Bar Harbor to vote on more money for pump station upgrade

Posted May 18, 2012, at 12:56 p.m.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — For the second year in a row, local voters will be asked this June to borrow money for improving the town’s water pump station at Duck Brook.

In June 2011, voters approved bonds that included $1.95 million for upgrading some of the water treatment equipment and pumps at the pump station, which is on town-owned property off Duck Brook Road and is accessed through Acadia National Park. This year, town officials are asking voters to approve an additional bond of $925,000 in order to have enough money for the project.

Bar Harbor will hold the open session of its annual town meeting on Tuesday, June 5, and then, in conjunction with the statewide primary election, will hold local elections a week later on June 12. The vote on whether to approve the second bond for the planned pump station upgrade will be held at a special town meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, June 7, at the town’s municipal building on Cottage Street.

Pat Gray, Bar Harbor’s town clerk, said Friday that because of advance deadlines, town officials could not get the pump station bond vote on the warrant for annual town meeting on June 5 or on the ballot for the June 12 election. Because advance deadlines for special town meetings are shorter, she said, town officials had to schedule the pump station bond vote for a special town meeting instead.

According to a written explanation printed in the warrant for the June 7 special town meeting, the additional money is needed because the initial estimates done last year proved to be too low.

“Although the general scope of the project was known last June and a conceptual cost estimate had been developed by our engineers, Woodard & Curran, detailed plans and specifications were not available upon which to base a detailed cost estimate,” town officials wrote in the explanation. “When bids were opened this spring, we found that the amount approved by voters last year was substantially less than the funds needed to complete the project.”

The planned work will replace outdated equipment and bring the pump station up to new federal standards, according to Jeff Van Trump, superintendent for the town’s water department. Most of the cost of the project will involve installation of a new ultraviolet light treatment system and new pumps to replace the 1930s-era pumps that are there now, he said.

Van Trump said the project also will include some building upgrades to the pump station aimed at addressing some safety issues, but he said the building improvements and the safety issues both can be characterized as “minor.”

The town would repay the $925,000 bond over 20 years with an added $435,000 in interest. The overall $1,350,000 that would be repaid would be done so with revenue from water system user fees, not through property taxes.

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