MOUNT DESERT — Voters at next week’s town meeting will elect town officials and will have the final say on municipal and elementary school budgets for next year, as well as bonds for road, broadband and streetscape projects and a symbolic resolution designating Mount Desert a “sanctuary community.”
May 1 election
The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. next Monday at the Somesville fire station for the annual municipal elections.
Two candidates, Gordon Beck and Wendy Littlefield, are competing for one two-year term on the Board of Selectmen.
Two three-year terms are up for election, and there are two candidates: Selectman John Macauley and former Selectman Rick Mooers.
Charlie Wray is running unopposed for another three-year term on the Mount Desert School Committee.
Heather Jones, who was appointed last year to fill a vacant seat on the Mount Desert Island High School Board of Trustees, is running unopposed for a three-year term.
May 2 open meeting
The open floor town meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the gym at Mount Desert Elementary School. Neighborhood House will provide a free meal for those who come early, and the school’s eighth-grade class will sell desserts to raise money for a class trip.
Residents will vote on a proposed municipal budget for next year, totaling $8.9 million. That is 2 percent more than the current year’s budget.
The proposed elementary school budget of $4.25 million represents an increase of 7.4 percent. But because three of the one-time, big-ticket items in the budget are to be paid for out of the school’s maintenance reserve account, the town’s appropriation for the school would go up only 3.32 percent.
Also to be voted on are amendments to the land use zoning ordinance that include changes in land use district designations, rules regarding access to lots in certain circumstances and road standards for subdivisions.
Residents will be asked to approve a bond issue of up to $500,000 to pay half the cost of rebuilding 1.1 miles of Route 198 from just north of the Parkman Mountain parking area to the Giant Slide Trailhead. The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) would pay the other half.
Also on the town meeting warrant is a proposal to borrow up to $350,000 to pay half the cost of extending high-speed internet service to the Pretty Marsh area. Internet service provider Spectrum would pay the other half.
A proposal to issue bonds of up to $274,000 for engineering and design services for a major makeover of Main Street in Northeast Harbor also is on the warrant.
At last year’s town meeting, voters authorized the town to borrow up to $150,000 for “technical and construction services” associated with replacing all of the town’s street lights with more energy efficient LEDs. Now, voters are being asked to authorize borrowing up to $32,500 more for the project.
Voters also will decide whether to approve borrowing up to $33,500 to complete the reconstruction of the boat landing off Grover Avenue in Otter Creek. Last year, town meeting voters approved the expenditure of up to $45,000 for the project.
Two articles were placed on the town meeting warrant by way of citizen petitions. One is a resolution declaring Mount Desert a sanctuary community. Among the purposes of the resolution, according to the language of the warrant article, are to “protect the independence of our local law enforcement by refusing to require police or town employees to serve as enforcers of federal immigration law” and to “guarantee that law enforcement officials shall not detain an individual solely on the basis of a civil immigration detainer.”
Town Manager Durlin Lunt and Police Chief Jim Willis have said the resolution, if passed, would have no effect on the police department’s policies or practices because the town charter does not give voters at town meeting the authority to decide which laws will and will not be enforced.
“We are all sworn to uphold federal, state and local laws. That won’t change,” Willis said.
The other warrant article brought by a citizen petition would authorize the Board of Selectmen to support the Otter Creek Aid Society’s request that Acadia National Park honor its “original foundation principles.” Town officials have said the meaning of that is unclear and that the resolution would have no practical effect.