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The Portland Townsman Posts

Waterfront Consolidation, Budget Passage, and State of Emergency Extension – City Council Review 6/3/2024

After a long march, the city budget was teed up for debate and passage at the June 3rd City Council Meeting. With just Pious Ali…

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Exit Strategies: 4 Upcoming Projects for 4 Exits

Four segments of highway I-295 in Portland – Exits 5, 6, 7, and 8 – are all poised for significant overhauls in the near future. From recovering land for public use, to restoring two-way traffic, to replacing the old Denny’s, Zack Barowitz explains the benefits which Portland could see from these projects. After a long period of stagnation, local and state authorities are increasingly aligned in securing funding, completing studies, and overcoming roadblocks to progress.

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School Budget and Museum Demolition Approved, and Voting on Hypotheticals – City Council Review 5/20/2024

On the evening of May 20th, 2024, a surprisingly quick meeting sped through two high-profile decisions and efficiently dispatched a number of minor matters. In less than two hours, the City Council approved the School Budget and sent it on to the voters, overruled their subordinate commissions to clear the way for demolishing 142 Free Street, and formally established the polling parameters for the June election.

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Free St. Demolition Delayed, School Budget on Deck, and Floods – City Council Review 5/6/2024

The City Council chambers were packed full to speak on two pressing matters – the annual budget for Portland Public Schools and the Portland Museum of Art’s request to demolish the building at 142 Free Street, formerly the Children’s Museum. The Mayor also undertook a time-saving procedural reform to business licenses, representatives of the restaurant industry registered complaints about downtown parking limits, and procedural confusion abounds.


Wardens, the School Budget, and a 365-Day Festival – City Council Review 4/22/2024

In a very brief and mostly uncontroversial meeting, the City Council met on Monday, April 22nd to knock out a variety of minor items. Though this meeting was efficient, (if not for public comments it might not have even lasted half an hour,) the council also teed up a very busy night for its next session in May.

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Federal Grants, Draft Budget, and Has Anyone Met the Peaks Island Lions Club? – City Council Review 4/8/2024

While much of Maine was congregating in the interior of the state to witness the rare total solar eclipse, Portland’s City Council met on Monday April 8th to finalize the list of federal grant recipients among Portland’s many nonprofits, refer the City Manager’s draft budget to committee, speculate as to who’s behind the “Lions Club of Peaks Island,” and dispose of a wide variety of minor obligations.


Who Gets Grants and What Doesn’t – City Council Review 3/18/2024

On Monday, March 18th , the City Council discussed and disbursed tens of millions of dollars’ worth of grants, funds, subsidies, improvements, and more. These plans, all separate from the general budget process, included CDBG funds for community services, FAA grants for the Portland Jetport, Capital Improvement Plan authorizations for infrastructure and maintenance, and a new application process for affordable housing programs. Not every grant applicant was a winner, however, and many more – including one Councilor – were frustrated with the opacity of city spending.

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Cemetery Funds and the Solar Eclipse – City Council Review 3/4/2024

An unusually brief City Council meeting – just over half an hour – took place on Monday, March 6th. A number of straightforward items, (described by one commenter as “thin gruel,”) were efficiently dispatched, including two separate windfalls for the maintenance and improvement of public cemeteries in Portland. The night passed almost without any conflict to speak of, until the inconvenient timing of a solar eclipse threatened to ensnarl the city’s budget process.