SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine — Voters will decide next week whether to borrow money to pay for improvements at the Police Department and to acquire and install a propane-fired generator at the town’s Water Department pump house.

Southwest Harbor’s annual town meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Monday, May 4, when the open session gets under way at the elementary school. It will continue the next day with municipal elections, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the fire station.

Since the Fire Department moved to its new headquarters further north on Main Street in 2006, the town has been looking into options for renovating the first floor of the town office. If voters approve borrowing $800,000 for the project, the Police Department would expand into the space formerly occupied by the Fire Department. That amount already has been offered to the town in the form of a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

According to town officials, the project is likely to cost $640,000. The renovated police station would include larger offices, a processing and training room, and more room for storage of evidence and supplies.

Voters also will be asked to borrow $300,000 to put toward a new generator at the town’s water pump house on Long Pond. The pump house’s existing diesel-powered pump is working properly but town officials have said future regulations might require the town to stop using the diesel pump in order to better protect the water quality of Long Pond.

Voters will consider an overall proposed budget of about $7.5 million, of which about $3.17 million would be for municipal operations. Of the $7.5 million budget, $6.8 million would be funded through property taxes.

Based on expenditures recommended by selectmen and by its warrant committee, the mill rate would be $8.86 for each $1,000 of a property’s value, up from the current rate of $8.39.

In elections, the only contested race is for the town’s school committee. Michael Sawyer and incumbents Prentice “Skip” Strong and Amy Young are competing for two three-year positions on the board.

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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....