CRANBERRY ISLES, Maine — Voters in this offshore town of five islands have decided to help subsidize a commuter ferry service that is expected to start up this fall.
The town has year-round ferry service that makes only three round trips a day from Northeast Harbor to the islands in the winter. Residents hope that by adding early and late ferry service, it will be easier for them to get to and from jobs or high school classes on Mount Desert Island, which is connected to the mainland by a bridge.
“They approved it for one year,” Denise McCormick, the town clerk, said Monday.
The town will provide $35,000 in funding and the state Department of Transportation will provide an additional $11,000 for a total of $46,000 for the service, McCormick said. It is expected that whichever ferry operator provides the service also will collect fares from passengers on each trip.
The town is trying to negotiate a contract with Cranberry Cove Boating Co., which in turn is trying to get approval from the town of Mount Desert to dock its boats at the municipal pier in Northeast Harbor, according to McCormick. She said the service is expected to begin this fall and to run through the spring of 2011.
Voters also approved at last week’s town meeting an overall annual town budget of $1,726,008, according to the town clerk. She said voters considered whether to approve $250,000 for local road improvements but decided to reduce the proposed amount to $130,000, which is included in the overall $1.7 million annual budget.
In elections, Selectman Richard Beal was nominated and elected by a hand vote to another three-year term to the board, McCormick said. For the school board, Barbara Myers was re-elected to a three-year term and Katelyn Damon was elected to a one-year term.