THE BATH CITY COUNCIL dealt with a number of issues at their Wednesday meeting, including authorization to purchase property on Willow Street.

THE BATH CITY COUNCIL dealt with a number of issues at their Wednesday meeting, including authorization to purchase property on Willow Street.

BATH

The city of Bath has confirmed its purchase of foreclosed property in the hopes of controlling flooding on Willow Street.

The city council confirmed the purchase of property at 22 Willow St. last week. The property was foreclosed on several years ago, and is in poor condition.

There is currently a single-family home at 22 Willow St., a topographical low point in the area that experiences periodic flooding during certain rain events.

The property was purchased at auction by the city for $30,000. It has an assessed value of more than twice that, at $70,000. The purchase is made possible through Community Development Block Grant funds.

The site will be used to implement a flood control system for the Willow Street area.

“The site alone will not provide a complete solution but it will be a step in the right direction if the city were able to control the property and evaluate it for flood control,” states a memo from Interim City Manager Peter Owen to the council.

A January report from the EPA noted that the city’s aged sewer draining system is “of insufficient capacity.” Despite some upgrades, the low-lying Willow Street catchment area is beset by “frequent nuisance flooding” when the city’s combined sanitary sewer system becomes overwhelmed during storms, “resulting in water backing up through sanitary manholes and creating flood conditions in the neighborhood,” according to the report.

Addressing Willow Street area flooding could stabilize an “economically troubled area,” according to the EPA: “City officials note that there are an unusually high number of foreclosures in this neighborhood, adding economic distress. They also note that several homes on Willow Street have been abandoned, likely due to the flooding issues.”

Other business

Also last week, the council unanimously adopted changes to its procedure for disposing city-owned property. The change is meant to address the problem of the city selling property to be developed, and the new owner failing to live up to the promise of developing the property.

“This essentially (gives the city) the authority to put conditions on sales,” said city attorney Roger Theriault on Oct. 4. “What we have now is an enforcement mechanism.”

With the changes made, the city can include language in sales contracts that allows the city to reclaim property that is not appropriately developed.

The council also approved of the sale of multiple city-owned vehicles: Engine 6 and two 2005 Ford Crown Victorias. The city approved the purchase of a new fire truck earlier this year to replace Engine 6, which is out of service. The two other vehicles were originally donated to the city, but have been out of service for years.

The council unanimously approved the TIF budgets for Bath Iron Works, Wing Farm and the downtown as presented by city staff.

Owen announced that there had been some changes in city staff positions. Director of Economic Development Scott LaFlamme has left to go to Yarmouth, said Owen, and City Planner Andrew Deci has stepped into that role, which has been expanded. Deci’s new title with the city will be director of Planning and Development.

“Basically, he was doing a lot of economic development, and we’re just going to basically be expanding his role,” said Owen. “So he will take on sort of a bigger picture of planning within the city (including) community development and economic development, along with some grant work.”

The city will be seeking a new city planner, who will work under Deci.


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