Maine Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment Facilities, Question 3 (2008)

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A Bonds for Water Projects ballot measure appeared on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Maine. It was approved for the ballot by the state legislature in the last Legislative session and referred to the Secretary of State for inclusion on the 2008 ballot. By law, all bond issues approved by Maine's legislature must be ratified by a majority of registered voters before they can be enacted.

Election results

Question 3 (2008)
Approveda Yes 352,058 50.26%

Election Results via: Maine Secretary of State


Steps for Bond Process

  1. The Legislature decides what it believes should be funded from bond proceeds (money acquired from the sale of bonds) and puts the bonds out for voter approval as required by the State Constitution.
  2. The voters, at a statewide election, approve or reject each bond proposal.
  3. The State Treasurer issues bonds to pay for those projects approved by the voters or otherwise authorized by the Constitution. A person or institution purchasing the bonds is, in effect, loaning the State of Maine money in return for interest payments during the term of the bond.
  4. The Treasurer distributes the money acquired from the sale of bonds in accordance with the legislation authorizing bonds for approved projects.
  5. The Treasurer makes payments until the debt is retired.

Specific Provisions

The question voters decided was, “Do you favor a $3.4 million bond issue to support drinking water programs, to support the construction of wastewater treatment facilities and to leverage $17 million in other funds?"[1]

The measure enacted the following provisions:

  • Fund the state’s revolving loan fund that communities can apply to for low-interest loans.
  • Stipulate that every $1 of state money raised will attract $5 in federal money, according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.[1]

Treasurer's Statement

David Lemoine, Treasurer of State, issued a report to voters on the status of all bond issues currently outstanding as debt to the taxpayers. He stated that the Bond Issue under Question 3 would add $4,241,500 to the existing debt, representing $3,400,000 in principal and $841,500 in interest. 

Current Bond Debt of the State of Maine

Bonds Outstanding (Issued and Maturing through 2018): 

  • Highway Fund: Principal  $  96,540,000,   Interest $19,772,116, Total $116,312,116 
  • General Fund: Principal  $356,755,000,  Interest $54,234,182, Total  $410,989,182
  • Total: Principal $453,295,000,   Interest $74,006,298, Total  $527,301,298
  • Unissued Bonds Authorized by Voters:  $221,502,000 
  • Unissued Bonds Authorized by the Constitution and Laws:  $  99,000,000 
  • Total Unissued Bonds:  $320,502,000
  • Less Bond  Anticipation Notes Issued this Fiscal Year:  $(59,043,000) 
  • Total Available from  Authorized but Unissued:  $261,459,000 
  • Total Amount that must be paid in the present fiscal year for Debt already Outstanding (for FY2009):  $98,217,346.78 


Supporters included:

  • Senator Philip Bartlett, D-Cumberland
  • Representative Dave Miramant, D-Camden
  • Maine Waste Water Control Association (MWWCA)
  • Maine Water Utilities Association
  • Governor John Baldacci

Arguments in Support

Notable arguments made in support of the measure included:

  • The $40.5 million the state has spent since 1988 from the clean water and drinking water revolving funds have leveraged $201 million in federal funds


The measure had no organized opposition, and garnered seemingly no debate, largely overshadowed by the other two ballot measures of 2008.[2]

See also

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