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Public hearing planned on purchase of Main Street property

by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter
August 13, 2020
BERLIN — At the Aug. 3 Berlin City Council meeting, cash disbursements were shared from July 17 through Aug. 3 for a total of $933,282.01. The Council moved to approve the summary and to pay all recommended bills.

New business consisted of the authorization to purchase 8 Main St. for the sum of $40,000. Councilor Michael Rozek relayed that the work to level the theater while saving the building next door would cost more than buying the building and leveling both. A public hearing will take place on Aug. 17 to discuss this plan.

Mayor Paul Grenier presented the cost items for a tentative agreement between the City and the Teamsters, to include department heads. He relayed that next year, there would be a 1 percent increase in salaries with a cost of $6,023, and said the change in health care premiums would save the City $14,896. Fiscal year 2022 would also have an increase in salaries by 1 percent with a cost of $12,106, and insurance savings of $19,861. Fiscal year 2023 would see the same 1 percent increase in salaries for a cost of $18,189.

Grenier said, "Total costs would be $36,318, with premium savings of $54,617, for a total net savings of $18,299. Pay would be retroactive to July 1, 2020."

The contract was accepted by the Council.

Grenier said, "Our current department heads, who make up the Teamsters, have been the among the best group of employees I have ever worked with in my 30 plus years of public service. They understand the fiscal constraints Berlin has been under for the last 15 years. Now that the city is finally coming together and seeing some improving conditions, it all goes back to the City Manager and our department heads. The fact that the three agreement actually reduces cost to the taxpayers shows the commitment all of Berlin's employees to make our city a better place. We are so very fortunate."

City Manager James Wheeler relayed that the City received a notice from Eversource, stating that they will be performing cultural resource assessments within the power line corridor in Berlin, Milan and Dummer to meet state and federal requirements. He said that the field work is expected to be finished by this September.

"If artifacts are found, the landowner would be notified and informed of their option to retain or donate the artifacts," said Wheeler.

In other news, letters were sent out last week to taxpayers who are in arrears on their sewer and tax bills, with an option to pay the principal while having the interest waived.

The Planning Board recommended the nomination of Suzanne Wasileski to the Board to fill the spot of Helene Rayborn who recently resigned. Wasileski was an alternate to the Board. Wasileski's term will last until April of 2022. The Council accepted the nomination.

Varney Smith
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