Two questions regarding extension of Rockport's sewer will appear on the ballot June 11.

Select board members on March 21 approved the questions seeking approval to expand sewer service on Commercial Street — Route 1 — north from South Street for more than 3,000 feet as well as another extension also on Route 1, south from Elwood Avenue for about 1,300 feet.

Select board Chairman William Chapman said he decided to request two ballot questions for the two projects because he feels people who may be against one project or the other could defeat the question, resulting in neither project's approval. He also noted it will be easier for the select board to address concerns with the projects split, adding the ballot questions will be quite wordy due to required information.

Selectman Kenneth McKinley expressed concern about issuing a bond for the work and asking all sewer users to pay for the extension. He provided the board with information from Auburn, which charges new users of the sewer for extensions.

Public Works Director Steve Beveridge noted the eventual benefit of the extension — the ability to pump sewage in either direction, giving the town a choice in wastewater treatment options — will have an impact on all users' sewer bills.

"[But] they've already paid for the existing infrastructure," McKinley said of established users.

Select board member Tracy Lee Murphy concurred with Beveridge's assessment.

"It ultimately will help everyone," she said.

Concrete costs for each project have not yet been determined. Chapman noted the timing on borrowing money likely couldn't be better, adding the town may end up paying just 1 percent interest.

A public hearing regarding the proposed sewer extension projects will take place Tuesday, April 16.

Further discussion of the projects followed approval of the ballot questions as select board members discussed approval of funding for engineering studies. Chapman said a study of the south project has already received funding approval for between $7,500 and $7,600 and the study is being conducted by Woodard and Curran.

An estimate of $9,500 was provided by the engineering firm to perform a study of the north project, Chapman said, as well as an estimate of an additional $20,000 for the area between the proposed north and south extensions.

Beveridge, who has been communicating with Woodard and Curran staff about the projects, said there are some redundancies in the proposals. He answered questions to the best of his knowledge on behalf of the firm.

"This is moving so fast that nobody can keep up," Beveridge said.

During a brief break in the meeting, Beveridge contacted Woodard and Curran staff to ask questions posed by the select board and seek clarification about the $20,000 estimate. When the meeting reconvened, he said the $20,000 estimate would show a build-out of the entire length, but with little detail. For an additional $7,000, topographical studies and ledge probes would be included with the overview study, Beveridge said.

Interim Town Manager Roger Moody said the original request to Woodard and Curran was made to provide concepts to plan for the future in the area between the north and south extensions.

Beveridge also cautioned the time frame for the middle section study would have to be increased to create a more in-depth report. Speaking as a town employee, Beveridge said he feels the study of the middle section can be put off.

Select board members approved funding of $9,500 for the north end extension. The approved amount will come from the TIF reserve fund.

Camden Herald Associate Editor Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 236-8511 or sgrinnell@courierpublicationsllc.com.