By Susan Morse
March 02, 2011 2:00 AM
A regionalized ambulance service for eight York County towns would save taxpayers money, according to a draft proposal sent by American Medical Response to the town of North Berwick.
North Berwick Town Manager Dwayne Morin said he was verbally given a figure of $50,000 for the regionalized service. This compares to $77,330 taxpayers spent in 2010 for the nonprofit North Berwick Rescue Inc.
There is a similar deal with United Ambulance Service that covers Bridgton and half of Harrison. Then Harrison also a deal that covers the other half of town with Pace Ambulance Service who also covers Norway and I think Paris.
United has 5 Ambulances for Bridgton alone and 2 for Harrison and those two for Harrison can be used for Bridgton if needed because we pay for a bulk of the service agreement. Harrison only signed on last fall and United already had 7 ambulances then.
Please note - this article (below) pertains to the Kennebunkport police chief -- not the Kennebunk police chief. The two towns are next to each other, but they are separate municipalities. The police departments in the two towns are totally separate.
Kennebunk's Police Chief is Robert MacKenzie.
Kennebunkport Police Chief Joe Bruni retires
Cites health reasons for sudden departure
By Laura Dolce
March 02, 2011 3:33 PM
KENNEBUNKPORT — After nine years at the helm of the Kennebunkport Police Department, Chief Joe Bruni retired this week, citing health problems.
“I am retiring for health reasons,” Bruni said during a March 1 call. “I have things to square away in my life.”
Bruni declined further comment.
Bruni has done a terrific job for the Kport police department, and I wish him well in retirement.
It's too bad that Kport and Kennebunk have so much unfortunate "water" under the fiscal bridge, due to Baldacci's education LD 1 and consolidation mandates. Otherwise, this would be a great opportunity to combine our police departments. However, given the current state of "politics" between our two towns, such a benefit to the communities is unlikely.
For me Joe Bruni set the standard for what a local cop/Police Chief should be in his 30 years of service in the Port. My interaction with him and his department over the years has been without complaint from my side. I wish him the best.
YCCS editorial addresses the recent Water St. bridge project.
Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down
Thumbs down ... blaming ..newspaper... for ... public (outcry). Several ... selectmen ... (blamed)... Kennebunk Post article as causing the furor. ... reporter ..uses words like "exploring" and "preliminary," selectmen said it gave the . impression the bridge purchase was a done deal. .... That ..came from the speed ...the...idea went from pie-in-the-sky to "should we buy?," and comments from ...Manager Barry Tibbetts and former selectmen.. Wayne Berry indicating that town leaders had been discussing the idea ... for years.
York County Coast Star Editorial.
Amen to that.