June 19, 2018
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Blue Hill to vote on borrowing for 3 projects

By Rich Hewitt, BDN Staff

BLUE HILL, Maine — Voters will gather Wednesday night for a special town meeting to decide whether to borrow more than $300,000 for three town construction projects and to consider leasing a downtown waterfront building.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Blue Hill Town Hall.

According to Selectman Jim Schatz, the town is seeking to borrow up to $328,250 for three projects. The largest portion of the funds, about $228,250, would be earmarked for reconstruction of the town wharf off Water Street.

“This would restore the wharf, which is in disrepair,” Schatz said Monday. “Basically, we’ll be replacing the wharf.”

A related project in the borrowing package would expand the parking area adjacent to the wharf, used by fishermen and downtown shoppers alike.

Selectmen have eyed improvements to the wharf area for some time and also have revived the idea of dredging the inner harbor to provide all-tide access to the wharf. According to Schatz, the selectmen have approached the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, requesting to investigate that possibility. The corps would need to do an assessment of the harbor before deciding whether a dredging project is feasible, he said.

The final project included in the borrowing package is part of a Safe Routes to School effort involving sidewalk improvements and bridge repairs on High Street near the Blue Hill Consolidated School and George Stevens Academy.

If approved, borrowing for the projects likely would be done through the Maine Bond Bank. Current interest rates are 3.8 percent, which would result in interest estimated at $99,788 over 15 years for a total projected cost of $428,038. However, Schatz said the selectmen will ask voters to authorize them to negotiate with local banks to seek a more favorable rate.

The remaining article on the warrant for the special town meeting will ask voters to authorize a lease agreement with Sergei Breus for his use of the town-owned Stavola building on Water Street. Breus is developing a tidal turbine project, Schatz said, and would use the building for office space. Under the terms of the five-year lease, Breus would make improvements to the building to make it suitable for year-round use.

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