Boothbay Harbor Maritime Foundation cleared the last hurdles of town permits and approvals for its Carter's Wharf project with unanimous support from selectmen Jan. 11. BHMF received approval of the planning board site plan review Dec. 9 on the condition the project passed selectmen's wharves and weirs hearing.
William Gartley of Gartley and Dorsky Engineering and Surveying represented BHMF and outlined the project's scope: removal of the wharf and pier, removal of 450 pilings and replacing them with 314 pilings under a new pier; seawall reconstruction; installation of a 3,000 square foot building; and installation of an 8-foot wide by 8-foot long float; 23, 8’x24’ floats; nine, 6’x24’ floats; six, 6’x16’ floats; and two, 12’x24’ floats.
“We're proposing basically to remove everything that's there,” said Gartley. “It's in pretty rough shape and in need of major improvements … and we’re working now on the final design of all the structure.”
The building will be elevated beyond the base flood elevation, or 100-year flood mark, and pulled back 65 feet from the water toward Atlantic Avenue, making it less nonconforming. Gartley said his firm successfully petitioned the Federal Emergency Management Agency to change the property from a BE zone to an AE zone to bring in fill and situate the new building entirely on solid ground.
First National Wealth Management Vice President and Portfolio Manager Gary Stone presented selectmen with a report on the town’s investment portfolio. Stone said he ran the portfolio as a 25/75 or 25% investment in stocks and 75% in bonds and yielded 7.39% in interest.
Stone said he began the year scouring the market nationally for a two-year certificate of deposit (CD) with a fair interest rate only to find the best possible returns at less than 0.25%. “If you have money sitting on the money market right now, it would be earning virtually nothing … so, I went out and bought a 10-year CD. The alternative would have been something close to zero if you had stayed invested the way you were invested four to five years ago.”
Stone said he put a majority of assets in the S&P 500 index fund which closed the year out at over an 18% gain. As a result, Stone said the assets ended up performing as well if not better than S&P.
“What happened on the bond side is a little more compelling … As interest rates go down, value of bonds and bond funds go up … So, what happened this year? Interest rates plummeted. The 10-year note started the year a little bit below 2% and at the end of the year, a little below 1% …”
Stone said the bond funds he used not only threw off income around 2%, but all except one went up in value due to the dramatic decrease in interest rates. “When you take the appreciation of the bond portfolio and you combine it with the appreciation in the equity portfolio, that's how we got to 7.4%.”
Selectmen reappointed Michelle Farnham to a two-year term as registrar of voters.
Town Manager Julia Latter announced the town’s budget committee will meet at 4 p.m. Jan. 13 via Zoom; the planning board will follow at 7 p.m.; and the broadband committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 1 via Zoom.
The town office will be closed Jan. 18 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and reopen at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 19.