BIDDEFORD — The City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday night to add a $5.99 million bond for road work to the November ballot.

Biddeford voters will now be asked to approve three bonds, totaling $12.185 million, in the Nov. 3 general election. The council also gave final approval to two other bonds, including a $2.27 million bond for City Hall repairs and a $3.925 million bond for sewer work.

At its Aug. 18 meeting, the council voted against approving a $12.75 million bond for road work, pointing to the fact that similar bonds have failed at the ballot box in years past.

But councilors are hopeful that by cutting the road work bond amount by more than half and with current bond interest rates at less than 2 percent, voters will approve it and the other two bonds come election day.

“We will not see interest rates lower in our lifetime than we have right now,” said Councilor Marc Lessard. “I hope that we can send this over to the citizens and I hope they support it this coming fall.”

“I think with a $5.9 million number, the voters will have an opportunity to weigh in and hopefully they support it,” said Councilor Bob Mills. “There are many roads in our city that are in dire need of fixing.”

Even Councilor Clement Fleurent, who said he does not traditionally favor bonds, said he would “go along with” the bond for road work because the city has not budgeted enough money for road work in the last several years and road conditions are very poor.

Councilor Michael Ready was the only councilor to vote against the bond for road work, saying that he doubts city officials will be able to effectively sell to voters the idea of approving the bond.

City Manager Jim Bennett said from an administrative standpoint the city will work on getting “the factual information” out to voters by, for example, adding it to a section of the city’s website. But in terms of actively campaigning for the three bonds, Bennett said that will be up to the council.

Guy Casavant, the city’s public works director, said if the bond for road work passes, it will pay for reconstruction work on South and West streets, repairs on Lincoln Street, two drainage projects on Oceanspray and Edwards avenues, sidewalk reconstruction on South Street, and about 6.5 miles of resurfacing on Hills Beach Road.

— Staff Writer Angelo J. Verzoni can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 329 or [email protected]

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