(from the
December 2006 Maine Townsman)

Augusta : City officials are thinking about selling the rights to name the Augusta Civic Center to a corporation and have hired a consultant to help them think it through. The naming contracts could run for 10 or more years and possibly bring the city as much as $100,000 a year.

Ellsworth: City leaders have decided to delay the release of new property values until early 2007 because of a quick-cooling housing market. Assessor Larry Gardner told the Ellsworth American that over the past year, the city had experienced the fastest drop in median house prices in 36 years.

Lincolnville: It’s back to the proverbial square one for town officials following voter rejection of a proposed $2.3 million multi-purpose municipal complex. The vote was 681-459 to defeat the plan, which would have provided space for the town office and the fire and police departments. Last June, voters approved a comprehensive plan that identifies the need to upgrade facilities for all three municipal operations.

Oakland : The Kennebec Regional Development Authority won’t be required to repay a $1 million state grant thanks to the impressive growth of the authority’s business park, called FirstPark. When the state granted the money in 1998, the deal required that FirstPark create at least 100 new jobs. Today, nearly half of the park’s capacity has been sold in eight lots, with T-Mobile as the largest single employer. About 700 employees reportedly travel from 90 different towns to work in the park. The authority and its FirstPark project is a cooperative venture among numerous municipalities in the Greater Augusta-Waterville region.

Pittsfield: Fund-raising efforts for the expansion of the historic Pittsfield Public Library is nearing its ambitious goal of $1.4 million, with its latest gift a $50,000 grant from the Maine Library Commission. By mid-November, the fundraising committee had received 24 grants and contributions from two towns, 233 individuals, 34 business owners and 10 civic organizations. The effort began with a $1 donation from a Cub Scout and has grown to $1.1 million. The committee hopes to begin construction in March.

Sabattus: The town joins scores of others in Maine that will operate under the selectmen-town manager-town meeting form of government when the town’s first charter takes effect in July 2007. The new charter also creates a budget committee of six elected and three appointed members.

CORRECTION: Last month’s Townsman incorrectly reported that a pay-per-bag program had been adopted this year in Lyman. Actually, it was rejected by voters, 1,347-526.