Bucksport voters approved repairing the town’s leaky municipal pool by a wide margin on Tuesday.
Town residents voted 695-274 to allocate as much as $1 million to rebuild the 1950s-vintage pool, which was shut down for the summer season back in June after it leaked 600,000 gallons of water in less than a week. At one point, police were called to look at what resembled bullet holes in the pool’s lining that turned out to be rebar that had sunk into the pool’s increasingly weakening structure.
A gift from St. Regis Paper Co. when it owned the now-defunct paper mill in town, the 300,000-gallon pool at 55 Broadway normally hosts more than 200 people a day in the summer if the weather is good, making its loss this year a blow to area families.
The Bucksport Town Council will meet on Nov. 14 to decide how to proceed, Town Manager Susan Lessard said. Lessard wasn’t surprised that voters so convincingly endorsed rebuilding the pool.
“The pool has been a long term, well-loved fixture in the community,” Lessard said Wednesday. “Even if it costs $1 million, and I don’t think it will, it’s a $20,000 annual investment in the area over 50 years.”
The actual cost of the repair won’t be known until an engineer submits repair plans, Lessard said. Three companies are bidding to devise a repair plan, oversee the bidding process that will determine who gets to do the repair work, and oversee the actual repair or renovation of the pool.
Most of the $1 million will come from Bucksport’s unappropriated fund balance, with the remaining $30,000 coming from the town’s swimming pool reserve account. Town officials hope to finish the pool repair by July 1, 2020.
Residents also voted 724-244 on Tuesday to borrow as much as $3 million to fund a three-year improvement plan to repave the town’s worst roads. The town maintains more than 50 miles of road. The $3 million bond is expected to carry up to $329,752 in interest payments and be paid back over seven years, according to the referendum ballot.
The road repair bond will also be on the Nov. 14 council agenda.
Voter turnout was strong for an off-year, Town Clerk Jacob Gran said, with 1,040 voters participating out of 3,921 eligible voters — a turnout of 26.5 percent.