Bangor voters turn out to determine fate of school budget, library roof bond

Posted June 18, 2013, at 9:20 a.m.
Last modified June 18, 2013, at 4 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Voters are heading to the new Cross Insurance Center on Main Street Tuesday to decide whether to validate the city’s $42 million school budget and whether to support a $3 million bond to repair the roof on the Bangor Public Library.

There are three questions on the ballot.

The first issue is the Bangor School Departments $42 million budget, which the City Council approved during a June 3 meeting.

Question 2 asks whether voters want to continue to hold referendums on the school budget for the next three years. A yes vote means residents will continue to have to approve the school budget. A no vote means the City Council’s approval of the school budget will make it final without going before voters.

The final question is whether the city should take out a $3 million bond to replace Bangor Public Library’s failing 100-year-old copper roof. Officials say “Band-Aids” won’t work anymore.

For the bond to pass, a majority of voters in the election would need to approve the loan. However, if the total number of votes cast is less than 10 percent of the registered voters in the city, then the bond question will automatically pass, even if a majority of voters don’t approve.

The bond is one-third of a $9 million renovation and modernization project, according to library Director Barbara McDade. Stephen and Tabitha King have pledged $3 million toward the effort, but only if the bond passes and the library raises another $3 million on its own.

The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and voters should use the Dutton Street entrance to the Cross Insurance Center. Overflow parking is available at the Hollywood Casino parking garage.

City Clerk Lisa Goodwin said Tuesday afternoon voters have been streaming in throughout the day.

Goodwin said as of 3:30 p.m., 1,200 people have voted, compared with the yearly average of 560 for a special municipal election.

“It’s the combination of the new building and the library roof fund,” she said. “We kind of expected it would go higher than normal.”