June 19, 2018
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Despite recount, $2.9 million bond issue in Rockland still fails

By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — The Public Works department wanted a ballot recount after its request to borrow $2.9 million for a new building was defeated by only 12 votes at the ballot box in November. The department got the recount, but the results showed that the bond issue actually failed by 14 votes.

After the ballots were recounted by hand over about two hours on Tuesday morning in Rockland City Hall, the final tally was 881 yes votes to 895 no votes. The total number of votes cast — 1,776 — is 36 higher than the Nov. 8 tally.

“We had a chance,” said Public Works Director Greg Blackwell. “It went two more votes out of our favor, but there were more votes than were originally counted.”

The department wanted a new building to replace its current home, which has numerous flaws including that it doesn’t have enough space to fit all the trucks, the boiler has been on the fritz for years, snow blows through holes in the walls, there are no fire alarms or sprinklers and the building is not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Now that the vote is final, something still has to be done, Blackwell said Tuesday after the recount. His department has created an in-house committee to figure out a plan.

“Now we know we need to modify the plans,” Blackwell said. “[We’ll have to] reduce the number or figure out a new plan to present because our needs won’t go away.”

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