Cumberland council taps Edes, Copp for leadership

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council on Monday unanimously elected Councilor Mike Edes as chairman and Councilor Ron Copp as vice chairman.

Councilors also authorized labor contracts, sent a senior housing overlay district to the Planning Board for consideration, and heard requests from residents who want a public water project to extend farther north on Middle Road.

Councilor George Turner served as chairman the past year, while Edes was vice chairman. Edes was elected to the panel in 2013; Copp was elected in 2006.

The council also unanimously authorized Town Manager Bill Shane to sign labor agreements with the Cumberland Police Benevolent Association and the Public Services/Val Halla Employees Associations. Both contracts run from July 1 through June 30, 2020.

The first year of the police contract was adjusted to the average of four nearby “benchmark” towns: Falmouth, Yarmouth, Freeport and Cape Elizabeth. Police salaries will increase 2 percent in the second year of the contract, and another 2 percent in the third year.

Public Service employees will receive a 2 percent salary increase in the first year, and 3.5 percent in each of the next two years.

The Town Council also sent to the Planning Board, for a public hearing and recommendation back to the council, a new senior housing overlay district. The council will have its own hearing on the matter July 10, and possibly adopt the district that evening.

The town plans this summer to put out requests for proposals to develop vacant land next to the Town Forest, about 1,000 feet off Tuttle Road and next to town property that has been eyed for a future public works facility. Other districts would be in Cumberland’s growth areas – along the Route 100 West corridor, around Main Street up to Greely Road, and the Foreside area.

Such developments could include density bonuses, and would likely be built in areas with public water and sewer lines.

The council Monday also heard from a few Middle Road residents and a business owner who asked that as part of the town’s reconstruction project on that road, the public water line be brought further north to accommodate them. They complained of less-than-savory water drawn from private wells.

Cumberland is extending the line from Tuttle Road south to the Falmouth town line. The line would have to extend 5,000 feet north from Tuttle Road to reach the Yarmouth border, Shane said Monday.

The Cumberland Council in February 2016 unanimously approved borrowing up to $3.2 million for the project, and the town will “have a much clearer understanding of where that’s going to end up closer to September,” Shane told residents. “I believe that we will have the ability to extend that contract to the northern side of Middle Road, but it’s too soon to tell right now.”

Extending the line 2,000 feet north to reach Middle Road’s intersection with Greely Road might be an achievable goal, Shane said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.