April 24, 2018
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Sidewalk, firetruck bonds approved on MDI

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

MOUNT DESERT ISLAND, Maine — Two island towns held their annual town meetings this week, with each electing at least one new selectman and approving budgets of several million dollars.

In Mount Desert, three new selectmen were elected to the board on Monday, according to Town Manager Durlin Lunt. Dennis Shubert and John Macauley each were elected to three-year terms on the board, while Sumner Rulon-Miller was elected to a one-year term. Shubert and Macauley replace Jean Bonville and Charles Bucklin, who each decided not to seek re-election, while Rulon-Miller replaces Marilyn Damon, who resigned from her seat in February.

As for the town’s expenses, voters approved on Tuesday an overall annual budget of $14,130,547, which includes “everything,” Durlin said, including school expenses. The local elementary school budget, he said, is $2,904,233 while the town’s share of Mount Desert Island High School budget is $2,315,208. The high school budget was approved at an islandwide meeting held in April.

Voters also approved borrowing $1.5 million to upgrade sidewalks in the local villages of Northeast Harbor, Seal Harbor, Otter Creek and Somesville, Lunt said.

Lunt said preliminary estimates of the town’s property taxes indicate that the local tax rate may increase from $5.83 for each $1,000 of a property’s value to $5.89. For a local property with an assessed value of $300,000, he said, that property’s tax bill would increase by about $17.

In Southwest Harbor, voters on Monday approved an overall municipal budget of $3.4 million and an elementary school budget of $3.13 million. The town’s share of the MDI High School budget is expected to be $1.25 million, according to information in the town’s annual report.

The town’s budgets are expected to result in an increase in the local tax rate from $10.85 for each $1,000 of a property’s value to $11.02, according to information in the town report. For a property with an assessed value of $100,000, that would result in a tax bill increase of $17.

In elections on Tuesday, voters approved 16 local ordinance changes and elected Tom Benson as a new selectman, replacing outgoing board member Trudy Bickford, Town Clerk Beatrice Grinnell said Thursday. Ralph Dunbar Jr., chairman of the Board of Selectmen, was re-elected to another three-year term while challenger Sandra Johnson fell short in her bid for a selectman’s seat.

Ingrid Kachmar and Erika Lindquist each were re-elected to the school board, beating out challenger Michael Sawyer, according to Grinnell. Voters also approved a proposal to let the town borrow up to $750,000 for the purchase of a new firetruck, she said.

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