Road repairs, council vacancy key issues

With the passing of summer, I would like to reflect upon another successful season of summer programs and the beautification of our community.
Our waterfront, cemeteries, and parks frequently are praised by visitors and should be considered a source of civic pride. I commend staff for their commitment to these important aspects of our town.
The 2008 budget process began in earnest with the public meeting that was held Sept. 17. There were some presentations made before council and these will be considered during the compilation of the budget.
I do feel the meeting was somewhat under-utilized by the public, and I would encourage individuals or groups to come forward and give your mayor and council feedback and suggestions in the future.
All citizens are welcome to approach and participate in their local government.
Over the past few months, we have heard concerns from residents regarding road reconstruction projects and the subsequent re-routing of large truck travel.
We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused many residents.
We are happy to report that traffic will return to normal shortly, as the paving of the Central Avenue area is taking place. Other patches throughout town also will be addressed during the paving program.
We have learned from our recent experiences that issues of traffic flow and parking restrictions related to road reconstruction require a broader consultation with all relevant stakeholders.
There have been many challenges at the underpass that have necessitated a delay to the completion of some of the aspects of that project. Unforeseen geotechnical issues and recent stretches of poor weather only will permit the completion of one side of the underpass before winter.
Normal traffic flow through and in the vicinity of the underpass will resume sometime in November. We are projecting full completion of the underpass in the fall of 2008.
The sidewalk on the west side of the underpass will be closed to pedestrians until next summer.
Mayor and council also recently have been working on addressing the current vacancy on council.
Realizing there are varying opinions among citizens regarding the methodology used to fill the vacancy, council is striving to utilize the fairest approach that is truly representative of the direct wishes of the electorate.
To that end, the majority of council has decided to hold a byelection for the vacant position and encourages anyone wishing to run for the position to make their declaration.
This current vacancy is somewhat unique in that, unlike other circumstances, it involves a commitment of nearly three years of the current term of council.
This represents nearly a full term of prior councils and the majority of council feels that the citizens should directly decide, through byelection, the new council member.
Another important exercise council has begun is the identification and allocation of town-owned properties for residential development.
The shortage of available building lots within the community has become a source of concern for the town, as well as other local entities trying to attract professionals to the area.
It is very encouraging that people are looking to build homes within the community, and we believe the town must play an active role in helping to foster this residential development.
I thank you for your time, and I look forward to providing citizens with continuing updates.

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