BAR HARBOR — Councilors put a bond issue to fund the purchase of the ferry terminal property on the warrant for the June town meeting, but two residents expressed concerns about the process.
Jake Jagel and Dessa Dancy said putting the order on the town meeting warrant before a public notice or a public hearing was in conflict with portions of the town’s charter dealing with the preparation and submission of the budget.
“The charter requires certain steps in the budget, including a public hearing,” Town Manager Cornell Knight said. “That doesn’t mean that the council can’t take a position and maintain that position throughout the process and let voters decide the ultimate question at the town meeting.”
The town exercised an option agreement to purchase the ferry terminal property from the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) in November. In that agreement, the MDOT required that the town secure public financing — a bond proposal — and issue an appropriate warrant article for inclusion at the June town meeting no later than Jan. 30.
There are no more Town Council meetings before Jan. 30, so this was the last meeting at which the council could approve the order.
Knight said after the meeting that the town attorney believed the council’s actions to be consistent with the charter. The only difference, Knight said, between this order and bond orders in the past is the date set by the MDOT.