TREMONT — Selectmen on Tuesday said they are satisfied with the intent of a section of a pending congressional bill dealing with the so-called “reverter clause” in the deed to the town’s K-8 school and see no need to advocate for changes.
In August 1950, land was transferred to the town from Acadia National Park for the purpose of constructing a school. The deed includes a clause that, if the land were no longer used for “school purposes,” then the property would revert to the United States of America and Acadia National Park.
A bill recently introduced by Sen. Angus King called the “Acadia National Park Boundary Clarification Act” addresses, among other national park issues, the Tremont Consolidated School property. If the bill becomes law, the school property would “no longer be required to be used exclusively and perpetually for school purposes if the land is being used for public purposes.”
The “public purposes” condition differs from a previous legislative attempt to eliminate the reverter clause. In September 2014, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 4527, which exclusively dealt with the issue. The school property, in that bill, would “no longer be required to be used exclusively and perpetually for school purposes and upon the discontinuance of such use of said land, or any part thereof, shall no longer be required to revert to the United States.” That bill later died in the Senate.
Town Manager Dana Reed pointed out the difference between the two bills to selectmen.
“I don’t know if that’s a problem for selectmen, but I thought I’d make you aware of it,” Reed said.
The “public” use piece, Reed said, would limit what the town could do with the property if the school should close.
No vote was taken, but selectmen were in agreement that the new condition was not a problem. Kevin Buck did express some concern.
“Personally, I don’t want to see the restriction there, but I don’t see a problem in the long run,” Buck said. “The biggest thing is, ‘What is a public purpose?’”
Selectmen did vote 5-0 to support an amendment to that same bill. Tremont is one of the five member towns of the nonprofit quasi-municipal Acadia Disposal District (ADD), which manages solid waste disposal and recycling efforts in the towns. The ADD is sending a letter to Maine’s senators asking that the bill be amended to include the release of $350,000 in federal funds that were approved 30 years ago for solid waste disposal and recycling on Mount Desert Island.
Selectmen also gave the nod to a paving project on the Kelleytown Road. R.F. Jordan and Sons of Ellsworth is to redo 4,550 feet of the road on the northern end for $237,000.
R.F. Jordan was the sole bidder for the project. An earlier bid of $291,400 was deemed beyond the town’s budget, and the project engineer worked with the company to get the cost in line with available funds.