Southport selectmen sign climate resolution

Sat, 11/18/2023 - 8:30am

Selectmen approved a municipal resolution honoring the Southport Climate Action Team’s work this year. The team is part of  a Community Resilience Partnership. The program is administered by the Governor’s Office of Policy, Innovation, and the Future to help implement strategic priorities identified in Maine’s Climate Action Plan, “Maine Won’t Wait!” Southport’s five-person committee submitted its community resilience partnership self-assessment and list of community actions to selectmen Nov. 15 along with reports from three community workshops, and a priority list detailing community action areas. The list included action on evacuation and communications, vulnerability assessment, water source protection, coastal protection and living shorelines, and a climate action plan. The CRP supports community leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing resiliency to extreme weather and climate change impacts.

Team members include Smith Climo, Claire Tomlin, Ella Long and Cathy Jacobs. Shri Verrill of Sunrise Ecological served as the team’s consultant. With the resolution signed, the town qualified to submit a grant request of up to $50,000. If successful, grant monies would fund implementation of the town’s climate goals.

Verrill is also working as a Boothbay Region Water District consultant. She updated selectmen on plans for a water line extension from Newagen to Grandview Road. The project is likely to receive a federal appropriation once the budget is approved. In July, Manager Jon Ziegra received a communication from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins stating the 2024 Interior and Environmental Appropriations bill included $3.788 million for the Southport project. The project has an estimated $9,208,000 budget. Verrill said Monday, Nov. 20 that she is available to help the Water District re-apply for the BRIC FEMA funding but it is Ziegra's decision and “to my knowledge, he has not made that decision.”

The district sought a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant, but the application was denied. Verrill told selectmen the district is going to re-apply. “We ranked low on community engagement. We need to figure out how to get more people involved, and how to document it. We may use a community action grant, and our vulnerability study looking at water source protection as part of our community engagement,” she said.

In other action, a citizen’s committee provided notes from three October meetings seeking resident input on short-term rentals. Sarah Sherman moderated the public meetings held on three consecutive Mondays (Oct. 16, 23 and 30). The committee delivered its notes to selectmen who will consider whether to write an article regulating short-term rentals next spring. 

School Committee Chairman Adam Harkins told selectmen about the search for a new bus. The committee received three bids for a gas-fueled bus with a maximum student capacity of 70. Harkins reported the committee selected O’Connor GMC of Augusta to purchase a bus for $131,750. Harkins expects the bus to be delivered in June.

Selectmen meet next at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22 in the municipal building.

This article has been updated since its original posting.