HARPSWELL, Maine — The Harpswell Board of Selectmen has ruled out having an ATM on town property after determining it would be too much of a liability.
The proposal came in May from the Harpswell Business Association, which believes the town’s lack of ATMs puts a hurdle in front of local business customers.
Gail Kass, who works in marketing for HBA and co-owns Ash Cove Pottery, previously said there has been a “really strong demand” from businesses for a local ATM.
“There are a lot of small businesses and not many take credit cards,” Kass said. “There is a need for it, and if people have cash in their pocket, they are more likely to spend it.”
The closest ATMs are in Brunswick, near Bowdoin College and at Cook’s Corner.
“It would be handy in one sense, but I do feel it would be a liability,” said Selectman Rick Daniel, who also raised concerns July 25 about how the town would choose an ATM provider.
Town Administrator Kristi Eiane provided feedback from town staff, the town’s insurance company, the city of Portland, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and local ATM providers.
“There was a concern that some staff members would not be comfortable, particularly working at night with a machine that had cash on the facility,” Eiane said.
The town administrator said besides Portland, she couldn’t find any other communities that have ATMs on municipal property. She said only a few were considering doing so.
Eiane said if any damage were to happen to the ATM and surrounding areas on town property, it would likely be covered by the company responsible for servicing the machine, according to the town’s insurance company.
Eiane also said that while the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office did not know of any specific instances of vandalism on town property, it was aware vandalism could be an issue for a town with its own ATM.
Heeding feedback from town staff alone, board Chairwoman Elinor Multer said she was not interesting in pursuing the proposal.
“I have no great desire to push this, particularly in light of staff concerns,” Multer said. “If there is a business that would like to take it on, that would seem appropriate. I don’t think we will pursue it anymore and see what happens.”