Moderator Terry Staples stands at the podium during the Swan’s Island annual town meeting while residents drop their votes of yes or no in the ballot box. Voters approved Article 42, which increases the town's property tax limit. ISLANDER PHOTO BY SARAH HINCKLEY

Budget, land gift approved at postponed town meeting

SWAN’S ISLAND — Residents gathered Saturday to pick up where the annual town meeting left off when it was cut short by snow on Monday, March 4.

Fewer than 10 people gathered on the originally posted meeting day. They elected Terry Staples as the moderator then the group voted to adjourn and reconvene on Saturday at 9 a.m. This was in keeping with state law that requires some sort of meeting on the day it is posted to take place.

On Saturday, voters passed a total budget of $704,045 to be raised by taxes. Mill rate for the taxpayers will be determined later this spring once the assessor’s information is available. Town officials agreed it was a calm meeting with most warrant articles passing without discussion. Lunch was served at noon with 11 articles left to be voted on and the meeting wrapped up at 1:45 p.m.

Although the topic was not on the warrant, Dale Joyce presented an update on the possibility of bringing higher speed internet to the island. He’s the chairman of a town broadband committee.

One resident asked if there could be a show of hands among residents who support the idea. A majority of hands showed in favor of bringing broadband to Swan’s Island, but more research and planning needs to be done. There were a few residents who raised their hands against the idea. Selectmen voiced their support of the option.

Voters agreed to accept the gift of 1,086 feet of waterfront property offered by the owners of the Mohler estate. Used as a public beach for many years, the Mohler Beach is now the property of the town.

Trustees of the Baptist Church were awarded the deed to the property the church sits on by a unanimous vote. The property had been in the hands of the town for most of the time since the town was established.

Selectman Jason Joyce was re-elected to his seat on the select board after being nominated by a member of the public. Joyce will serve the town for another three years on that board.

Warrant articles three and four were tabled in order for selectmen to decide at a future board meeting who will be the town’s assessor(s) and overseer of the poor.

Gwen May was re-elected to be the town’s tax collector for another three-year term. She will receive $5,000 a year plus fees as a stipend for the position. Residents voted to officially make Dexter Lee the island’s sexton. Lee has overseen the care of the island’s cemeteries for years and now has the official title to accompany his role.

Two seats were open on the school board of directors. Voters elected Emmy Joyce to replace Jamie Rose, who opted not to run again. Lindsay Staples was re-elected. Both positions will be for three-year terms.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

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

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