BAR HARBOR — The Town Council and voters here will have several decisions to make in the coming months about development of the former international ferry terminal on Eden Street.
In November, the council accepted an advisory committee report and acted to exercise an option to purchase the property from the Maine Department of Transportation for $3.5 million.
At last week’s council meeting, Councilor Gary Friedmann laid out the timeline for the next several steps in the process.
The council and Warrant Committee review the budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins in July. Current plans are for that budget to include $3.5 million in a Capital Improvement Program account to be spent in the property purchase, and $3.5 million in revenue from a bond, which must be approved separately by voters.
“We’re gonna have to go ahead and use the $3.5 million in the budget discussions before we get the consultant’s report” on a business plan for the property, Friedmann said.
Town meeting considers the budget. “The consultant’s report will basically help inform the discussion around the June town meeting that’s going to actually make the decision about whether to pass the bond,” he said.
If the bond issue is approved by voters, the town has until November to actually issue the bond and close on the purchase with the state.
“And then, maybe in that time, we’ve been looking at the business plan and our options and we make a decision about how we want to develop that site,” Friedmann said. “It’s going to cost many millions more no matter what we want to do there.
“And at that point,” he continued, “there might be a recommendation to [operate the new facility] through a department of the town, or there could be a recommendation to create a port authority to take that on.”
Creation of a port authority also would require voter approval.