Budget, fireworks on agenda

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Voters on Monday will consider a $3.17 million municipal budget and $3.46 million for the Pemetic Elementary School at the annual open town meeting.

The next day, they will go to the polls to elect two selectmen, a School Committee member and decide whether to enact an ordinance concerning the use of consumer fireworks.

The open town meeting Monday is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the Pemetic Elementary School gymnasium. Polls are open Tuesday at the fire station from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The proposed $3.17 million municipal budget for 2006-2017 is about $3,300 less than the current fiscal year. Therefore there would be no increase in property taxes due to the municipal side of the total budget.

About $253,000 of the municipal budget is for administration, an increase of $9,300.

The proposed police department budget is $463,500, an increase of $8,400. The increase primarily is due to a need for technology upgrades in the department.

In a related budget line, $256,000 is proposed for dispatch services, a decrease of about $3,000.

The highway department budget of $323,100 is about $5,800 less than for this year.

Open town meeting voters also will be asked to approve $31,800 in funding requests from 11 community service organizations. The requests range from a high of $10,000 for the Island Explorer bus service to a low of $1,000 for Hospice of Hancock County.

In separate warrant articles, voters will consider a $55,000 request from the Southwest Harbor Public Library, $56,340 for Harbor House Community Service Center and $57,500 for the Southwest Harbor/Tremont Nursing Service. The amounts are the same as for this year’s budget. Selectmen recommend passage of all three articles.

The $3.46 million for the Pemetic Elementary School reflects a 4.25 percent, or $141,200, increase. If approved, the owner of a $200,000 property would see a $49.24 increase in property taxes.

Salary increases and rising health insurance costs figure into the higher budget. Another significant factor is an additional $123,000 for special education services, services the school is mandated to provide for special needs students.

Selectmen are recommending that all school articles carry at the amounts in the Pemetic budget as proposed. The Warrant Committee is asking voters to slash $88,400 from that amount.

Four candidates are running for two seats on the Board of Selectmen. Incumbents George Jellison and David Minctons face challengers Chad Terry and Jesse Dunbar.

Dani Piquette-Kelly and Michael Sawyer are vying for a seat on the School Committee. Incumbent Steve Hudson is the only candidate on the ballot for a seat on the high school Board of Trustees.

Voters will consider an ordinance that would prohibit the sale and use of consumer fireworks in the town. Several residents proposed the ordinance, citing excessive noise and safety issues as concerns. Selectmen, however, have opined that the ordinance would be difficult to enforce.

Another ballot question asks voters if they wish to continue as a member of the Municipal Review Committee and authorize that body to enter into an agreement with Fiberight LLC for solid waste disposal.

Also on the ballot are questions asking voters to enact a new floodplain management ordinance that meets redrawn federal requirements and appropriates almost $126,400 in undesignated surplus funds for a capital improvement plan for road projects and highway garage reconstruction.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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