BANGOR - Several committees of the Bangor council met Monday evening to discuss budget and infrastructure issues.
In a special meeting of the city council, councilors approved an adjusted school district budget... now at nearly 43-million dollars.
Bangor voters approved a 42-million dollar budget in June, but that was before the two-year state budget was finalized.
Voters will now go back to the polls on November fifth to weigh in on this revised amount.
As for the Monday night's other meetings, the infrastructure committee discussed a number of road resurfacing projects for streets like Union, Ohio, and Main - with safety improvement plans to put center medians on Main Street.
The committee is looking for these improvements to be funded by the Bangor Area Comprehensive Transportation System (BACTS). This would require only ten-percent of the total cost of each project to be paid by the city of Bangor, while the state will also pay ten-percent, and 80% will be supplied by the federal government.
Due to the current government shutdown, the committee says the state is operating off a batch of already stored federal money for the program. The repercussions of the shutdown will not affect any of the current projects, but may go into effect as the next round of infrastructure issues are discussed.
Of particular interest, was a traffic study slated for Broadway, a road that carries 24,000 trips daily, and has been referred to, by Councilor Gallant, as a NASCAR track due to the high speeds that are driven down the street.
"It attracts both commuters in, and people leaving the city - so you attract people both ways. You have all these different pieces - schools, healthcare, business, commercial, residents - all packed into one area with that many cars. It's a complex situation, and needs to be studied since it hasn't in a while," James Gallant, a Bangor City Councilor, says.
The study will cover several aspects of the road from traffic signal simulation to access control. One of the major issues was the amount of time this would take, roughly six to twelve months due to the access management group.
The infrastructure committee is looking at more immediate ways to help improve the safety measures on this road by upping law enforcement in the area, and changing speed limits near the Griffin Road intersection.
Councilor Patricia Blanchette suggested putting a new traffic light near St. Joseph Healthcare Park that will help with the traffic flow once the new 23,000 square foot Medical Office Building (named the Cliff Darling House) is in place at 954 Broadway.
Meanwhile, the finance committee discussed the purchase of a new K-9 police vehicle, as well as a new closed-circuit, web-based surveillance system for the airport.
"The vendor we're using has the ability to upgrade the system, but can always make the system work in any way that we currently have there. It's just another piece to the airport that is overdue and well needed," Gallant says.
Additionally, taxes were discussed in regards to writing off personal property and matured tax liens.
Some of the occupants who own these properties haven't paid property taxes in over five years, one in particular, that hasn't paid in 20 years.
The Bangor City Council and the finance committee have taken steps over the past two years to prevent individuals from taking advantage of the system any longer.
"From here on out we're going to hold people accountable for their taxes. We're not going to treat someone who pays their taxes on time, any different than one who has been neglecting them. It's time to change," Gallant says.
A majority of those topics will now go to the full council over the next few months.
Karina joined the WVII ABC 7 and WFVX FOX Bangor News team in March of 2013. Raised as part of a military family, she likes to consider Massachusetts as her "home-base". Karina graduated from Suffolk University located in Boston, Massachusetts where she majored in Communications. From January 2012 to July 2012, Karina was a student reporter for New England Cable News (NECN) and would take part in a live shot every Tuesday for The Morning Show, covering topics from current events to the "Trophy Town" teams.
Karina also has a huge passion for sports. While in college she interned for New England Sports Network (NESN) as a “NESN Daily” intern, as well as the TD Garden, working in the control room for the Bruins and Celtics games. Also as a former college softball player, she loves staying active and looks forward to trying some of the sports the Bangor area has to offer!
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