Question 2 on the state ballot: Bond to improve water quality, create wastewater treatment facilities
Maine voters will see several proposals on their state ballot Nov. 6 including four bond issues.
The first bond issue, appearing as Question 2 on the statewide ballot, “aims to improve water quality, support the planning and construction of wastewater treatment facilities and assist homeowners whose homes are served by substandard or malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems.”
According to the Maine Office of the Treasurer, “the total estimated life time cost is $38,250,000 representing $30,000,000 in principal and $8,250,000 in interest (assuming interest at 5.0% over 10 years).” Furthermore, the Maine Office of Fiscal and Program Review notes this bond issue would have “no significant fiscal impact” aside from the debt service costs outlined.
According to the Maine Office of the Attorney General, approval of this measure would authorize the State to issue bonds not exceeding $30 million, with the bonds running for no longer than 10 years from date of issue and backed by “the full faith and credit of the State.”
$2,000,000: This amount would be distributed “in the form of grants to municipalities to help replace failing septic systems that are polluting coastal watersheds or causing a public nuisance.”
$27,650,000: This amount would be distributed “as grants to municipalities to cover from fifteen to twenty-five percent of the costs of planning pollution abatement facilities, and up to eighty percent of the cost of constructing such facilities. Priority would be “given to areas with high-value shellfish resources,” while funds “may also be” used for hydrographic modeling which can “determine the flow of wastewater discharges and thereby make it possible to define more precisely the size and scope of any areas that must remain closed to shellfish harvesting in order to protect public health.”
$350,000: This amount would be distributed as “grants to help homeowners cover the cost of eliminating residential overboard discharge systems that are discharging pollutants in coastal watersheds and replacing them with technologically proven alternatives.” The grants “would cover a percentage of the costs on a sliding scale based on the homeowner’s annual income up to a maximum of $125,000.” Furthermore, “the funds would be used only for systems that serve a homeowner’s primary residence.”
A YES vote approves the issuance of up to $30,000,000 in general obligation bonds to finance the activities listed in Question 2.
A NO vote disapproves the bond issue in its entirety.
Maine State Treasurer’s Statement
“The State of Maine borrows money by issuing bonds. General Obligation bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the State and must be submitted statewide to the voters for approval.
“Once approved, the Treasurer issues bonds as needed to fund the approved bond projects and uses a rapid 10-year repayment of principal strategy to retire the debt.
“If the bond proposals on the ballot in November 2018 are approved by the voters, general obligation debt service as a percentage of the State’s General Fund, Highway Fund and Revenue Sharing appropriations is expected to be 2.83 percent in FY19 and 2.93 percent in FY20.
The following is a summary of general obligation bond debt of the State of Maine as of September 30, 2018
Bonds Outstanding (Issued and Maturing through 2028)
Unissued Bonds Authorized by Voters: $64,708,697
Unissued Bonds Authorized by the Constitution: $101,000,000
Total Authorized but Unissued Bonds: $165,708,697
The total amount that must be paid in the present fiscal year for bonded debt already outstanding (for FY2019): $106,258,509.
If the bonds submitted here are approved by voters and issued for the full statutory period authorized, an estimate of the total interest and principal that may reasonably be expected to be paid is $255,000,000.00, representing $ 200,000,000.00 in principal and $55,000,000.00 in interest.
2018 Maine State Ballot questions
Question 1: Citizen’s Initiative
Do you want to create the Universal Home Care Program to provide home-based assistance to people with disabilities and senior citizens, regardless of income, funded by a new 3.8% tax on individuals and families with Maine wage and adjusted gross income above the amount subject to Social Security taxes, which is $128,400 in 2018?
Do you favor a $30,000,000 bond issue to improve water quality, support the planning and construction of wastewater treatment facilities and assist homeowners whose homes are served by substandard or malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems?
Do you favor a $106,000,000 bond issue, including $101,000,000 for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities and equipment related to ports, piers, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds, and $5,000,000 for the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings?
Do you favor a $49,000,000 bond issue to be matched by at least $49,000,000 in private and public funds to modernize and improve the facilities and infrastructure of Maine's public universities in order to expand workforce development capacity and to attract and retain students to strengthen Maine's economy and future workforce?
Do you favor a $15,000,000 bond issue to improve educational programs by upgrading facilities at all 7 of Maine's community colleges in order to provide Maine people with access to high-skill, low-cost technical and career education?