Yarmouth council tends to business

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YARMOUTH — Having agreed to table until March votes on the fate of the Bridge Street dam and amendments to the town’s dog leash laws, the Town Council used its Jan. 16 meeting to attend to administrative items.

The council voted to authorize a joint application with Cumberland, Falmouth, Freeport and North Yarmouth to the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System for modest upgrades to the towns’ bicycle and pedestrian infrastructures, such as painting bike lanes and installing bike racks.

“It’s an exercise in working together and identifying ourselves as a travel region more than it is a financial exercise,” Town Manager Nat Tupper said.

The infrastructure improvements would be worth just a few thousand dollars, Tupper said. PACTS would pay for 80 percent of the project costs.

The council also voted to authorize Tupper to enter into negotiations with Terrence J. DeWan & Associates to extend the landscape architecture firm’s lease of town-owned property on West Main Street. The lease ends March 20.

DeWan has rented the buildings at 121 W. Main St., which once served as kindergarten classrooms, for nearly 20 years. Last year, the council expressed interest in selling those buildings, and several of its other properties around town, but DeWan rejected their asking price of $400,000.

Tupper will attempt to extend the company’s lease for up to three years, with a six-month guarantee that would run through June 20, he said. After that, either party could terminate the lease with 90 days notice.

In other business, the council voted unanimously to issue a liquor license to the Robert W. Boyd Amvets post and renew a mutual aid agreement with the Falmouth Fire Department.

After its regular meeting, the Town Council held an Operations Committee meeting to discuss potential sewer fees, which the council has been considering for more than five months. Town Engineer Steve Johnson gave an updated presentation, which he will repeat at the council’s Feb. 6 workshop.

A deciding vote at the council’s Feb. 20 workshop appears likely.

The council continued to review billing options, but it favors a tiered system that would divide sewer users into four groups and charge them twice annually.

During a public comment period at the council meeting, resident Joanne Babcock addressed the proposed sewer fee and a trash disposal fee that the council approved in November.

“I have a feeling you’re simply trying to rearrange the chairs on the Titanic,” she said.

Brendan Twist can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or btwist@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @brendantwist.