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Originally published in Castine Patriot, March 13, 2014
Castine dock in line for capital improvements

by Anne Berleant

The floats, railings and dock anchors are overdue for inspection, replacement and maintenance.

“It’s catching up on us,” Harbor Committee Chairman Bente Hartmann said, presenting a proposed 2014-15 budget to selectmen on March 3.

The town has “spent little” on the docks in past years, she said.

The committee has inked in $10,000 for general maintenance, a $7,000 increase from last year, and $48,995 for capital improvements, which include new railings at a cost of $15,000, and $1,500 to refurbish the Acadia dock float, which Hartmann described as “unsafe.”

“It’s sinking,” said Harbor Committee member Scott Vogell.

Also included is replacing decking and damaged ladders, inspection and possible repairs or replacement to the dock anchors, which haven’t been inspected in 12 years.

“You make me inspect mine every three years,” Vogell noted.

If the anchors are found in usable shape, the capital improvements will cost less; Castine resident Lance Burton, “though not a licensed inspector,” will dive on March 18 for a look, Hartmann said.

“If we need to replace things, we need to have the money for it,” Hartmann said.

Engineer Barney Baker, owner of Baker Design Consultants in Freeport and hired by the town to assess the docks, recommended the capital improvements be done this year.

“They’ve been left undone for too long,” Town Manager Dale Abernethy said. “That wooden structure is just as much a capital asset of the town as Main Street is.”

Currently, $17,520 lies in the capital account, after spending $10,000 on a waterfront survey this year.

The committee also proposed a policy change that would require dingy motors be left down at the dock.

Committee member Michael Mainen predicted complaints over the policy change.

The committee made the decision after “lengthy discussion,” Hartmann said. “It’s a safety issue.”

Harbormaster Sarah Cox has requested more coverage on the town dock this summer “or the flexibility thereof.”

“With the two docks and the distance between them, if the weather’s good, there’s a lot of running.”

John Gray will once again be on duty on weekends, assisted by John Hassett. Total salary and benefits for the harbormaster and her assistants is $19,377.

At the selectmen’s regular meeting, Hendrik Gideonse asked they consider his proposal to create a charter commission for Hancock County, which municipalities would then review and possibly act upon.

Gideonse is a Brooklin resident, retired from a career that included social science research, planning and evaluation of government operations and academic administration. He has also served as a selectman in Brooklin.

A charter commission would propose policy to the Hancock County Commission, something which Gideonse said “they don’t have time to address,” like addressing county-wide issues such as public transportation, solid waste management and workforce housing.

“Towns can’t do all those things. But the county might…but only if they address it at a policy level,” Gideonse said. “Half the counties in Maine have done this.”

In other business, whether The Breeze will or will not be open this summer was clarified. It will. Snow Logan has signed a lease with the town that ends on December 31, 2014.

Next meeting

Castine selectmen, Monday, March 17,

4 p.m., Emerson Hall