$4.95-million library bond defeated

ELLSWORTH — A $4.95-million bond proposal for a renovation and expansion of the Ellsworth Public Library was defeated by voters Tuesday.

The vote was 894 opposed and 605 in favor of the bond. There were 45 blank ballots on the bond question.

Library officials said after the vote that they respect what voters decided. They pledged to “come back to voters with a new bond proposal” in the future.

Ron Fortier, chairman of the library’s board of trustees, said in a statement that “the fact remains that something will have to be done with the Tisdale House or the Ellsworth Public Library.”

The historic Tisdale House is the original part of the library, and officials said it needed to have a foundation put in underneath it. That carries an expensive price tag, as the building would have to be moved and ledge cleared.

The bond also would have made needed energy and accessibility improvements.

Fortier said previously that library officials saw this as a good time to move forward with the project, while construction and interest costs are both low.

“We will do our best to let this vote sink in for a few weeks, and then figure out a way to move forward,” Fortier said in the Tuesday night statement.

Five municipal board positions also were on the ballot Tuesday, though there was only a contest for one of them.

No one took out nomination papers in order to get on the ballot for a School Board seat, but four residents declared as official write-in candidates as the election drew nearer.

Kelly McKenney received the most support, with 119 write-in votes. Todd Wagstaff garnered 106 votes, Colon Haskell got 26 and James S. Harst received 23. There were 89 write-in votes for various other residents, while 1,181 ballots were left blank.

As of mid-morning on Wednesday, McKenney had not yet been officially declared the winner for the School Board seat. City Clerk Heidi Grindle, however, said she had spoken with the other candidates and none of them — most notably Wagstaff — indicated they would be asking for a recount.

Running without opposition, incumbents Bob Crosthwaite and Steve Beathem were re-elected to the City Council. Fortier was re-elected to the library’s board of trustees, while Jane McLetchie was elected to that board. Both ran without opposition.

All of the candidates in Ellsworth were elected to serve three-year terms.

Voter turnout on Tuesday in Ellsworth was 27.6 percent, with 1,544 out of 5,588 registered voters casting ballots.

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
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