With a strong show of support, voters paved the way for construction of a new sewer plant at Lincolnville Beach, by approving $19,000 in annual funding for 10 years, at a special town meeting Feb. 12.

Seats filled up just before 6 p.m. for the meeting at Walsh Common of the Lincolnville Central School.

One speaker asked for a secret ballot vote, instead of a show of hands. This request was voted on, and was defeated by a large majority. Voting by secret ballot would have required approval by a two-thirds majority, according to moderator Paul Gibbons.

Another speaker said she read through materials regarding the projects' federal and state funding and could not find a request for the $190,000. She asked how the request came about.

Lincolnville Sewer District trustee Jennifer Temple explained that the trustees made the request to the Lincolnville Board of Selectmen, after determining that the initial use of the new wastewater treatment plant would be lower than the initial forecast.

The vote was called, and a large majority approved the local funding, and to adjourn the meeting.

The new Lincolnville Sewer District wastewater treatment system will serve 66 properties along Route 1, from Windsor Chairmakers to Dot's, and along Route 173 from Route 1 to the Schoolhouse Museum. It will replace the existing sewer system built in 1991, which serves 10 properties at Lincolnville Beach. The cost of developing the plant is $3.3 million. The sewer district is headed up by trustees Paul Lippman, Temple, and Niel Wienges

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in January to recommend approval of the local funding. Selectmen also authorized the creation of a legal document that spells out the financial agreement between the town and sewer district.The budget committee also voted unanimous support of local funding for the sewer district.

The trustees cite many reasons for constructing the new sewage treatment plant, including water quality improvement at Lincolnville Beach, meeting the sewage treatment needs of existing businesses and laying the groundwork for business expansion, retaining jobs in the beach area and promoting job growth. The new plant will address sewage treatment issues for numerous properties in the beach area with aging, or undocumented, sewer systems, and other properties with insufficient soil or square footage, to install private sewer systems.

The  $3.2 million in federal and state funds for the facility, includes a $1 million grant and a $1.6 million loan from USDA Rural Development; a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant; and a $250,000 grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission.

In 2016, trustees first requested the local funding, and selectmen decided the sewer district would have to request $19,000 each year. In June 2016, voters approved $19,000 in the 2016-17 budget for the sewer district at a town meeting.

Later that year, the federal USDA Rural Development agency reviewed the local funding, finding that it did not meet federal requirements. Trustees went back to selectmen to urge the town to commit the entire $190,000, stating that without it, the entire project was at risk.

Local, state and federal support for the development of a new sewer district at Lincolnville Beach goes back many years. Selectmen first discussed creating a new sewer district back in 2009. In 2012, the Lincolnville Sewer District was created by state legislation, at the request of the town. Both of Maine's U.S. Senators, Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King, have supported federal funding for the project.

For more information on the Lincolnville Sewer District, documents requested by the Lincolnville Board of Selectmen, and information provided by district trustees, visit  lincolnvillesewer.com.