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Originally published in Castine Patriot, October 25, 2012
Castine Selectmen discuss harbor hoist, approve grant applications

by Sharon Bray

With some uncertainty about how it will work out, selectmen at their October 16 meeting agreed to accept a Small Harbor Improvement Project grant from the Maine Department of Transportation.

The grant, with 20 percent local match, is to install a davit lift on the Acadia dock near the harbormaster’s office. The lift would aid fishing work, help small boats with sails, and be available for limited cargo handling.

Because the state took so long to notify grant recipients, according to Town Manager Dale Abernethy, the original project completion deadline of December 31 has been extended into next year.

Harbor Committee members split 3-2 favoring and abstaining from recommending grant acceptance.

The committee has funds for the match but might need to spend the money on something else, Abernethy said.

The pier needs to be reinforced before the davit could be installed. If the reinforcement turns out to be “way too expensive,” the town could abandon the project, said Abernethy. The committee also has some questions about operating and maintenance costs.

“If we applied for and got it,” said Selectman Peter Vogell of the grant, “we should use it.”

A number of other agenda items dealt with grant applications and acceptances.

Selectmen agreed that Witherle Memorial Library could apply for a Libra Foundation grant for website and logo work. The grant has no local matching requirement.

The board also approved a grant application to Bangor Savings Bank by Adams School being written by school committee member Kathy MacArthur. The school’s emergency lighting and locking systems have failed, according to a letter from school committee member Temple Blackwood, who added that they will be seeking other funds for safety-related items.

A warrant item to be added for town meeting in May 2013 would give non-resident taxpayers the right to ask questions and make comments at town meetings. Town Meeting Moderator Robin Mass told selectmen that she, Abernethy and Selectman David Unger had spoken with a Maine Municipal Association lawyer about how to approach the matter. Selectmen voted to add the item to the spring warrant. Permission to speak for non-resident officials such as the town clerk and superintendent of schools would require a separate vote as it has in the past.

The town accepted a gift of $1,000 from the Castine Women’s Club to help pay for kitchen work as part of Emerson Hall renovations.

Women’s Club President Sue Macdonald said most of the money was raised through noon meal gatherings which were initiated by the Marge Wood Kitchen’s namesake. Macdonald presented the check to Ruth Basile who has lead the town hall renovation project.

Wood’s daughter, Laurie Tenney said her late mother would be pleased as “she loved feeding people.”

Chairman of Selectmen Gus Basile said the town plans to provide a place in the restored hall to list all such memorial and honor donations.

In other business, selectmen approved a liquor license for The Tap Room, an about-to-open eatery attached to T&C grocery on Water Street. Owner Chuck Mooney said he will have 66 seats and a seasonal patio. He plans to offer “private label… Old Castine Ale.”

Mooney told selectmen, “My big focus is to bring people into Castine” for breakfast and lunch with a variable schedule for dinner, which will change during the summer tourist season.

At Abernethy’s suggestion selectmen provided a temporary parking exemption for a Water Street resident whose house is undergoing construction that might not be complete before the winter on-street parking ban goes into effect. Vogell added to the approval a stipulation that the property owners would have to move vehicles in case of a snow storm.

Water conservation measures enacted in August have been lifted. Abernethy said, “Demand has stabilized, and our ability to pump now exceeds demand.”

Selectmen named as election/ballot clerks for November 6 election:

Republicans Kathy Eaton, Carol Bonini, Bette Norris, Kay Hightower and an alternate yet to be recruited;

Democrats Robin Mass, Ingrid Scott, Ray Nualla, Gunilla Kettis and alternate Par Kettis.

Selectmen’s meetings were scheduled for November 5 and 19 at 4 p.m. with a pre-election informational session October 25 at 7 p.m.