SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Voters agreed last week to provide additional funds for a project that has ballooned in costs from $842,000 to over $2.6 million.
Secret ballot votes were cast during a special town meeting on Sept. 1 to appropriate an additional $802,769 for the Main Street Sidewalk, Drainage, Water & Sewer Improvements Project. The requested amount for grading, drainage, utility and right-of-way work, which has required more money due to an increase in material and labor costs, was approved 69-14.
Southwest Harbor residents have been waiting since 2017 when Don Lagrange, who was town manager at the time, announced that the town was awarded just under half a million dollars in grant money for reconstruction of the sidewalk from Apple Lane to Village at Oceans End. The project was estimated to cost approximately $840,000.
Prior to last Thursday’s vote, the town had raised $1,799,075 for the project, according to Town Manager Marilyn Lowell.
Voters approved $1,055,135 at the 2019 town meeting for the work. That year, voters also gave the town permission to accept available funds from the Maine Department of Transportation or other sources.
An additional $743,740 from the town’s reserves was appropriated at the annual town meeting in June of this year, but the town has faced delays in securing right-of-way easements from property owners and inflated costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recent bids from R.F. Jordan & Sons Construction and Sargent (construction) were higher than expected. “A bid was almost a million dollars more, but we can’t award it until we show that we have the money,” Lowell said.