Selectmen announce special town meeting timeline

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 11:30am

On April 27, Southport selectmen proposed a timeline for a special town meeting. They proposed holding the meeting on June 28 at 6 p.m. The referendum vote will decide if a proposed $2.1 million municipally owned fiber-optic broadband project will continue. On April 13, selectmen received two citizen-initiated petitions which called for a vote to reconsider last May’s special town meeting vote that authorized selectmen to seek funding for a municipally owned system. The second petition would create a fund for about 25 underserved residents to receive better broadband services. Selectmen may also add a third warrant question unrelated to the broadband project. 

Selectman Gerry Gamage urged fellow board members to schedule a vote which wouldn’t further delay the project. “We felt we needed to do it sooner than later,” he said after being asked about his June vote recommendation. “At this particular moment in time, we’re charged with making this happen, regardless of a petition,” Gamage said.

The special town meeting’s timeline is as follows: May 4, adopt a proposed voting schedule; May 5, send notification to Boothbay Register about the first public hearing; May 9, post notice of the May 18 public hearing; May 11, adopt a meeting warrant; May 12, send a second notice of public hearing and post the warrant; May 18, hold the public hearing; May 26, make absentee ballots available; June 9, send a notice for a second public hearing to Boothbay Register; June 15, post notice of the second public hearing; June 16, a newspaper notice of the second public hearing; June 22, hold the second public hearing; and June 28, hold the special town meeting at 6 p.m.

In other action, selectmen received a letter about the April 20 broadband information session. Resident M.L. Mace Jr. expressed concerns about continuing a project without concrete funding. He also wasn’t impressed with Axiom’s customer service. Mace complained he waited 10 days for project details and pricing from the broadband provider. He asked selectmen to re-think the entire project. “I think that should be the financial obligation of a company or public utility, not the island of Southport. It may well be that we arrive at the same conclusion, as before, but the playing field has changed significantly and should be considered before continuing our current course of action,” he wrote.

Selectmen voted unanimously to approve a catering liquor license for Hodgdon Yacht Services for a customer appreciation day barbecue on Sunday, July 17. The board also allowed a town hall rental to Tim and Annie Maurer for a July 16 graduation party. 

Selectmen meet next at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 4 in the town hall.