CAMDEN – The Camden and Lincolnville boards are looking for a way forward as they consider sharing the costs of major dam maintenance and repair projects in the future.
The councils met in a joint session on Monday evening, February 7, in Camden.
“We don’t have rules of engagement,” Camden Select board member Sophie Romana said at one point.
Lincolnville President Ladleah Dunn said, “We’re responsible for spending other people’s money.” She said the council did not want to send money to other communities such as Camden without a clear mechanism, either an order or an inter-local agreement outlining how this cooperation would work.
Traditionally, Lincolnville has provided one-third of the upkeep and maintenance costs for the Megunticook East and West Dams. In the past, a dam committee with members from both towns and stakeholders, such as the lakes association, met to discuss these issues.
At one point, the dam committee stopped meeting and towns did not meet to discuss dam issues. Lincolnville officials noted that at one point they received a large bill from Camden for seemingly unannounced dam work.
Camden Vice President Alison McKellar said the agreement between the towns was never formalized by a town assembly vote and likened it to a handshake agreement.
A spreadsheet was provided showing future costs, including an expected $100,000 in fiscal year 2024 to replace the gate and outlet channel rails at the Megunticook East Dam and another $100,000 in 2026 for the resurfacing of the concrete structures at the same dam.
The Seabright Dam will require $250,000 of work in 2025.
McKellar noted that a lot of funding for dam upgrades and changes is available if the projects include certain features or meet certain environmental criteria.
Both councils will work on creating priority lists and determining how to work together now that they have had this workshop discussion.
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