Thank you to those who were able to attend my listening session on December 13, 2011. I really appreciate the feedback and conversation. I thought I would share my notes from the meeting:
Several properties of interest/concern were discussed and given an update: Kennebec Arsenal, Cony Flatiron, Old Hannaford, and Hodgkins. In addition, there was a general concern for the condition of many of the roads in Augusta – State Street, Mt. Vernon, Stone Street, etc.
Some suggestions that I will address with the appropriate contacts include:
1. Educate and include the community as part of the city council goal setting process
2. Update on the Comprehensive Plan (what has been done and what is next?)
3. Establish a consistent city policy on how to handle tax-acquired property
4. What would it take to remove the utility lines on the west side waterfront?
5. Trim and clean up trees/brush along the riverfront of Old Fort Western
6. Relocate the city snow dump
7. Do a better job at recognizing city committee’s for the work they do (ex: tobacco policy created and worked on by recreation committee should get some credit)
Budget items that should be considered during council budget discussions:
1. Bi-weekly trash pick up?
2. Augusta Parking District – cost effective? Hurts Water Street? Other parking options? Management issue? Fee structure?
3. Holiday lights – prioritize needs vs. wants – even on the smallest budget amounts
4. Snow plowing and cleanup of the streets
5. Consolidate city mailings (ex: send the rubbish schedule with the tax bill)
6. Identify ways to increase revenue and identify ways to decrease spending (perhaps a public survey or city staff assignment?)
7. Why do we need a new police truck?
Other interesting topics that were discussed include: local options sales tax, business entrepreneurship programs, how can we make Augusta more business friendly, would like to see more green space along downtown waterfront, opportunities for unpaid volunteers to do work around the city, need for more community gardens in town, the city should harvest Christmas trees on city property for future revenue, utilize Bicentennial Park more, and strengthen our city committee’s and hold members accountable for their attendance and work.
I really appreciate all of the comments. I look forward to many more discussions like this in the future. As always, I welcome your feedback anytime.