January 28, 2021

Permits, promotion costly for Newport Initial $9,500 estimate grows to $23,000

NEWPORT – Permission to add a turning lane to Route 2 for access to the new Newport Industrial Park will mean yet another permit fee.

“We thought we had all our permits behind us,” Town Manager Jim Ricker told selectmen on Wednesday night. “Adding a turning lane for eastbound traffic on Route 2 will cost $3,500 just to get the plan reviewed by MDOT.”

Two years ago, as the plans for the industrial park were developing, engineers estimated permits for park construction through the Maine Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation would cost about $9,500. To date, permitting has cost the town about $23,000, Ricker told the board.

“There is money in that account to pay for [the additional permit],” he said.

Providing a general update on the construction of the park off Route 2 on the east side of town, Ricker said utility installation is about 90 percent complete. Lighting for the new roads in the park may be delayed until spring, he said. The proposed 2001 budget includes funds for electricity for the lights, but Ricker didn’t feel it was necessary to install the lights this winter.

Ricker also presented an artist’s rendering of a proposed sign for the entrance to the new park. The sign is about 100 square feet with a roof protecting lighting above it. Ricker did not have an estimate on the cost of the structure. Miller Signs of Newport designed the sign.

Funding to promote the park through signage, the Internet and a direct mailing campaign is available from two reserve accounts for the park and economic development that have not been tapped as yet, Ricker said.

Ricker is looking into improving the town’s presence on the Internet by purchasing additional domain names, or Web addresses, to promote the park. Currently the town has a single Web address. Additional domain names increase the opportunity for the town, and its park, to be found with Internet search engines. A local businessman tripled his business by adding additional domain names, Ricker said.

An Internet promotional package for a two-year period could cost up to $5,400, Ricker said.

Ricker also plans a direct mailing campaign to promote the new park.

In other business, Ricker told the board plans for a skate park in Newport were eliminated with the current price of liability insurance. The town was asked to participate in developing a park for local youths last year when liability insurance was quoted at $7,000 annually. This year, Ricker said, only one company is issuing policies for skate parks and the rate is $50,000.

“When the entire town budget for insurance is $42,000, it’s hard to justify this for a skate park,” he said. “A skate park for Newport is officially off the agenda.”

Ricker provided the board with informational packages from Adelphia in anticipation of a cable television contract renewal in 2003.

“I think there is only one person on this board that gets cable,” Selectman John Buckland said. “I’d like to hear from the public if they have any concerns or complaints.”

Ricker said any new contract would include a public hearing before completion.

Ricker also received approval to install an alarm system for the town office. He proposed the new installation in light of break-ins at town offices in other communities, including one in neighboring Stetson. The installation will include cameras, door apparatus, motion detectors, an outside siren and a keypad access panel for employees. The cost of installation is $550 with a $21 monthly maintenance fee, he said.

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