The 2018 Application and Decision-Making Process: We invite proposals from Town Managers, Town Administrators, or Boards of Selectmen by Monday, March 19, 2018 with decisions by mid-to late April. LCRPC hopes to award 3 or 4 grants. During the review process, we’ll call and talk with you about the application and may visit the project site. Towns which received an ASK grant in previous years are eligible to apply if the previous grant is complete and final project reports have been submitted by the 2018 deadline.
The application must be submitted by and with approval of Town Manager, Administrator, or the Board of Selectmen where applicable. The application should include a cover letter and 1 - 2 page narrative covering all the information below.
Questions? Please call 882-5983. Applications may be emailed to [email protected], mailed to the LCRPC, 297 Bath Road, Wiscasset, ME 04578, or delivered to our office. Please call or email if you have questions.
Go HERE for application details.
The Town’s current town office is a renovated used portable classroom. As part of the installation and site work in 2011, access to the basement was added via bulkhead with enclosed stairs. Since the top of the basement wall sat above grade, cement cinder blocks were placed next to the wall. To access the basement, one had to climb the two cinder blocks, lean over to unlock and open the bulkhead door, then step over the top of the wall into the stairwell, and walk down the stairs. An additional locked door was set at the bottom of the stairs to secure the space.
During 2013, shelving was put in the basement to provide a dry location to store archived files, historical documents. The basement was also used for storage of voting booths and equipment, and other items not needed by the Town on a daily basis. In 2015, the basement walls were insulated to help with temperature control, and in 2016 a furnace was installed that provides heat for both the basement and Town Office. The intent was to provide a warm and usable workspace for persons requesting access to the Town's historical records.
The bulkhead access had a couple of issues: first, the stairs were not built to code or acceptable standard (making the stairway difficult to use); and second, weather limits access a) during or after snowfall, the bulkhead doors are snow-covered and a path has to be cleared, and b) when it rains, opening the doors allows water into the basement, and any user gets wet.
The Selectmen wanted to fix this, and satisfy MMA Risk Management. One of their highest priorities was to provide a safe, year-round access to the basement which houses files, historical archives and equipment. After one recommended solution, the Board decided, rather than trying to fix the bulkhead entrance, another better option would be to install an indoor stairway. The ASK funds help paid for engineering services for final drawings, plans and cost estimates for this indoors, second stairway. Town funds paid for the construction work that has been completed. The indoor stairwell satisfies the recommendations of MMA Risk Management by providing a second entrance and exit to the basement and by constructing stairs that meet safety standards and code. It now provides year-round access to the basement, allowing the space to be more efficiently and effectively used by the Town Office staff as well as town residents, and provides more work area in a building that is limited in space.
The creation of jobs, further development of the local tax base and overall enhancement of the local economy have been high priorities for both Towns for many years. A key element to successful economic development efforts is maintaining ongoing communication and cooperation among government leaders, existing businesses, prospective businesses and others who have a stake in the prudent and responsible economic development of the two towns. Both Towns have given a high priority to business development, Damariscotta in its 2014 Comprehensive Plan and Newcastle in its draft comprehensive plan that will go before the voters in November.
ASK Grant funds would be used towards the costs for holding a one-day event with local business leaders, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, the Twin Villages Alliance, non-profit organizations, Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission and the two local governments as well as community and economic development leaders in the State. The conference will also be open to business leaders outside the Twin Villages area who might have an interest in bringing their business here. The purpose of the conference is to provide opportunities for information and idea sharing, skill building and networking for current area businesses and businesses considering a move to the area. In particular, a strong emphasis will be placed on fostering connections among local businesses, financial institutions, State and County community and economic development agencies and the two local governments.
The Damariscotta Town Manager and Newcastle Town Administrator are heading up the program committee for the conference. Their involvement is one part of this collaborative efforts including the Damariscotta-Newcastle Rotary Club, the Twin Villages Alliance, the Damariscotta Chamber of Commerce, the Maine Small Business Administration, Lincoln Academy and others. Bob Topper, President of the Rotary Club is facilitating the planning sessions and Mary Kate Reny has agreed to chair the event. In-kind municipal contributions will be in the form of the time spent by their chief administrators in this project. Funding support is also expected to come from the Orton Family Foundation, the Rotary District organization, event sponsors, businesses and individuals.
See a brief summary report of the September 22, 2017 Twin Villages Business Forum.
