Board of Selectmen Chairman Jack Merrithew was absent at the April 2 meeting, recovering at home from recent surgery.

According to Town Manager James Gillway, Merrithew seemed fine about the possibility of having someone else run the meetings to "give him a break." He said Merrithew is amenable to "stepping back to a board position, and letting someone else run it for this coming year."

Fellow selectmen chose Dick Desmarais as chairman and Doug Norman as vice chairman, with Joanne Moulton as secretary.

In other business, Gillway discussed a tax anticipation loan for the town. He said four banks were contacted but only Bangor Savings Bank responded. Selectmen authorized Gillway, on behalf of the town, to borrow $1.5 million at 2.61-percent interest, and the loan is to be repaid by Dec. 31.

Revitalization and roads

Gillway said a contract with Wright-Pierce Engineering, the firm hired to assist with the plan for revitalizing downtown, "is getting pretty close to the end."

He said Dean L. Bennett, Searsport's economic development director, has submitted the final draft of the planning document to the firm with last-minute edits.

Gillway said a version of the document is available at the Town Office for public viewing and suggested selectmen read the document before the next meeting.

Maine Department of Transportation will host a meeting Thursday, April 11, to talk about the downtown road rebuild project and while this does not pertain exactly to the revitalization efforts, Gillway said, "it's all connected."

A $311,147 budget for the wastewater treatment plant was approved by selectmen. According to Gillway, the total is $14,754 more than last year's budget.

Several roads, Gillway said, are on the list for improvements this year.

Cottage Street is slated for a culvert replacement to keep water from spilling over the road. Water, Mosman, Howard, Otis, Pike and Union streets, and Dump and Nickerson roads, all need work to "reclaim the hot top" and to fix dips, the town manager said.

One of the plow trucks is in need of a body replacement, which will cost $33,453. Gillway said the bed of the vehicle is in poor shape and will not last another year, but replacing the bed will extend the life of the truck by 10 years. Selectmen agreed and approved spending the requested amount.

Maine DOT also is planning construction in front of Hamilton Marine Center just outside the downtown area. According to Gillway, DOT would like to "bore some holes" and install a new culvert.

He said currently there is a culvert underneath the structure that drains below the building. DOT would also relocate the stream where it passes by the building.

Gillway also talked about the uncertain future of the building, saying it could possibly be "a building that doesn't exist with the overall plan." Penobscot Marine Museum and Maine Ocean School both have a stake in the building, he said.

In other developing news, Bangor Natural Gas is currently constructing a gas line from the Sprague Energy Terminal at Mack Point to GAC Chemical at Kidder Point. Gillway said the company's intent is to put a line downtown before DOT rips up the road in the rebuild project, which, he said, most likely would happen in fall 2020.

"They would like to punch through to Belfast before the new pavement goes down," he said, "(because after that) they won't be allowed to for five years."

Selectman Doug Norman said, "This is a big deal. Natural gas is so much cheaper."

Fourth of July Festivities

Gillway said the town did not budget for a band during Fourth of July events, even though a local band approached him about playing at this year's festivities.

Also worth considering, Gillway said, "It's Mosman Park, and they have to be a partner in this."

In closing remarks, Norman thanked Merrithew for his service as chairman and said, "I wish him the best and hope he gets back real soon."