On April 27, Southport selectors proposed a schedule for a special town meeting. They proposed to hold the meeting on June 28 at 6 p.m. The referendum vote will decide whether a proposed $2.1 million city-owned fiber optic broadband project will proceed. On April 13, elected officials received two citizen-initiated petitions calling for a vote to reconsider last May’s special city assembly vote that allowed elected officials to seek funding for a city-owned system. The second petition would create a fund to enable approximately 25 underserved residents to receive better broadband services. Selectors can also add a third term question unrelated to the broadband project.
Coach Gerry Gamage urged the other members of the board to plan a vote that would not further delay the project. “We felt we had to do it as soon as possible,” he said after being asked about his June voting recommendation. “At this particular time, we are tasked with making this happen, regardless of a petition,” Gamage said.
The schedule for the special municipal assembly is as follows: May 4, adopt a proposed voting schedule; May 5, send notice to Boothbay Register regarding the first public hearing; May 9, posting of the notice of public hearing of May 18; May 11, adopt a meeting mandate; on May 12, send a second notice of public hearing and post the terms of reference; May 18, hold the public hearing; May 26, make postal ballots available; June 9, send notice of second public hearing to Boothbay Register; June 15, notice of publication of the second public hearing; June 16, a newspaper notice of the second public hearing; June 22, hold the second public hearing; and on June 28, hold the special municipal assembly at 6 p.m.
As part of another action, elected officials received a letter regarding the April 20 broadband information session. Resident M. L. Mace Jr. expressed concerns about going ahead with a project without concrete funding. He was also unimpressed with Axiom’s customer service. Mace complained that he waited 10 days for project details and pricing from the broadband provider. He asked the selectors to rethink the whole project. “I think it should be the financial obligation of a company or utility, not Southport Island. We may well come to the same conclusion as before, but the playing field has changed significantly and must be considered before continuing with our current course of action,” he wrote.
Selectmen voted unanimously to approve a catering alcohol license for Hodgdon Yacht Services for a Customer Appreciation Day BBQ on Sunday July 17. The council also authorized a town hall rental for Tim and Annie Maurer for a July 16 graduation party.
The elected officials then meet at 5 p.m. on Wednesday May 4 at the town hall.