Cape Elizabeth council to consider allowing food vendors at Fort Williams Park

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CAPE ELIZABETH — For the first time this summer, visitors to Fort Williams Park may be able to buy a lemonade, lobster rolls or hot dogs from licensed park vendors.

The Town Council will hold a special meeting on Monday, March 21, to review a concession plan proposal for the park.

Councilor Jim Welsh, the liaison to the Fort Williams Advisory Commission, said at a Monday, March 14, council meeting that the group has been developing a plan that would generate revenue for the park.

“If we don’t get this approved by the council this season may come and go and we will have missed the opportunity,” Welsh said. “It is a very important part of what we’ve been trying to do in the park and that is to generate ideas that are consistent with the vision and mission of the park, but also to generate revenue opportunities and to enhance the experience of both citizens of the greater Portland area and all over the United States.”

The advisory commission was expected to finalize a request for proposals for vendors of food and non-alcoholic beverages this week. If approved, vendors will be able to apply for permits to set up their business at the park this summer.

A draft plan would allow five vendors to sell items in three areas of the park from May 1 to Aug. 31 and two areas from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31. The permits would cost $2,000.

The proposal states that this is a pilot program with no guarantee it will continue in the future.

In other business, Town Manager Michael McGovern on Monday presented an $8.9 million “stewardship” budget proposal for fiscal year 2012.

He said the budget represents the need to take care of town assets.

The proposal represents an increase of about $357,000, or 4.2 percent, over this year. About $269,000 comes from proposed maintenance projects and the replacement of roads, buildings and equipment.

The municipal budget is about 2 percent larger than the school budget, which is “not typical for the past 10 to 20 years,” McGovern said.

The budget includes $83,000 to repair walls and fences at Fort Williams Park; $125,000 to repave roads; $100,000 to fix drainage problems and $35,000 in civil engineering for future improvements at Starboard Drive.

The budget also includes a police cruiser, road grader, breathing apparatus for firefighters, and $24,000 in roof repairs at the Cape Cottage fire station.

The municipal tax rate is up 0.5 cents, which is $15 per year for the owner of a $300,000 home, McGovern said.

To fund the budget, 62 percent comes from property tax revenue and 18 percent comes from excise tax payments.

“To fund the municipal budget fully, 80 percent of it comes from taxation, you don’t really have much choice,” McGovern said. “We’re really paying a disproportionately high expense through mandatory taxes, not user fees that people can control.”

The Finance Committee, a committee of the whole council, was scheduled to begin budget deliberations this week. The workshops will continue on Monday, March 21 and Monday, April 4.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net

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