MOUNT DESERT — By a margin of 61-25, voters at the annual town meeting Tuesday night authorized the town to borrow up to $5.24 million to expand the fire station in Northeast Harbor.
The project involves adding a truck bay and a second story to provide living quarters for fire and EMS personnel.
A few people who spoke prior to the vote objected to the cost of the fire station project. A few others expressed support.
Public Works Director Tony Smith said, “The town office with the fire station was a gift to this town at no cost. The Somesville fire station and meeting room was a gift to the town at no cost. The lion’s share of the cost of the Seal Harbor fire station and meeting room was picked up by somebody else. I think it’s time for us to pony up and pay our way with this fire station.”
By voice vote and without discussion, voters approved a fire department budget for next fiscal year of just under $2 million, which is $1.29 million more than the current year’s budget. The bulk of the increase is the result of the fire department taking over the EMS responsibilities of the Northeast Harbor Ambulance Service and hiring additional fire/EMS personnel.
Voters also approved a Mount Desert Elementary School budget for next year of $4.94 million. That represents a decrease from the current year’s budget of $45,918.
Voters at the Tuesday town meeting also authorized the town to borrow up to $344,000 to build a secure fiber network from the Somesville fire station to connect with Bar Harbor’s network at the intersection of Route 3 and Eagle Lake Road and then continue to the Town Hall in Northeast Harbor. That is to support the police and fire departments’ records management systems, camera systems, dispatch telephone systems and new radio consoles.
Incumbent Select Board member Wendy Littlefield and former board member Rick Mooers were elected to three-year terms on the board in secret ballot voting on Monday. Littlefield received 106 votes, Mooers 91.
Incumbent Gail Marshall was elected to a one-year term on the Mount Desert School Committee with 110 votes. Jarrod Kushla was elected to a three-year term with 87 votes. Write-in candidate Jennica Piecuch was elected to a three-year term with 50 votes.
Julianna Bennoch with 111 votes and Carole Plenty with 106 were reelected to the Mount Desert Island High School Trustees Board, Bennoch to a two-year term and Plenty to a three-year term.