MOUNT DESERT — Voters at the May 3 annual municipal meeting will be asked to authorize the city to borrow up to $5.24 million to expand the Northeast Harbor Fire Hall.
The project would involve the addition of a truck bay and a second floor to provide living quarters for firefighters and EMS personnel. Last year, voters approved spending of up to $357,500 for engineering and design services for the project.
Tuesday’s town meeting will be held in the Mount Desert Elementary School gymnasium beginning at 6 p.m.
Voters will also be asked to authorize the borrowing of up to $344,000 to build a secure fiber network from the Somesville Fire Station to connect to the Bar Harbor network at the intersection of Route 3 and D ‘Eagle Lake Road, then continue to Northeast Harbor City Hall.
An explanation of the mandate reads: “Newly purchased police and fire records management systems, camera systems, dispatch telephone systems and radio consoles will benefit from the increased speed and reliability that this network will provide. As the city moves toward more municipal collaborations with Bar Harbor, the need for secure private network connectivity will grow, and this network will meet those digital needs for years to come.
The Town Assembly’s mandate also includes a proposal to borrow up to $360,000 to pay the town’s share of the cost of replacing two old, undersized culverts that carry water from Denning Brook under Beech Hill Cross Road. . Last year, the city received a $125,000 grant from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to help pay for culvert replacements.
Public Works Director Tony Smith said the existing culverts are in very poor condition.
“It contributes to flooding, pavement sinkholes and pavement washouts,” he said. “Existing culverts also have a negative impact on the passage of animal life through them.”
Voters will also be asked to authorize spending of up to $220,000 from the city’s capital gains reserve account to repair approximately 200 feet of Seal Harbor beach shoreline that was eroded by heavy storm surge. in 2020. The eroded area is downstream of Steamboat Wharf Road.
With voter approval, the city will spend up to $448,000 from an undesignated marina fund account to replace concrete abutments at the Northeast Harbor Marina that provide access to the floats. An inspection revealed that the abutments were showing signs of deterioration and were approaching the end of their service life.
The municipal budget for the 2022-2023 financial year will be voted on in the municipal assembly. The budget for the current year is $10.57 million. The proposed budget for next year is $12.66 million, an increase of $1.9 million.
The Fire Department accounts for approximately $1.29 million of this increase, largely because it takes over EMS responsibilities from the Northeast Harbor Ambulance Service, including the hiring of fire/EMS personnel. The proposed budget for the newly combined Fire Department/EMS is just under $2 million.
The current year budget for Mount Desert Elementary School is $4.98 million. The proposed budget for the next fiscal year is just over $5 million, an increase of less than 1%.
While proposing new spending and borrowing next year, the Select Board also wants to give taxpayers a break. Voters at the town hall will be asked to authorize the use of a total of $1 million from the Undesignated Funds Account and the Capital Gains Reserve Account to reduce the 2022- 2023.
Several proposed amendments to the city’s Land Use Zoning Ordinance (LUZO) will be voted on at the May 3 town hall.
An amendment would clarify that if an area is added to a non-conforming lot that is completely outside the shoreline zone, but there is not enough area added to make it more non-conforming, the lot retains its grandfather status.
Another amendment would require before and after construction photographs for building permits in the Shoreland area.
The next amendment to the Terms of Reference would clarify that only one secondary suite is permitted per lot for lots that are totally outside the waterfront area.
Another LUZO amendment to be voted on would remove a small piece of land on Long Pond from the Resource Protection Area to conform to state waterfront land zoning standards.