SOUTHWEST HARBOR — A municipal budget for next fiscal year of just under $3.18 million will go to voters at town meeting in May.
The 2015-2016 budget is 1 percent higher than the budget for the current year, with no big changes in any spending category. The total budget increase is $31,579.
This is the first time in four years that the proposed budget is higher than the budget for the previous year. The municipal budget does not include the Pemetic Elementary School budget, the town’s share of the Mount Desert Island High School budget or the town’s Hancock County assessment.
Following four budget deliberation sessions earlier this month, the board of selectmen last week voted to send the budget to the warrant committee for its review and to place the budget on the town meeting warrant.
Road ordinance change
Also to be voted on at town meeting is a proposed amendment to the road ordinance that would allow selectmen to accept as a town way a privately built road that meets town construction standards.
Currently, a privately built road can only become a town road by a vote of residents at town meeting.
The planning board recommended the change to encourage developers to build roads to town standards. Developers are less likely to meet those standards without a guarantee that the town will accept the road, planning board member Lee Worcester told the selectmen last week.
“The town has generally accepted roads of reasonable quality, but this just takes the ‘if’ out of it,” he said.
Dan Norwood, chairman of the board of selectmen, said the proposed ordinance change makes sense for the town and for developers.
“If a developer builds a road to the right and proper standards, he would know that it’s going to be accepted, as opposed to being at the whim of the town [voters] at the time,” he said.
The selectmen voted unanimously to place the proposed road ordinance amendment on the town meeting warrant.