From the Office of the City Manager
December 2020 Manager Report
In trying to keep all informed as to what is happening in the City of Rockland, the long-lost Manager’s Report is back on a monthly basis. The report will focus on what is currently going on in the City and what to keep an eye out for in the future.
City Wide Efforts – You may have seen boom trucks from Hedstrom Electric roaming around the City over the last month. They are upgrading our streetlights to LED technology. The majority of lights have been installed so if you are experiencing light pollution onto your property, please file a report with the Public Services Department.
Four City Buildings will be upgrading to LED technology. The Fire Station and Police Station will be totally retrofitted with new LED fixtures. The Waste Water Department and City Hall will have LED Bulb replacements. The upgrades to all four buildings will save the City roughly $8,000 per year in energy cost.
Finance Department – The Finance Department just finished the fiscal year 2020 audit and they are to be congratulated on another successful audit with no issues. The Audit presentation will be on January 4 at 5:30pm. Online vehicle registrations were rolled out earlier this year and it has been a huge success with citizens using the service. They are also working on unveiling another upgrade to our financial software that will allow for more efficient services within the City. Stay tuned, more to come on this venture.
Community Development – Our Community Development Director along with the Penobscot Bay Chamber of Commerce and Rockland Main Street reached out to Rockland businesses to inform them of the State Economic Recovery Grant program from the State of Maine. This resulted in nearly $3 million dollars in State grants to help 59 Rockland businesses. We are hopeful that additional funds will come to Rockland in a more targeted retail, tourism and hospitality grant opportunity that is currently underway. The department will be involved in the waterfront redesign encompassing Harbor Park and Buoy Park.
Code Enforcement – The Code Office is back to full force as Wyatt Philbrook returned to his position as assistant code enforcement officer. Welcome back Wyatt. The Code Office continues to perform socially distanced inspections so that contractors are not stalled during the pandemic. The Code Office is also working on a simplified land use code, otherwise known as Chapter 19. This project will update and edit the code to make it more user-friendly and easier to understand. We will also be working with the consultant to strengthen certain areas of the code to make sure the language is clear to the intention of the code.
Public Services – Public Services is wrapping up the fall pickup of leaves and lawn debris and getting ready for the winter season of plowing and sanding. The sand/ salt shed is well stocked for the upcoming season. The landfill is filling up and getting ready for closure. We will be starting to accept outside waste again for haulers to finish the rapid fill to allow the quarry to be capped. The quarry needs to be filled by end of 2021 to satisfy the agreement with DEP and start the capping process of the quarry/ landfill.
Fire Department – The Department has been selected to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to first responders. The week of December 28 our own Fire/EMS department will be vaccinated and after that the department will set up a clinic in the Flanagan Center for other Knox County Fire/ EMS personnel to make appointments for the vaccination. We have also offered up personnel to administer the vaccination to the public once that stage of the vaccination plan is in effect. If this becomes reality, we will be getting the word out. The FD is also working on a grant to update equipment in the next fiscal year. This grant will hopefully replace one of our old engines with minimal cost to the tax payers of Rockland.
Police Department – Officers have been conducting foot patrols in neighborhoods and along Main Street, and the bike patrol will be back in the spring. The department has completed a comprehensive review of its policy and procedure manual which will be made available to the public via the City website. The Department is currently down four officers. Officer Daniel Dunham has been hired to fill one of these vacancies and he starts on January 11, 2021. The Chief is gathering information on body-worn cameras and preparing a cost analysis to see if it is feasible for such a program within the City.
Library – Please welcome Em Lewis to the library staff. She will be coordinating Adult Programming as well as reference and circulation work. The limit of 15 patrons at a time is still in place to enforce social distancing. Adult and children’s programming continues via zoom and the library you tube channel. The rehab project continues with the main floor painting and carpet replacement to be completed over the winter months. Upcoming in the next month, a very generous patron offered to purchase $500 worth of books from Hello Hello Books, thereby doubling the benefit to the community. Also upcoming – Wild Weird Wonderful Maine: A Zoom Author Talk by Author and Maine Guide Earl Brechlin.
Harbor – The docks at Snow Marine Park will remain in the water over the winter months to help those hardy winter boaters. A sailboat sank in the waters off Snow Marine Park last week. The Harbormaster hired a crew to remove the wreckage and have it disposed of at the landfill. Moorings can now be paid online.
Waste Water — The Rockland Pollution Control Facility has been renamed after long time director Terry Pinto for his dedication to the facility and the City of Rockland. The facility is now named the Terrance G. Pinto Pollution Control Facility and Public Campus. A plaque unveiling will be held in 2021. The plant rehabilitation project is engineered and ready for bidding, hoping to start the much needed upgrade in the near future.