Friday, December 6, 2013
By Keith Edwards email@example.com
AUGUSTA — City councilors on Thursday are scheduled to consider an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to resolve an alleged violation of the Clean Water Act which took place as the city built an access road into the Bond Brook Recreation Area.
The alleged violation resulted from city officials deciding, during construction of an access road through the trails area on city-owned land between Augusta State Airport and the public works garage, to install a culvert and leave it in place.
The problem was the city's permits for the project indicated a span bridge would be built where the culvert was installed. The culvert initially was meant to be there temporarily, according to City Services Director Leif Dahlin, but officials decided it worked so well at the site they would leave it in place.
They never changed the permit to reflect the change from a bridge to a culvert, however.
Dahlin said the city has since held a training session with state officials, which was attended by city staff and representatives from other area communities, on erosion control and best management practices.
"We were not sanctioned with a fine or any other consequences," Dahlin said. The agreement "is an acknowledgment we made a mistake and that we would do what we could to make good on it. Because now it makes sense to leave the culvert in place."
Thursday, city councilors are scheduled to consider authorizing City Manager William Bridgeo to execute a "tolling agreement" with the Army Corps of Engineers. The agreement essentially gives the Army Corps the right, if it decides to do so, to seek sanctions against the city for up to one year after the normal statute of limitations expires.
The agreement does not indicate the city actually committed a violation or that the corps plans to seek any sanctions. The agreement states the Corps "may file a complaint" for alleged violations, and notes the Corps has accepted an after-the-fact permit application from the city for the culvert.
The culvert crosses an unnamed tributary in the recreation area.
The tolling agreement goes to councilors at their meeting Thursday, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. in council chambers at Augusta City Center. Councilors also are scheduled to:
• consider increasing Police Department fees for copies of crash reports from $5 to $20; and dog impound fees from $15 to $35 for a first offense, from $25 to $50 for a second, and from $50 to $75 for a third;
• consider approving the establishment of a paddle park at East Side Boat Landing;
• consider accepting an $8,000 grant from the Maine Forest Service, meeting the requirement for a 20 percent city match, and developing a forest management plan;
• present the 2013 Mayor's Recognition of Excellence Awards to Stacy's Hallmark, Phyllis vonHerrlich and the Augusta Boys and Girls Club;
• accept a $2,500 donation from Robert Fuller to improve the entrance and install a sign at the city-owned Williams Park off Bangor Street, which is named for Fuller's relative Reuel Williams;
• and Honor Ada C. Arnold for her 100th birthday.
Keith Edwards — 621-5647