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Harpswell to vote on creating bandstand fund account

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Harpswell to vote on creating bandstand fund account

HARPSWELL — If citizens say yes in the June 11 municipal referendum, the town will have a new source of revenue for local entertainment – free of taxpayer dollars.

Next week's municipal ballot asks voters if a special revenue account should be created for the Harpswell Bandstand, which will be given to the town at a June 16 dedication ceremony.

The bandstand, located on Mitchell Field near the waterfront, was built by a volunteer group, the Harpswell Bandstand Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Robert Modr and Vice Chairman Dan Huber. The group raised about $70,000 to plan and construct the bandstand.

A summer concert series – including performances by Freeport Coastal Winds Concert Band, Pine Tree Academy Bell Choir and Cul de Sax – has already been planned for the bandstand. 

Modr will also be a familiar face at the bandstand this summer, as he leads the new Harpswell Concert Band, which will debut at the June 16 event. A complete schedule of events is available on the town's website at harpswell.maine.gov.

While some of the bandstand performances will cost the town nothing, others would be paid for with funds from the proposed special revenue account.

Town Administrator Kristi Eiane said the Bandstand Committee is expected to provide donations to cover expenses for this year's concerts. The special revenue account, if approved by citizens, will allow anyone to donate by sending a check to the town of Harpswell.

The account would then be used to pay maintenance costs and other expenses associated with the bandstand. When the town's fiscal year ends, any leftover funds would remain in the account.

If citizens vote down the special revenue account, Eiane said, upkeep and some events might have to be deferred until the next municipal budget is set at the March 2014 Town Meeting. 

"We might just not do anything that might cost the town some money," Eiane said. "We will own the bandstand, but we didn't budget any money for any further improvements. Those things would have to be put on hold if this didn't pass."

Modr said if the special revenue account is approved, he doubts it will run out of funds to continue covering expenses.

"If we have to raise $70,000 or more for this," Modr said, "I don't think the generous people of Harpswell are going to let it sit and rot."

Polls for the June 11 municipal and School Administrative District 75 referendums will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Harpswell mainland residents vote at Merriconeag Grange Hall at 529 Harpswell Road; Great Island residents vote at Cundy's Harbor Community Building on Cundy's Harbor Road; and Bailey Island and Orr's Island residents cast their ballots at Orr's Island Schoolhouse, 1594 Harpswell Islands Road.

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or dmartin@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.