Bristol used an ASK grant to look into the technical and economic feasibility of municipal renewable power generation. In the first third of the 20th century, the Town of Bristol was supplied with renewable electricity in the form of low-head, run-of-river hydro power from the Bristol Mills Dam, constructed in 1917 by the Lincoln County Power Company. As the economics of generation and transmission changed to favor larger, fossil fuel-powered generating stations such as Mason Station in Wiscasset, Bristol abandoned self-generation in 1938 and met its electric needs thereafter through connection to the Central Maine Power grid. In the twenty-first century, the advent of more efficient technologies for solar, wind, and small hydro generation, plus increased public awareness and concern about the environmental impacts of fossil fuel use, have led many municipalities to develop new renewable generation capability. This application is in response to public interest in Bristol doing the same.
Recognizing that power generation is a capital-intensive and often controversial activity, the Town wanted to understand the technical and economic viability of the solar, wind and other options that theoretically may be available to the Town, and to compare them with an alternative (or complementary) strategy of pursuing energy efficiency.
In 2013-14, interest in wind power was raised in Bristol by the University of Maine’s plan to install offshore wind turbines. The Town took a position in opposition to the building of new transmission capacity through the Town to serve the offshore turbines, but developed a significant body of expertise on wind power, including awareness of the peninsula’s wind resources for small-scale, onshore generation.
In 2015-6, the Bristol Consolidated School studied the installation of solar panels to supply a portion of its electric load. The School concluded that an installation on the basis proposed by the developer with whom they were working was uneconomic, though it appeared that other solar options – both for funding, and for alternative sites – might be viable. In particular, the Town has a large south-facing sloped surface near to the school at its capped former landfill, of more than 3 acres, which appears suitable for development of a solar farm. The Town is seeking to understand the economics of these options, and in particular to identify the likely payback period of each potential investment and to compare these with the economics of energy conservation investments.
The Town, after qualifying bidders and soliciting proposals, hired a consultant with technical and regulatory expertise in Maine renewable power generation and energy efficiency, to advise the Town on the options of: 1) solar power generation from panels installed on the Bristol Consolidated School; 2) solar power generation from stand-alone facilities, e.g. at the Transfer Station or a capped landfill facility; and 3) wind generation at the Transfer Station. For all these options, what are the regulatory requirements for, and costs of, interconnections with CMP; how do these options compare in costs and benefits with pursuing energy savings through the implementation of energy efficiency programs; and in the end, how do the technically-feasible projects rank in terms of investment cost and economic payback, for possible Town funding.
The budget for this project was estimated at $5,000, with $2,000 in-kind work by the Town Administrator and $1,000 from the Town’s General Government funds, in addition to the ASK grant.
This is an on-going project -- addressing issues with municipal buildings and planning for the future are not always a one-step process! Until 1997, Alna operated its town office functions out of the Puddle Dock School, a 19th Century one-room facility with no toilet facilities or running water. When the hours of the Town Clerk/Tax Collector expanded, that situation became untenable. However, the town citizens were not prepared to commit to building a new town office at that juncture. As a compromise, the Town purchased a late 18th century Cape-style residence in the center of town across from the fire station and retrofitted it to office space with little structural change. The idea was that if in the future we wanted a better-suited facility, this space could be reverted to a dwelling unit and sold.
A 2016 ASK Grant and town funds enabled the Selectmen to hire engineering and architectural firms to assess the condition of the current building and to design a new town office building. The cost estimates for a new building were much higher than expected, but the designs have been useful in public discussions of the trade-offs between new and old. The Selectmen and the town continue to search for affordable options.
2016 Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor
As a region heavily dependent on tourism for the local economy, town officials and local businesses have strived to elevate the visibility of the region’s assets. A few years ago, volunteers from the peninsula developed a local brand that would improve the marketing of the region’s assets and provide consistency in signage and communications. A goal of the branding work was to develop consistent language and images for wayfinding signage and informational kiosks that would enhance the visitor experience and provide clear and easily decipherable information on local attractions, lodging, dining, shopping and other amenities. Signage is an important priority to our local businesses, and taking the next steps to develop standards and identify the strategic placement for wayfinding and informational kiosks is a short-term strategy to boost economic development.
The ASK grant of $3000 (to a multi-town project) combined with $6-8,000 of town funds enabled the Joint Economic Development Committee to hire a consulting firm to create a multi-phase wayfinding plan. This will include consistent and clear standards for wayfinding and informational kiosks along with recommendations for their strategic placement so tourists and others can identify and find local attractions, businesses and amenities. The vendor will recommend the most appropriate signage, such as cylinder kiosks, you-are-here maps and rural environmentally sensitive designs.
