Budget, beach property, church title on warrant

SWAN’S ISLAND — Residents will vote on whether to accept one piece of property and give away another, at least on paper, at this year’s annual town meeting.

Set to take place at the Swan’s Island School on Monday, March 4 at 9 a.m., residents of the island will vote on 42 warrant articles.

There are at least 10 public official seats open, including a seat on the board of selectmen. Voters will also choose a tax collector and two director seats on the S.A.D. 76 school board.

All open seats on municipal boards and committees are voted from the floor during the annual town meeting. Budget amounts are, too: though voters are guided by suggestions from selectmen, each article asking for the amount of funds raised is left open for discussion.

Prior to town meeting, the suggested total ask of residents to raise for fiscal year 2020 is $651,045 to meet town budget needs. There is $105,000 being carried over from surplus and excise tax amounts from vehicles and water crafts that total just over $50,000 that are not included in that total.

In article Six, residents are being asked if they want to re-establish the position of sexton for the town. The role of a sexton is an overseer of maintenance for a church and/or cemeteries and the digging of graves. A resident of the island has been fulfilling the role for many years, according to Administrative Assistant Karen Griffin, voters are being asked to make it an official town position.

Used by the public for decades as a beach on Swan’s Island, the Mohler family is officially offering up a 1,086-foot span of oceanfront property to the town. In Article 35 on the warrant, residents are being asked to vote to accept the parcel of land known as Mohler Beach at no cost.

The Mohler property is extensive and includes a house that is not part of the offering to the town.

In Article 37, voters are being asked to release the lot of land upon which the Baptist Church stands to the trustees of the church. The property has been in the hands of the church, according to Myron “Sonny” Sprague, Jr., who chairs the board of selectmen, but the church does not possess an official deed. In order to establish the boundaries of the property and be clear on septic rights, a deed to the church from the town is necessary, Sprague explained.

Voters are being asked in Article 39 to authorize selectmen to sell or dispose of tax-acquired property. There are currently 17 properties owned by the town due to delinquent taxes. One of those is under a payment agreement with the former owners.

Residents gathered on Feb. 26 to approve the school budget for fiscal year 2020. Voter approved a total budget for S.A.D. 76 of $1,515,996 which equates to a tax assessment of $1,257,378 for residents once carry over and state subsidy funds are factored into the total.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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