Bucksport Council approves lending money for gym floor; goes to voters Nov. 6

BUCKSPORT — The Bucksport Town Council unanimously voted Oct. 4 to lend money to Regional School Unit 25 (RSU 25) to replace the middle school gym floor.

Chairman David Keene said the lending agreement is pending approval by voters in each of RSU 25’s towns: Bucksport, Orland, Prospect and Verona Island.

Residents will vote on the proposal in a referendum on Nov. 6.

The deal will earn the town greater interest on its reserves than it now receives. And borrowing from the town will be cheaper for the school unit than borrowing from a bank, according to Town Manager Susan Lesssard.

Bucksport will lend the RSU $235,000 over a 10-year period at 2.5 percent.

The lowest interest rate the school unit could get from the bank is 3.66 percent, Lessard said.

Also, Bucksport will earn $39,601 in interest over the 10-year period instead of $34,715, a difference of — $4,886, Lessard said. The town is currently earning less than 2 percent on reserves held in its certificates of deposit.

The council had voted on the borrowing proposal multiple times at the Sept. 27 meeting.

Two votes to lend the money failed. A third vote to give the money to the RSU from the town’s reserve also failed.

Councilors not present for meetings, which led to a lack of general understanding, seemed to be the issue — not a lack of support for the project.

Three of the four councilors who missed meetings apologized during the 12-minute special council session.

Councilor Paul Gauvin apologized for missing a Sept. 6 council meeting at which Lessard explained the proposal.

Councilor Peter Stewart apologized for missing an earlier meeting as well.

Councilor Paul Rabs apologized to Lessard “for blindsiding her at the last meeting.”

“I should have given her my thoughts and a chance to prepare,” Rabs said.