MOUNT DESERT — Plans for installing an irrigation system to support the beautification of the Northeast Harbor Marina area won’t be on a fast track for approval.
The Garden Club of Mount Desert wants to improve the appearance of the area with low-maintenance plantings. Both the garden club and the Summer Residents Association have pledged $10,000 to the effort. And Ann Judd, the garden club’s co-chairman for civic projects, said Williams Irrigation Systems in Ellsworth has “basically donated irrigation to be installed around the area.”
Town officials said last month that voters would have to approve such gifts at town meeting next May. And there has been some discussion about holding a special town meeting for that purpose this fall.
But Public Works Director Tony Smith said in an Aug. 31 memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt, “We are all very busy trying to get through 2015 without the added work of a special town meeting, gift or no gift.”
Smith said that because the Village Green area is settling, it should be checked by a geotechnical engineer before any irrigation system is installed because “it’s all muck.”
As for the proposed gift of an irrigation system, Smith told the Board of Selectmen Tuesday night, “Nothing is free. We need to know how much the irrigation system is going to cost us over time. Who’s going to maintain it? How will it be maintained?”
Selectman Tom Richardson said he “couldn’t agree more” with Smith’s recommendation to look at all the ramifications before asking voters to authorize acceptance of the gift of an irrigation system.
Board chairman John Macauley said he, too, agreed.
Selectman Dennis Shubert said, “I strongly support putting in an irrigation system, and it’s nice that someone else will help us with the cost.”
Lunt said he and Smith would look into the likely costs to the town of an irrigation system as they prepare the municipal budget for next year.