BAR HARBOR, Maine — More federal money for port security is coming to this seasonal resort town and cruise ship destination, but a local official said Thursday he is not sure what the money is for.

Nate Young, Bar Harbor chief of police, said Bar Harbor has applied to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for money for a variety of projects and last year received $492,000, less than what it asked for. He has heard indirectly, in an e-mail bulletin from the federal department, that Bar Harbor is due to get an additional $473,000.

Other agencies in Maine also are among the announced recipients, according to Young. He said Portland, Rockland, Maine State Police, Maine Port Authority and Sprague Energy in Searsport all are expected to receive money for increased port security.

Young said the $473,000 Bar Harbor is getting does not appear to match the projected cost of any combination of items the town included on its Department of Homeland Security funding application, so he is not sure how the federal agency expects the money to be used. He said the money could end up going toward an expansion of the harbor master’s office at the town pier and toward a renovation of the dispatching room for the police and fire departments, but did not know for sure. The town applied for funds for these projects last year but was turned down.

“The logic would tell me that’s what it is,” Young said. “It’s a guessing game.”

Last summer, the town found out it was getting homeland security money in a similar fashion. It learned it was getting $492,000 weeks before it was officially informed that the money was for a boat to be used by local emergency response officials and for upgrading the town’s emergency communications radio frequency system. The town also purchased self-contained breathing units, new cruiser laptops and other items with the 2008 funding.

The $492,000 the town received in 2008 required a local 25 percent match, meaning the town had to contribute an additional $123,000 of its own toward local port security improvements to get the federal money. If the latest grant turns out to be the requested renovation and expansion funding, the chief said, it also would require the town to provide a 25 percent match, or $118,000.

All told, the federal grants and the local matches would provide Bar Harbor with $1.2 million to put toward port security.


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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....