Bremen’s Heath Road Bridge is a small two-lane bridge on a dead-end road off Route 32, spanning a rather deep, tidal river coming in off of Broad Cove. The bridge is a steel I-beam structure on concrete with composite (wood) piers, originally built as a wooden bridge, and re-spanned with steel in 1988. Because of extended exposure to salt and water, it’s needed more and more maintenance, and the support –piers and pilings—are beginning to deteriorate. Emergency repairs have been made. The Town has met with MDOT engineers who recommended that the bridge be replaced by 2021.
Bremen’s ASK grant of $2,000 is for partial funding to hire an engineer/consultant to look at alternative replacement options, and to help develop cost estimates. The bridge could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars – the Selectmen want to come up with the best option and put the replacement project into the Town’s 5- and 10-year Road and Infrastructure Plan. Setting aside funds in a reserve account ahead of time is fiscally responsible.
2015 Westport Island
Westport has a very dedicated volunteer Fire Department. The Fire Station was originally built in 1963 and added to in the 1970s and 1991 – it’s primarily wood-framed, with some cinderblock exterior and interior walls. Construction has been done over time by volunteers from the community, partly with donated materials and without design/engineering support that would tie the various buildings together, handle the load of heavy equipment, and address the impact of heated/unheated areas. Then there’s general building aging, weather, and bigger equipment.
The WVFD is the only public safety service on the island, providing fire prevention and response and medical first responder services, and traffic control for emergencies. The Station is the designated emergency warming shelter for town residents.
The Department has limited resources for maintenance and capital improvements, so the ASK award of $2,000 will go for a structural evaluation of the Fire Station, which will document current building conditions, verify code compliance issues, and provide information to help the Department in prioritizing repairs and improvements and in preparing a short- and long-term capital improvement plan.
2015 Bristol and Damariscotta
These two towns have teamed up to address a number of concerns at the Bristol Mills Dam: improved waterflow for the alewives run; impact of changing water levels on property owners’ docks and beach areas; shoreline erosion; safety of swimmers; and reliability of a water supply for the Fire Department.
The Bristol Mills Fishway Project is planning to re-establish alewife access through the fishway, into the Pemaquid River chain of ponds. For property owners on Biscay, McCurdy, and Pemaquid Ponds, the water level can be too low, too high or fluctuating too much, and changing water levels can harm loons and other wildlife. Currently, the water level at the Dam is very difficult to manage with the existing spillway configuration.
Bristol and Damariscotta will match a $4,000 grant with town funds to hire an engineer to review the integrity of the dam, recommend alternative spillway features, and create a customized operations and management protocol to addressing the needs of all the communities affected.
Like many Maine towns, Whitefield faces many financial pressures due to shrinking State funds, inflation and generally weak economic conditions. One consequence has been the ability to keep current on maintenance of town roads. Whitefield has about 30 miles of paved local or town roads and another approximately 10 miles of gravel roads. For a town of 2,300 with little commercial development or a strong housing stock, funding adequate maintenance of this road system is challenging. At current funding rates, the Town is on track to pave its roads only once every 30 years. To be as efficient as possible, better planning of town road maintenance efforts is needed.
The winter of 2013-2014 was particularly harsh on the roads, leaving no doubt that better planning and evaluation is even more critical. The bottom line is that Whitefield needs to be able to plan, budget for, and manage its roads more effectively. In late 2013, the Selectmen created a Roads Committee and charged it with studying the town roads and recommending short and long-term actions. The Committee met many times, collected existing information on all town roads, gathered additional information about Whitefield and other Lincoln County towns from County Planner Robert Faunce, and met with Jerry Douglass of the Maine Local Roads Center. The Road System Management Software (RSMS) offered by the Center was used by the Whitefield Roads Committee to conduct a thorough inventory of all town roads, evaluate every mile of road surface in town following RSMS guidelines, and identify road segments having the highest priority issues that need to addressed. The Committee developed recommendations.
The ASK grant (and town funds) were used to hire a qualified engineer to: 1) review the volunteer Committee’s roads conditions inventory, recommendations and prioritized actions and recommendations; 2) assist the Committee, Selectmen, and Town Roads Commissioner in determining highest priority needs; 3) help determine most appropriate and cost effective means for addressing priority road needs; and 4) identify other mid- and long-range planning issues not identified in the RSMS. The Town anticipates using the RSMS database as an on-going tool to assist in its road maintenance efforts. It is anticipated that the inventory will be updated every 2-3 years and plans for future road work adjusted accordingly.