Connell succeeds Beal on Cranberry Isles Select Board

CRANBERRY ISLES — Joe Connell was elected to a three-year term on the Select Board at the March 12 annual town meeting; he replaces long-time board member and chair Richard Beal, who chose not to run for another term. 

Cory Alley was elected by his fellow board members to succeed Beal as chair. 

School Committee Chair Amy Palmer was reelected to a three-year term on the committee. 

Voters at the annual town meeting approved an education budget for the coming fiscal year of $937,653, an increase of 15.2 percent over the current year’s budget. 

The town’s appropriation for education is increasing from $518,187 to $643,590. 

Accounting for a sizable portion of the increase is a more than doubling of the budget for facilities maintenance at Ashley Bryan and Longfellow schools to $122,872. 

Principal Haley Fenton explained that the additional money is to start funding “many facility projects including foundation repair at both schools, exterior painting, playground renovations and resolving drainage issues at Ashley Bryan School.” 

The education budget also includes an increase for school administration from $34,980 to $54,129. 

“The increase…is to create a part-time high school liaison position to help manage the complexities of students attending high school, particularly at MDI,” Fenton said. “This position will serve as a point of contact for parents and facilitate resolving issues around commuting, boarding and more.” 

She said the additional funding also will allow the principal’s position to go from 30 percent of full time to 40 percent “to reflect the administrative duties required and to create a part-time percentage that can be combined with other positions more readily…which will help with retaining or recruiting administrators.” 

Fenton is also part-time principal at the elementary schools on Swan’s Island and Frenchboro.  

Classes will be held next year at Longfellow School on Great Cranberry Island, with a projected enrollment of 10 K-8 students. The town’s education budget also includes tuition for 12 of the islands’ students to attend high school at Mount Desert Island High School or on the mainland. 

Voters at the annual town meeting approved a municipal budget, including school funding, of just under $2.76 million, with $2.21 million to be raised through property taxes. 

Voters also approved the 15 Mansell Lane Committee’s recommendation that the town continue to own that property in the Southwest Harbor village of Manset and to spend $4,500 to upgrade the existing parking area there “to immediately improve peak-season parking for residents and visitors.” 

Voters also authorized town officials to spend $31,500 to demolish the existing building at 15 Mansell Lane and to explore potential future uses for that 0.65-acre property. 

The town of Cranberry Isles owns a 2-acre lot on the Manset waterfront, and voters at town meeting authorized spending up to $60,000 “for engineering and design services for a capital project for the purpose of constructing a year-round dock at the Cranberry Isles’ Manset property.” Voters also authorized spending up to $20,000 for engineering and design work “for the purpose of developing additional parking” at the Manset property.  

In other town meeting action, voters authorized spending $200,168 over the next three years to continue the early morning and late afternoon commuter ferry service between Northeast Harbor and the Cranberry Isles. The service is partially funded by a federal grant. 

Voters rejected a proposal to use $25,000, previously approved for the installation of solar panels at the town office, for an electric generator system at the town office to provide protection for water and heating systems and allow the post office to remain open during power outages. 


Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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