Town Council makes voting member amendment

BAR HARBOR — The Town Council approved a tweak to its board and committee rules last week that clarified residency requirements and allowed members to be as young as 15.

After a public hearing on May 4, the council voted to amend its regulations on who can and cannot be a voting member on a town board in Bar Harbor.

The council struck a provision that said all voting members of boards, committees and commissions that are appointed by the Town Council cannot have another residence and need to be physically present in town.

The new language allows voting members to be anyone who is at least 15 and a resident of Bar Harbor.

Previously, boards often had people who didn’t live in town or who weren’t registered voters, but a 2019 citizen’s initiative required board members to be registered voters in town.

In November, the council got rid of the registered voter requirement, but there were some concerns from Charles Sidman, who brought forward the citizen’s initiative, that the new residency language, which said a board member couldn’t have another residence, barred a resident from owning other properties.

The town’s attorney disagreed with that interpretation, arguing that someone can only have one residency no matter how many properties they own, but the council decided to clear up any potential discrepancies with the new language.

The amendment takes effect on June 3.

Ethan Genter

Ethan Genter

Former reporter for the Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander, Ethan covered maritime news and the town of Bar Harbor.

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