Swan’s Island held its annual town meeting on March 6 to discuss 42 issues on the warrant. The meeting started at 9 a.m. and concluded by 5. Many residents stayed for lunch served by People Interested in Kids (PIK), which used the opportunity to raise funds for the annual community Christmas Party.
The meeting opened with elections of town officials and board members. Terry Staples was elected moderator, a position he has held in the past. Carroll Staples was elected as a first-time selectman, a position he will hold for three years. Staples took the place of John Grace, who decided not to run again after serving the town for nine years. Monica Cease was elected treasurer again, and Gwen May was re-elected Town Clerk. The Planning Board gained Carol Loehr as a new member.
The townspeople approved several new policies and expenditures.
The town formed a new housing committee, which will look into options on workforce housing and assisted living possibilities.
The voters approved a new “Family Subsidy Policy,” under which parents sending their children to a sectarian high school would receive a reimbursement for the tuition from the town.
The town accepted a new $880,000 school budget that covers students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Voters also approved up to $300,000 in addition to the $200,000 approved last summer for improvements to the town office. The renovations will likely include an apartment for a police office and a medical clinic. Other funds to support the Swan’s Island Nursery School, the Swan’s Island Educational Society and the Recreation Committee were approved as well.
Some proposed expenditures were voted down. The voters decided against purchasing a new police cruiser and a used fire truck. The town also voted to dispose of the Seaside Hall, which at this time houses a historical collection on Swan’s Island industrial history and life from one hundred years ago.
[The Family Subsidy Policy could turn out to be controversial. The Mount Desert Islander, an area newspaper, subsequently reported that the Maine Civil Liberties Union may challenge the policy on constitutional grounds. — ed.]