New harbor ordinance set for annual meeting

TREMONT — Selectmen decided Monday to put an amended harbor ordinance before voters at the annual May town meeting instead of scheduling a special town meeting as recommended by the town’s Harbor Committee.

After working for months to amend the harbor ordinance, the Harbor Committee voted unanimously Oct. 27 to send the new version to selectmen for possible inclusion on a special town meeting warrant. Voters in the town must approve of the amended ordinance before it goes into effect.

Selectmen, however, argued that the annual town meeting attracts more residents than a special meeting and, as a result, allows more people to weigh in on the issue.

“I’d rather see it at the annual meeting because more people show up,” said Selectman Stewart Murphy.

Town Manager Dana Reed, who actively was involved in the process of drafting the amended ordinance, said the downside of waiting until May is that the busy season for the harbors will have begun already. As a result, several of the proposed changes would not be in effect until the spring of 2018.

Reed pointed out that the Harbor Committee is now working on an amended wharf ordinance and that the board of the Bass Harbor Memorial Library is planning to seek a change to its bylaws. One idea was for these proposed changes and the amended harbor ordinance to be presented to voters at the same special town meeting, he said.

Selectman Chris Eaton agreed that considering the three issues together could make for a better turnout at a special town meeting.

“If we can do them all at a special town meeting, that could draw more people,” he said.

In the end, selectmen voted 4-0 to put the amended harbor ordinance on the warrant for the annual meeting in May.

In other business, selectmen unanimously approved of dissolving the town’s Warrant Committee. The Warrant Committee considers the annual budget and makes recommendations to selectmen.

The move came after Reed explained that only two of the seven seats on the Warrant Committee were filled and no residents have stepped forward to fill the vacancies. As a result, the committee cannot meet because there is no quorum. The same problem existed with the committee during the process of developing the budget for the current year, and town officials proceeded without the guidance of the committee.

Reed told selectmen they could reactivate the committee in the future if they wished to do so.

In the motion to dissolve the committee, the two remaining members, David Campbell and Reva Weisenberg, were thanked for their service.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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