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No public comments at last Council meeting


by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter
November 19, 2020
BERLIN — Berlin's City Council met on Nov. 2, where the meeting began with four public hearings brought forth by Mayor Paul Grenier, none of which sparked any public comment.

Disbursements between Oct. 17 and Nov. 1 totaled $1,317,927.46 and were all approved.

The first was in regards to a $9,999 Hazard Mitigation Grant. The next was in regards to a $2,000 scholarship. The third was for 2020-24 Election Expenses Grant and the final hearing was in regards to the NH Clean Diesel Grant Program.

A resolution accepting a grant from the New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in the amount of $9,999.75 to update the City's Hazard Mitigation Plan from the 2016 version was accepted.

A resolution authorizing the Berlin Police Commission to apply for and accept $2,000 in scholarship funds from the North Country Health Consortium for training purposes was accepted. The CIT training will improve first responders' ability to identify then direct those in crisis to appropriate treatment for their condition, thus enhancing first responders' effectiveness while also resulting in improved outcomes for those in crisis.

A resolution accepting a grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life from their COVID 19 Response Grant Program in the amount of $5,918.50 was accepted. The Center for Tech and Civic Life has received a $250 million contribution to assist election jurisdictions across the country to help ensure they have the staffing, training, and equipment necessary so that every eligible voter can participate in a safe and timely way and have their vote counted. Berlin has seen an increased volume in requests for absentee ballots and voter registration which affected poll staffing in the midst of the pandemic. These funds are intended to offset an increase in pay for election workers.

A resolution authorizing the City Manager to apply for and accept a grant from the NH Department of Environmental Services Clean Diesel Grant Program for 25% of the cost of replacing outdated Public Works equipment was also accepted. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has grant funds available to reduce diesel emissions in the State using funds available via the New Hampshire State Clean Diesel Grant Program funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for up to 25% of the cost of outdated equipment. Berlin is seeking to replace a 1999 Freight liner garbage packer along with a 1999 snowblower, and under discussion a 2001 International salt truck.

City Manager James Wheeler relayed that the demolition of the Princess Theater and the adjacent building, on Main Street, is out for sealed bid due November 19, 2020. The bid specifies that the demo needs to occur by February 1, 2021.

As a result of a spike in COVID-19 cases in Berlin, the Recreation Center activities have been placed on hold. Wheeler noted that the recent uptick has led to contact tracing which led to the quarantine of a few municipal employees.

Berlin's winter parking ban is in effect. No vehicles are permitted to park on City streets between midnight and 7 a.m. Overnight parking is permitted in the parking lot next to the Salvation Army.

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