Issuu on Google+ May 23, 2012 Vol. 10, No. 21 News of The City of Portland Council OKs budget, fee hike for garages For lands’ sake Collaborative aims to make life easier for trusts By Andrew Cullen YARMOUTH — Alan Stearns believes “land conservation is growing up.” Stearns, the executive director of the Royal River Conservation Trust, spoke as he followed a trail May 18 at the Spear Farms Estuary Preserve. Maine’s many land trusts, and their volunteers, can’t operate “in bake-sale mode for the next 50 years,” Stearns said. “Bake-sale mode isn’t sustainable.” The responsibilities of acquiring and maintaining land for conservation can sometimes be a stretch for land trusts built on the backs of well-meaning volunteers with limited skills, knowledge, or time. Most, including those with the luxury of some paid staff, like the Royal River trust, are too small to do everything, and need to outsource some of their work, Stearns said. Increasingly, conservation groups with small, but specific geographic focuses are banding together to share the workload and expertise. For eight land trusts in Cumberland and York counties, that’s where the Portland-based Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative comes in. ANdREw CullEN / ThE FORECASTER Alan Stearns, director of the Royal River Conservation Trust, hikes in Yarmouth’s Spear Farms Estuary Preserve last week. His organization is too small to do everything, he said, and is in the process of deciding what work should be outsourced to the Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative. Jessica Burton, left, director of the recently formed Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative. The Portland-based collaborative provides administrative support and other services to land trusts in Cumberland and York counties. See page 34 By Andrew Cullen PORTLAND — The City Council approved a $206 million budget for fiscal 2013 on Monday night with little discussion or debate. Among other things, the budget includes a 40 percent hike in the cost of hourly parking at two city-operated downtown garages. “That concludes our work on the budget and results in passage of the budget,” Mayor Michael Brennan said after the councilors voted unanimously in favor of the spending plan. Combined with the $94 million school budget passed by referendum on May 15, the budget that takes effect July 1 will result in a 2.9 percent property tax increase, to $18.82 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. “We have increased taxes and fees, which for me wasn’t an easy decision, but to me was the right decision because it allows us to maintain services,” the Finance Committee chairman, Councilor John Anton, said before the vote. The budget avoids “reactive” spending cuts, while providing the means to investigate improvements to city departments and services that have careened off track, Anton said, including the Fire Department and Riverside Golf Course. See page 34 City unveils programs to engage, grow businesses By Andrew Cullen PORTLAND — The city is making a renewed push to engage businesses with a series of initiatives aimed at economic development and job growth, and a new director of planning and urban development. Mayor Michael Brennan unIndex Arts Calendar ................20 Classifieds .....................30 Community Calendar.....22 Meetings ........................22 veiled the projects in a press conference on May 16. They include loan programs aimed at expanding local businesses, increased communication between businesses and city officials, and streamlined review and permitting processes. The new initiatives are all rooted in the city’s economic development plan, which has the support of a variety of business and economic advocacy organizations including the Community Chamber, the Portland Downtown District, and the Creative Portland Corp., Economic Development Director Greg Mitchell said. “For the first time in a very long time, we are now working jointly on economic development initiatives across all the different partners,” Mitchell said. Increasingly, the city’s economic development strategy INSIDE Obituaries ...................... 11 Opinion ............................7 People & Business ........18 Police Beat ....................10 Real Estate ....................35 School Notebook ...........12 Sports ............................13 Regular season winding down Page 13 Pages 24-27 revolves around bolstering existing businesses. “Business retention should be the heart of what we’re trying to do,” Brennan said after the announcement. Doing so has a potentially more immediate See page 5

The Forecaster, Portland edition, May 23, 2012, a Sun Media Publication, pages 1-36

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