A cold and very windy March day did not deter a crowd from assembling for Swan’s Island’s Annual Town Meeting, held at the Swan’s Island School on Monday, March 3. Along with the voting residents and a few off-island guests, the eighth grade was in attendance, taking notes of the proceedings on their laptop computers for later classroom use.

There was only one change in town officers, with Tammy Tripler taking her place on the S.A.D. #76 board. Gwen May, our town clerk, was re-elected while absent, as she is caring for her husband, Roger, who is undergoing cancer treatment in Seattle. Lotti Keene and Jill Philbrook were nominated as substitutes until Gwen returns. Our selectmen are Dexter Lee, Bill Banks and John Grace. Monica Cease remains as Town Treasurer. Many thanks to those who serve on the boards that oversee the many aspects of town administration, historical preservation and educational opportunity.

The first article generating much discussion asked what amount of money the town would raise for law enforcement. There is some concern over the amount needed to house our police officer. The article was funded as suggested by the selectmen, with the debate likely to continue.

Another item of continued interest in the area of housing concerns teachers and others who move to the island and cannot find a year-round place to rent. (This has been ongoing for as long as I can remember and a solution seems to continue to be just beyond our reach.)

The voters present decided that keeping the last morning ferry trip at 10:30 instead of returning it to 11:00 would better serve those who might be in need of an emergency trip to the mainland. It seems that if the members of the ferry crew on duty have used up most or all of their hours at sea, an emergency trip could be canceled or altered, or a scheduled trip could be deleted.

One of the larger increases in suggested spending is directly linked to having an old-fashioned winter. Salt prices have risen and proposed expenditures for next years snow removal budget was raised $10,000, an increase of 25 percent.

Another item that was brought before the town was a request by the Swan’s Island Music Program. Two years ago, the Island Institute sent to the island a Fellow, Candyce Dunham, who teaches music. This year, she continues to teach music in our school and offers lessons after school in many instruments: harp, violin, piano, drums and guitar. An adult choir for those in high school and beyond is also offered. Because of the money involved in the purchase of instruments and the desire not to stop beginner music students before they really begin, the Institute agreed to fund the program for a second year. Next year, though, it cannot fund the program. Fellows placements are for up to two years. The Institute has pledged to fund one-third while helping us to set up the program on a more permanent basis. The school is hiring Mrs. Dunham as a music teacher next year. The board asked the town if it would give the last third of the amount required while the board looks for funding and decides how the program will continue. There was some discussion as to who should receive town-funded music lessons and many felt as though adults should definitely be paying for their own. It was also mentioned that in other towns, families paid for their children’s music lessons. The Island Institute has provided a unique opportunity that has been well received and used by participants and listeners. The Music Board now needs to decide how to proceed. At this point, it wants to raise the funds needed to pay the town back. The request passed.

Town meeting was finished and all were home and tucked in from the wintry blast by 3 p.m. Much had been discussed and decided.

Candis Joyce lives on Swan’s Island.