BERLIN — Berlin City Council on Monday approved a new city ordinance prohibiting the feeding of geese, ducks and other wildlife.
Following a final review of the proposed ordinance, the council voted to amend the fine schedule and approve the ordinance.
Councilor Diane Berthiaume prosed the amendment to the fine schedule.
The original ordnance read that any person violating this ordinance would be subject to a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $500.
Berthiaume’s proposed amendment would change that to any “person violating this ordinance would be fined $50 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third offense.”
The amendment passed unanimously, and the new language was added to the ordinance the council then voted to approve the ordinance as amended.
The new city ordinance goes into effect immediately.
The council also discussed the federally funded RAISE grant of $19.5 million, which the city received for infrastructure improvements for the downtown area, including the proposed snowmelt project.
The Rebuilding America Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant program provides federal funds to struggling communities that are trying to improve their infrastructure.
Once the city receives the official letter from the Department of Transportation the council will have to vote to accept the grant.
The grant requires no hard match except about $50,000 of water and sewer works changes which the water department will change at the time.
The RAISE grant, explained city manager Phil Warren, is for a “full depth reclamation of the downtown area” which means that digging up all the streets’ sidewalks and water and sewer lines, it will allow for the proposed snowmelt project would allow waste heat from the Burgess Biomass plant to be used to heat the streets keep clear of snow.
The grant would also allow for utility lines be buried along the street with easy access to the lines between the sidewalks and the street.
Warren said that he had been contacted by business owners in the downtown area who asked if they would be able to tap into the steam lines.
Warren said the engineering, once done, will be able to answer that question but from what he knows the heated water traveling through the pipes will only reach 90 degrees which is enough for the snow melt but not to heat the buildings satisfactorily.
The heat could be tapped and using heat pumps into which would allow the buildings to connect and supplement their current heating and may bring down their heating costs.
Mayor Grenier said that Pam Laflamme and Berlin staff deserved much of the credit for getting the snowmelt project off the ground.
“She did not give up she applied three times for this grant. The third time is the charm,” said Grenier.
City Manager Phil Warren Jr. said, “We have two choices regarding the RAISE grant. We accept the grant as presented and proceed with the design, bidding and eventual building. The benefit is that downtown Main Street is fully improved with new roads sidewalks and underground utilities.”
Warren went on: “Improvements like this are contagious for the betterment of the city, additionally it opens up new grant and economic development opportunities for the city.”
“The other option,” Warren said, “is to not accept the grant and not proceed with the improvements and continue to have a Main Street area that is in serious need of rehabilitation and lose the possibility of receiving more grants.”
Grenier also said, “Even if the snowmelt project falls through, we still have new streets sidewalks and utilities.”
Warren added if Burgess Biomass closedm a small steam plant could be added which could allow the snowmelt project to continue.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) toured the area with city and Burgess Biopower officials last Friday, and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg will be here Friday. Aug. 26 to do the same. (see sotry, page 2).
In other business, the council approved the sale of an adjoining lot of land, 0.10 acres next to the property owned by John and Kathy Trumbull on Pleasant Street for $2,000, provided that the property be joined with their current lot.
The council approved the city managers suggestion that mileage paid to staff using their own vehicles be based on whatever the prevailing government mileage reimbursement rate is at the time of the submission of mileage claims.
Resolution 2022-28 allowing the city to enter into an agreement with Primex to participate in the Primex Contribution assurance program was approved and the purchase of the department of waterworks request for a trailer-mounted camera system was approved.
A request from the Berlin High School Backers for a parade route and venue change for Homecoming was requested. The original venue Forest Heritage Park is no longer available.
The Backers asked to change the parade route form Main Street to the Tondreau Park.
The Backers, however, were worried about having power to power at least six booths for homecoming.
Mayor Grenier and City Manager Warren assured the Backers that the city would collaborate with them to provide temporary power to the site and would allow the traditional bonfire to take place.
St. Kieran Center for the Arts made a request to use the Bridge Street Pedestrian Bridge for their annual dinner on Sept. 18. St. Kieran Center Executive Director Amber Bachner said that the bridge would need to be closed for four hours for set up, two to three hours for the actual diner and another four hours for cleanup. The council granted the request.
The council approaved a request form Berlin Housing Authority to fill the seat of Charles Dodge, who recently resigned, with Joan Pettengill, who will fill out the remainder of Dodge’s term to December.
A request for a an new three-year appointment of Krista L. Davis of Willard St. as cemetery trustee was also approved by the council.