The Nov. 3 ballot in Biddeford includes three bonds totaling more than $12 million that would fund repairs to city hall, roads and the sewer system.

The City Council issued a letter to voters saying it is “strongly requesting” support for the three bond referendum questions. Councilors say borrowing conditions are favorable and the projects cannot be absorbed in the city budget.

The first bond question seeks approval to borrow $5.99 million to pay for three major road reconstruction projects, about 7 miles of surface pavement improvements, two drainage projects and one sidewalk reconstruction project. Major reconstruction would be done on West, South and Lincoln streets.

The city would pay about $1.8 million in interest on the $5.9 million if the bond is approved, and it would add 17 cents per $1,000 of valuation to property tax bills. If the $5.9 million came out of the city’s operating budget, the budget would increase by about 20 percent and add $2.44 per $1,000 of valuation to property tax bills, according to city officials.

The second bond would allow the city to borrow $3.9 million to continue its Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) abatement plan. The city is under mandates from both the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement an abatement plan to reduce the discharge of untreated wastewater into the Saco River, Thatcher Brook and other water bodies during heavy rainfall. Voters have previously approved several CSO program bond referendums. The overall cost of the project is expected to be about $40 million.

The city would pay an estimated $1.2 million in interest on the $3.9 million bond, adding 11 cents per $1,000 of valuation to property tax bills. Adding the $3.9 million to the operating budget would increase it by 13 percent, adding $1.71 per $1,000 to property tax bills, according to the city.

The city council wants to borrow $2.27 million to repair the clock tower, repoint the brick work, install fire sprinklers, install new windows and make other repairs to city hall, which was designed by Maine architect John Calvin Stevens and is listed on the National Historic Register.

Voters in 2007 rejected a referendum to fix the clock tower, which had some cosmetic repairs done in the 1980s. After that bond failed, the city spent $250,000 for short term stabilization work because rotting debris was falling from the tower and water was leaking into city hall.

City officials say the bond money is also needed to add fire sprinklers and replace old and inadequate windows that waste energy during winter and summer.

The city estimates it would spend $715,000 in interest on the $2.27 million bond and that it would add 6 cents per $1,000 of valuation to property tax bills. Spending that money from the operating budget would increase the budget by about 8 percent and add 99 cents per $1,000 of valuation to property tax bills.

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