About 50 Cranberry Isles voters sacrificed a sunny day to attend a special town meeting on Aug. 9 in the Islesford Neighborhood House. With only 13 items on the warrant, the meeting was intended as a housekeeping event, reaffirming some votes from the annual town meeting while passing some necessary ordinances. However, some money that had been previously authorized was revoked and several ordinances had to be tabled because of technicalities.
The selectmen were seeking second approval of funding for a new public bathroom on Great Cranberry; to extend a loan on a house residing on the Manset property and to approve money to construct a new town office. The loan was extended without problem, but voters elected to not approve money for the bathroom and town office. Instead, residents chose to amend the items to lower amounts intended for planning, requiring selectmen to go back to voters before further action.
Termed “a major shift in the way the town does business” by several voters, these actions remove the precedent of approving the estimated full amount of a project, in favor of more voter involvement in planning.
A street name and addressing ordinance passed easily. However, a solid waste disposal ordinance was turned down. A harbor management ordinance and a municipal fire department ordinance were both tabled. Voters had not been provided with the full text of the fire department ordinance 30 days beforehand, as legally required, and the harbor ordinance had not received the amount of public discussion that voters felt necessary. Both items will be taken up again at a later date.
In other votes, a move by Phil Whitney to expand the Board of Selectmen from three to five members was turned down after a lengthy discussion; the town authorized the selectmen to sell a building on the Manset property; a loan to fix the Great Cranberry wharf was reauthorized, and a Community Development Block Grant for a new fire truck was accepted. The voters also gave the new Municipal Facilities Commission control over various leases and issues on the Manset property and the islands.