Aroundthe city...

Published on Thu, Mar 23, 2006
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Around the city...

This week engineers will meet with members of the Citizens Wastewater Advisory Committee to explain changes to plans for the city’s new Lighthouse Point wastewater treatment facility at the end of Marine Drive.

Steve Banham, Blaine’s director of public works, said the city had asked for a value engineering review to try to fit the project into its budget with costs on the rise. “Right now construction prices are increasing significantly and we need to find answers,” Banham told city council at their March 13 meeting. “We’ve come up with a potential for $5.7 million in savings.”

The first phase of changes to the city’s wastewater system, equalization storage tanks under Marine Drive, is out of the design phase and out to bid, Banham said. “It’s on the street and we’re getting a lot of interest from bidders already.”

Banham said the intention was to complete the project during this construction season, including the new tanks as well as the reconstruction of the road. “It will be nice to see some changes, and improvements to our waterfront,” Banham said.

Overstreet wants Anderson to zip it
Blaine City Council member Jason Overstreet is asking fellow council members to muzzle airport alternatives committee member Bob Anderson after a pro-airport letter from Anderson was printed in The Northern Light.

“Council has to do everything in our power to give these studies credibility,” he said at a March 13 council meeting. “Anything we can do to solidify that so everybody feels it’s a clean process, we should.”
Anderson owns a plane he keeps at the Blaine airport and is a former member of the airport commission as well as being on the committee now preparing a report on alternatives uses for the land should the airport close. In his March 1 letter to the editor he urged readers to support using federal aviation funds to pay for 80 percent of a $16 million airport expansion. “If Blaine residents would like to improve the economic climate of the city a modern airport is a good first step,” he wrote.

Overstreet said that by writing the letter Anderson compromised the objectivity of the airport alternatives committee. “It’s not so much being pro or con the airport,” he said. “It’s the appropriateness of writing in the throes of something contentious.” John Liebert agreed saying he had five different parties from different points of view contact him with concerns about Anderson’s letter. “It came across as undermining the work of the committee,” he said.

Mayor Mike Myers said he didn’t want to see a repeat of the airport master plan process, where a committee member had publicly come out against the plan after participating in its creation.

Ken Ely, who nominated Anderson for the committee said he had spoken to him and Anderson was willing to step down from the committee but said he did not agree to ban letter-writing because it was not appropriate to do so and he may end up doing it again.
Bonnie Onyon, who represents council on the airport alternatives committee said she would try to reach Anderson and discuss the situation with him before coming back to council with a recommendation. “The code states the only way he can be removed is under applicable law,” she reminded other council members.