Islands’ budget is nearly flat Town Meeting March 14

CRANBERRY ISLES — It’s not often that voters are asked to approve a school budget that is smaller than the budget for the previous year and a municipal budget that represents an increase of less than 1 percent. But that will be the case at the annual Town Meeting on Saturday, March 14.

The meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Islesford Neighborhood House.

One seat on the Board of Selectmen is up for election at Town Meeting, as Selectmen Joy Sprague’s three-year term is expiring. The same is the case with Darlene Sumner’s seat on the School Committee.

The proposed $773,681 school budget is $3,071 lower than the budget for the current year. Because of projected increases in revenue from other sources, the amount of local tax money required will drop by $28,38 to $562,982.

There are 11 students this year at Ashley Bryan School on Islesford. The same number is expected next year when classes switch back to Longfellow School on Great Cranberry Island.

The school budget includes tuition payments totaling $111,591 for nine Cranberry Isles students to attend Mount Desert Island High School.

In addition to the school budget, voters at Town Meeting will be asked to approve spending just over $1.96 million for municipal operations. That is 0.7 percent more than the budget for the current year.

Next year’s budget calls for increasing spending for road projects from $100,000 to $400,000 to cover the reconstruction of Harding Point Road on Great Cranberry Island and Co-Op Road on Islesford.

At the same time, the public safety budget will drop from $445,519 to $88,300. The budget for the current year was so high because it included $350,000 for the purchase of a new fire truck for Great Cranberry Island.

Under the proposed budget, Public Safety Coordinator Katelyn Damon’s salary will go from $28,100 to $38,220. Damon announced in October that she planned to resign effective this month. But the selectmen persuaded her to stay on and recommended the pay increase.

“They considered her too valuable in terms of the work she’s done for the community,” said Jim Fortune, administrative assistant to the selectmen.

“She lives right here in the community and knows it quite well. So, they felt it was more advantageous to the town for her to stay on rather than trying to find somebody else to fill that role.”

Town Meeting voters will be asked to authorize spending up to $14,300 to install video cameras at the town docks on Islesford and Great Cranberry Island.

“It’s basically just to keep an eye on what’s happening down there,” Fortune said.

“We’ve had some damage at the docks from time to time. Pretty much all of it’s accidental, but we need to follow up on it.”

He said packages that are left on the dock for people to pick up occasionally go missing.

“We’ve had to track things down, and usually we can find them.”

He said the security cameras would make that easier.

Voters also will be asked to authorize spending up to $20,000 to renovate a house that the town owns on Mansell Lane in Southwest Harbor to create two apartments for rent.

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]

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