Road repairs to boost budget

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Road projects account for much of the 6 percent increase in the municipal budget for next year proposed by Town Manager Don Lagrange.

The preliminary budget he presented to the board of selectmen Tuesday night calls for spending $3.15 million, an increase of more than $181,000 over the current fiscal year.

All but about $15,000 of that increase would be for capital improvements including the repaving of Freeman Ridge Road, Forest Avenue and Wood Street. Lagrange said the cost of the three projects would total $720,000 to $750,000.

“Forest Avenue will be the most expensive because you need the three utilities – storm water, water and sewer – as well as resurfacing the road,” he said. “And my vision is to put a sidewalk on Forest Avenue because there are quite a few pedestrians up and down that street.”

Lagrange said there currently is about $613,000 in capital improvement accounts that could be put toward the road projects. He recommended that the selectmen ask voters at town meeting to authorize using $100,000 to $120,000 in surplus funds to complete funding for the road projects.

“This is so we don’t have to borrow more funds,” Lagrange said. “If, for one year, we can increase the municipal budget by 6 percent to offset the costs of these projects that need to be done, we can avoid future debt service.”

Aside from capital improvements, Lagrange is proposing an increase in the municipal budget of only 1 percent. He reminded the selectmen that last year’s budget was down 3 percent from the previous year and the current year’s budget represents another 2 percent reduction.

“This year, I’m anticipating a 6 percent increase only for a specific purpose (capital improvements), which I don’t anticipate in the following fiscal year,” Lagrange said.

The municipal budget does not include allocations for Pemetic Elementary School or the town’s share of the Mount Desert Island High School budget or the Hancock County budget.

The selectmen will begin their budget deliberations next month. Residents will vote on the budget at town meeting in May.

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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