Snippets: Peabody takes over as Bridgton manager

CHANGING OF THE GUARD — Former Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz sat in on Tuesday’s Bridgton Selectmen meeting as new Town Manager Bob Peabody presided over his first selectmen’s meeting in Bridgton.

CHANGING OF THE GUARD — Former Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz sat in on Tuesday’s Bridgton Selectmen meeting as new Town Manager Bob Peabody presided over his first selectmen’s meeting in Bridgton.

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

New Bridgton Town Manager Bob Peabody presided over his first selectmen’s meeting Tuesday, with a little help from outgoing Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz.

Peabody was sworn in by the board on July 1, and on Tuesday Bridgton Selectmen formally appointed him as Town Manager, Tax Collector, Treasurer, Road Commissioner and General Assistance Administrator. For the past week he has been busy getting acquainted with staff, learning about town operations and visiting various locations in town.

“Welcome, Mr. Manager,” said Selectman Chairman Bernie King, as the meeting began. Peabody replied, “It’s a delight to be here.”

No go on bus service

Regional Transportation won’t be extending its bus service to Bridgton this year, after all.

Director of Planning, Economic and Community Development Anne Krieg had announced the extension of service at the last selectmen’s meeting. But, on Tuesday, she said she’d learned the program has no funding available this year to run the line another six miles to pick up Bridgton residents and take them to stops in Windham and Portland.

The bus service currently ends in Naples, and Naples does provide funding to RTP. Krieg said.

She said she’ll work with RTP and the Greater Portland Council of Governments on determining available funding for the 2015 Community Development Block Grant year, and work through the budget process for the possibility of a town match to be available in July 2015.

Selectmen’s Concerns

Selectman Ken Murphy reiterated his complaint about the condition of lower Main Street in the wake of the 4 on the Fourth Road Race. “A quarter of the first part of that run is on the worst road in Bridgton,” he said. He also bemoaned the shabby condition of trees and shrubbery near the Skate Park. “Look at them — they’re a disgrace,” he said.

Chairman Bernie King said he’s seen “an abundance of out-of-state vehicles” without transfer station stickers dumping their trash and recyclables at the transfer station. But he worried that if they were turned away, “where are they going to put it?”

King also said signs are still being placed at Pondicherry Square in violation of the revised Sign Ordinance. One sign advertising a mattress sale was up this week on the park in front of Norway Savings Bank. He also asked for enforcement regarding a sign advertising fresh pies on the sidewalk in front of Corn Shop Trading Company that is “blocking half the sidewalk.”

No Steering Committee

Selectmen decided not to create a Town Hall Steering Committee to develop specifications for bids on the Town Hall stabilization project, as requested by resident Glen “Bear” Zaidman. Krieg said Eric Dube, the engineer who studied what repairs were needed, is able to continue his contract to prepare a bid package, and she said a certified architect would need to stamp the bid package in any case. Murphy reaffirmed that any local contractor would be able to bid on the project.

Depot Street

Krieg said bids on the streetscape project on Depot Street will go out July 15, and construction is scheduled to begin the end of August. Selectman Paul Hoyt pointed out a large lot owned by the town abutting Stevens Brook, and wondered if some use could be made of it in the future.

Krieg said, “You have a lot more right-of-way than you thought,” but pointed out that there were setback and drainage issues that prevented consideration of using the town land for additional parking.

Comprehensive Plan

Krieg said a joint workshop has been scheduled between selectmen and the Comprehensive Plan Committee for Monday, July 21 at 6 p.m. “to go over (the plan) page-by-page.” A formal public hearing will then be held on Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 6 p.m. Copies of the finalized plan will be posted on the town’s website and also will be available at the Bridgton Library, the Bridgton Community Center and the Bridgton Municipal Complex.

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