SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine — Voters approved two referendums this week to borrow money for expanding the police station and for acquiring and installing a new propane-fired generator at the town’s water department pump house on Long Pond, according to a local official.

The votes were held Tuesday as part of Southwest Harbor’s annual town meeting.

Kristin Hutchins, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said Wednesday that voters decided by a 145-to-104 vote to borrow up to $800,000 for the police station project. A low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for that amount is expected to enable the town to expand the police station into space in the municipal building’s first floor that used to be occupied by the fire department. The fire department moved to a new building farther north on Main Street in 2006.

Voters also approved, 150-100, a proposal to borrow $300,000 for a new propane-fired generator at the pump station, Hutchins said. Putting a new generator at the facility was recommended by consultants who said future water-quality regulations likely will prohibit the town from using the existing diesel generator at the facility.

In additional voting Tuesday, incumbents Prentice “Skip” Strong and Amy Young prevailed in a three-way race with Michael Sawyer for two school board seats, according to Hutchins. There were no other contested races.

At the open session of town meeting Monday, voters approved a 2009-10 municipal operations budget of $3.16 million, according to Hutchins. Also approved were a $2.9 million budget for the elementary school and a $1.13 million share of the Mount Desert Island High School budget.

Of the $7.53 million combined budget approved by Southwest Harbor voters, $6.83 million is expected to be funded through property taxes. The resulting tax rate is expected to be $8.85 for each $1,000 of a property’s assessed value.

“It was a very short meeting,” Hutchins said of the Monday night session. “It was like an hour and a half.”

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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....