Chamber denied town funding increase 

MOUNT DESERT — On a vote of 12-1, the Warrant Committee on March 15 agreed with the Select Board that libraries, village improvement societies and recreation and service organizations should receive a total of $324,095 in town funds next fiscal year. 

That amount includes $27,500 for the Mount Desert Chamber of Commerce, the same amount it has received in each of the past three years, but $37,500 less than the $65,000 it requested for next year.  

The votes of the Select Board and Warrant Committee are recommendations. Voters at the May 3 town meeting will decide how much town money the non-governmental organizations receive. 

Micki Sumpter, who has left her post as executive director of the Chamber and is now mentoring her successor, Maddie Bierman, said that, given the votes by the Select Board and Warrant Committee, the Chamber will not ask town meeting voters to approve the $65,000 allocation that the Chamber had requested. 

“At the Chamber board meeting on April 5, we are going to regroup and see how the board wants to go forward,” Sumpter said. 

The Chamber had proposed becoming the “economic development arm of the town” as well as serving its members and the business community at large. Of the $65,000 it requested, $52,000 would have been used “to offset the administrative costs of management of the visitor center [at the Northeast Harbor Marina] and the new executive director / economic development position.” 

Two members of the Select Board said at their March 7 meeting that they didn’t like the idea of the town paying the Chamber to hire someone who would not be accountable to the town. And board member Geoff Wood said, “I believe we over-fund and over-support the Chamber of Commerce to begin with, with the $27,500.” 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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