SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Town officials here are looking into what they must do over the next few years to comply with a federal law requiring all signs along streets and roads to meet certain standards of reflectivity so they will be more visible at night.
“This is a huge unfunded mandate that may total nearly $10,000 when completed,” interim town manager Don Lagrange said in a recent memo to the board of selectmen.
Public works director Pat Biegler, in one of her last e-mails to Mr. Lagrange before leaving for another job in Georgia last month, said most of Southwest Harbor’s roughly 100 street signs do not have the necessary reflective coating.
She said that, according to the federal law passed in 2008, all public agencies and private interests that have signs on roads that are open to the public must prepare a computerized inventory of their signs with an analysis of each sign’s reflectivity. That inventory is to be completed by Jan. 22, 2012.
Because the requirement to install reflective signs is an unfunded mandate – that is, the federal government isn’t providing the money for it – selectman Ralph Dunbar asked at the board’s Oct. 25 meeting whether the town is legally bound to comply.
Mr. Lagrange said he would look into that.
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