STOCKTON SPRINGS — The select committee heard February 3 from residents struggling with unreliable internet service, voted to fund the purchase of materials for two new finger docks to be added to the city’s wharf, considered a policy of use of city property at the port and opened bids for three city-owned properties.
The meeting began with comments from Fred and Billie Swift of Old County Road. They had previously written to City Manager Mac Smith complaining about the “irregular and utterly inadequate” internet service in their area of town, and had signed 18 of their neighbors. The couple also said in their letter and at the meeting that they were concerned about how the lack of reliable high-speed internet service could affect property values.
There was a discussion about the availability of state and federal funds to expand broadband access, and council members asked how much money was available and how the city could apply.
It was decided to hold a community information and brainstorming meeting on Thursday, February 17 at 6 p.m. at the municipal office. Smith said he hoped some attendees at the meeting could volunteer for a committee to work on improving internet service in Stockton.
Darren Shute, Board Member, submitted a request from the Harbor Committee for $6,000 to pay for materials for two new spur docks that will be attached to the city’s existing wharf. They would be fixed perpendicular to the main quay and would be parallel to the shore.
The new docks would be built with volunteer labor, and Smith told the Republican Journal on Feb. 3 that Shute’s son, Justin, owner of Stockton Springs Marine, had donated space in his company for the construction of the docks. The council voted to take $6,000 from the harbor wharf reserve account to pay for materials.
Council members opened bids for three city-owned parcels and selected the winning bidders. A one-acre parcel on Harris Road (Map R2, Lot 001) went to Dan Ford of Hope for $3,100. A 14-acre landlocked lot on Harding Street (Map R3-Lot 018) was purchased by Stockton Woodlands Corp. for $5,000. And city fire chief Vern Thompson was the winning bidder for a half-acre parcel on Highway 1A (Map R2, Lot 158-1), with a bid of $400. In all cases, the board selected the highest bid received.
Smith introduced a proposed port storage policy, which would have prohibited the use of city-owned property in the port for storage by any entity outside the city, except in an emergency. The board wanted to allow nonprofit charities, such as the Stockton Harbor Sailing Center, to use the space as well. Smith will present a revised proposal at the next meeting.
In other cases, the council held a public hearing and approved an amended general assistance order that brings the city into compliance with state law. Budget workshops have been set for the four Thursdays in March. During the weeks when the board holds a regular meeting, the budget workshop will follow. On off-peak weeks, the workshop will take place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Finally, Smith announced that the city’s annual election will take place on Tuesday, June 14, and that council has set Saturday, June 18, as the date for the city meeting.
City vacancies to be filled this year include a three-year seat on the board of directors and the position of fire chief, elected annually. Application materials will be available March 3 and must be returned by March 5.
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