John Dargis, who stepped down from the Bar Harbor Warrant Committee this week after 10 years, speaks at the annual town meeting at Conners Emerson Tuesday. ISLANDER PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

Subdued town meeting approves $16M budget

BAR HARBOR — Last June, the gymnasium at Conners Emerson School was packed full of residents eager to sound off on a sanctuary community resolution and parking meters. Nearly 300 residents showed up, and the meeting lasted more than three hours.

This year’s open town meeting, held Tuesday, couldn’t have been more different.

About 140 voters overwhelmingly approved all 24 articles on the warrant, all to do with the school and municipal budgets, and education revenues. Only three questions were asked on any of the articles; one was from Councilor Stephen Coston, who had identified a typo in the article about the tax due date.

Moderator Bill Ferm asked for a moment of silence for resident Mikaela Conley, who the Maine State Police say was murdered last week. Conners Emerson Principal Barb Neilly thanked residents for their messages of support over the last few days as the community struggles with the news.

The total municipal budget approved was $16,866,877. This budget sees a 6 percent tax rate increase. That’s an increase of $198 per year on a median-valued home worth $300,300.

Voters also approved the 22-person slate of Warrant Committee nominees. The slate, chosen by a dedicated committee, saw three changes to the current Warrant Committee. Nominees Michael Handwerk, Meagan Kelly and Anne Marie Quin will be new to the committee. Chair John Dargis, Andrew Daul and Robert Chaplin are stepping down.

Council Chair Paul Paradis recognized Dargis, on the committee since 2008, and Chaplin, on the committee since 2010, for their service to the town before the election of the new committee.

It was the first town meeting for Sharon Linscott, the new town clerk.

More contentious questions, such as whether the town will buy the ferry terminal property and approve a bond issue for parking meters and kiosks, as well as land use ordinance changes, will be addressed via private ballot on June 12. Elections will take place between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the Bar Harbor Municipal Building.

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd is a University of Maine graduate and a former Bar Harbor reporter for the Mount Desert Islander.
Samuel Shepherd

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