It took eight hours for townspeople of the Cranberry Isles to work their way through 38 agenda items on the warrant at their annual Town Meeting on Monday, March 9. All chairs were filled and some voters stood during the packed morning session held at the Fire House on Great Cranberry Island.

The meeting started promptly at 9 a.m. All elected officials were unopposed in their nominations, with the following results: this reporter was elected moderator; Denise McCormick, town clerk, town treasurer, and collector of taxes; Sally Rowan, selectman for a term of three years; Ted Spurling, Jr., School Committee member for a term of three years; Nickolas Hadlock and Norman Sanborn, II, Shellfish Conservation Committee (terms expiring in 2012); Cory Alley, Shellfish Conservation Committee (term expiring in 2010); Philippe Donald and Karin Whitney, Municipal Advisory Commission for terms of three years. All recommendations for compensation for town officials passed without changes in amounts from last year.

The articles concerning the schools on Islesford and Great Cranberry generated the most discussion and took up most of the morning.  Superintendent of Schools Rob Liebow, patiently and clearly walked everyone through the revised school articles 16A through 16N. Seven of the fourteen articles required amendments due to changes in expected enrollment The final figure for the Islesford School budget was $405,662.

By written ballot, the voters unanimously authorized the School Committee to have the Islesford School remain open for the 2009-2010 school year with a projected enrollment of 10 to 12 students.

There was much discussion of the needs and costs of keeping the Longfellow School open on Great Cranberry for another year with no projected enrollment. Voters passed the article by written ballot with a vote of 37 to 3, and then voted to authorize Selectmen to borrow up to $20,000 through bonds for the first year of repairs to the town owned building.

In the last two articles before lunch, voters authorized the town to spend $500 for basic maintenance of a Revolutionary War cemetery on Great Cranberry, and to give $3,500 in financial support to the Island Health Clinic Committee, to help set up a telemedicine program with aid from the Maine Seacoast Mission.

The 45-minute lunch featured sandwiches and an amazing assortment of pies for dessert. A “checkerboard” cake made by Mark Alley was raffled off to raise money for the Ladies Aid Society. Cindy Thomas won the raffle and managed to get the cake home on the boat at 5:45 p.m. without being attacked by tired hungry voters from Islesford.

After lunch voters authorized Selectmen to develop plans for an alternate Town Office using up to $10,000 in funds that were raised for that purpose in 2004.

An article instructing Selectmen to identify additional parking spaces to buy or lease in Northeast Harbor, was amended to have Selectmen pursue “optimization of existing off island parking lots and identification of additional parking spaces on MDI.” The amended article passed with a majority vote.

Everyone agreed to extend the work of the Transportation Committee for another year and to authorize expenditure of up to $5,000 for professional consultation services. Voters also agreed to allow town constables and town harbormasters to enforce municipal ordinances with a book of tickets and the ability to fine offenders.

After some discussion, a majority vote passed the article to allow the Board of Selectmen to spend up to $500 to submit a formal application for ownership of the Baker Island Light. The application will permit an on-site examination of the structure, full knowledge of the land available and landing rights by boat, and obligations upon the recipient for maintenance of the structure. It does not authorize the Board of Selectmen to take ownership of the lighthouse. That would require a Special Town Meeting.

The article for a revaluation of all property in the town for tax purposes generated some interesting discussion. Denise McCormick stepped away from the table to be recognized as a citizen and not as the town clerk. When called on, she made the comment, “As a tax collector I can tell you this is not a good idea for this time, but as a town clerk I can’t tell you how to vote!” The motion did not pass, and the town saved $73,000. Voters also decided not to have Selectmen sell the Marsh Real Estate Building in Manset, at this time.

At the end of a very long day, the voted appropriations for town operations for the Town of Cranberry Isles totaled: $1,819,377.