Fire truck, breakwater, elevator lift town budget

CRANBERRY ISLES — Voters at the annual town meeting here on Saturday, March 16, will be asked to approve municipal spending for the coming fiscal year of $2.72 million, which is 15.2 percent higher than the current year’s budget.

Most of the increase in spending, $350,000, is for the purchase of a new tanker truck for the Great Cranberry Island Volunteer Fire Department. Voters will be asked to authorize the town to borrow up to that amount.

The proposed town budget includes $776,752 for K-12 education, an increase of 11.4 percent.

Two factors are mainly responsible for that increase. One is a projected increase in special education costs from $66,790 to $134,328. The other major factor is a hike in facilities costs from $56,280 to $85,280.

Much of that increase is for the installation of a new elevator at Longfellow School on Great Cranberry Island. An elevator was installed as part of the renovation of the school that was completed in early 2016 at a cost of nearly $600,000.

“But we had to take out the lift because it had a lot of problems and was unsafe,” said Kelly Sanborn, who chairs the school committee. “We got our money back for it, so we have enough money to get a new one. But there are modifications that need to be made to the area to install it, so we need money for that.”

Voters at town meeting will be asked to authorize the town to borrow up to $75,000 for a breakwater in Islesford harbor.

The breakwater would be built by reconfiguring the large granite blocks in the water in front of the Islesford Historical Museum property. According to the warrant article, the proposed breakwater would “provide a wider berth for barging vessels using the Islesford barge ramp and improve overall boating safety in the harbor.”

Voters also will be asked to approve spending up to $30,000 to complete renovations and other improvements for the new town office.

The proposed budget for municipal facilities is down more than 36 percent, from $475,260 to $343,460. A large part of that is a reduction in spending for broadband network infrastructure from $100,000 to zero. The network build-out has been completed.

Town meeting voters will decide whether to approve a recommendation from the town’s seven-member Municipal Advisory Committee that it be disbanded. According to the warrant article, the committee recommends that the board of selectmen “explore other ways to involve community members in the decision-making process, such as having a warrant committee and other ad-hoc committees for specific projects as needed.”

The March 16 town meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. at Cranberry House on Great Cranberry Island.

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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