Despite the power outage in Lincolnville the night of Jan. 25, a special town meeting and then a selectmen’s meeting proceeded on schedule, as citizens pulled out their cell phones to light the way.

The town voted at its special town meeting by a margin of approximately four to one to assume a zero-interest loan not to exceed $18,000 from the Maine Municipal Bond Bank to pursue public water and sewer services at Lincolnville Beach.

The loan will be directed toward preparing an income survey, preparing legislation and tracking down potential funding sources to proceed with creating a quasi-municipal sewer, and possibly water, system at Lincolnville Beach.

Following the special town meeting, the selectmen convened to address municipal business that included hearing an update about the Feb. 20 Winter Carnival that will be held at Breezemere Park and Norton Pond. Activities will include snow sculpturing, sledding, skating, pond hockey, ice fishing and a chili cook-off.

The selectmen also approved the Comprehensive Plan Committee’s plan to pursue applying for Gateway 1 funding to help the town evaluate how its comprehensive plan synchronizes with the goals of the Maine Department of Transportation’s Route 1 planning.

The need for a sewer system was established by the town’s water resources committee, which recommended the town pursue collecting the various private sewer systems into one new system. That system would initially stretch from the Maine State Ferry Terminal up to Route 1 in the vicinity of a new food market, Dot’s, up Route 173 to the area just before the Maine State Park, and then north along Route 1 to the Windsor Chair company, and down to the shoreline.

Town Administrator David Kinney said the proposed system could be extended, and is not perpetually confined to the area outlined, which includes 70 properties.

Currently, the Lincolnville Beach Sanitary Facility, a privately managed sewer system, includes private and commercial properties in a smaller area of Lincolnville Beach; otherwise, properties at the beach have their own sewer systems, some with overboard discharge permits, and their own drinking wells. Over the years, some sewer systems have failed, and over the past five years, water-quality advisories have been posted 15 times at Lincolnville Beach.

Kinney had delivered testimony on Jan. 14 before the Maine Legislature’s Committee on Utilities and Energy, advocating for LD 1601, An Act to Create the Lincolnville Sewer District. Kinney told the committee that a proposed system “is very important to the town of Lincolnville for three primary reasons, public health and safety, environmental protection and economic enhancement.”

“Currently Lincolnville has no public wastewater disposal or water supply,” Kinney told the committee. “Several private wells have been contaminated by saltwater intrusion. To date the town has invested in an environmental study outlining the problems and possible solutions, and sources of funding are being researched.”

He told the committee that Lincolnville Beach attracts visitors from all over the world and is home to a vibrant year-round community. Besides its community and environmental attributes, it is also an economic asset and a former shell-fishing area, currently closed because of nearby overboard discharge systems.

“While we have been able to locate and seek corrections to inadequate wastewater disposal systems that may have contributed to the advisories being posted, we anticipate that future septic system failures may occur due to the marginal soils and small lot sizes in the beach area,” said Kinney. “The creation of a sewer district will assist in correcting any future deficiencies.”

Kinney also said that beach area businesses represent some of the town’s major employers and their growth is limited by wastewater and water supply systems.

“The creation of a sewer district that will also be able to provide potable water will assist in addressing these concerns,” Kinney said.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Carol Weston, R-Montville, and on Jan. 21, the committee voted it ought to pass.