Voters to consider terminal purchase, parking meters

BAR HARBOR — After months of deliberation, residents here will decide next week if the town will take out a bond to purchase the ferry terminal property on Eden Street.

Voters also will decide on a municipal budget that could bring a 6 percent property tax increase, and a bond to implement a parking meter system downtown.

Open town meeting is set for Tuesday, June 5, at 7 p.m. in the gym at Conners Emerson School. Elections are Tuesday, June 12, at the Municipal Building. Polls open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

On June 5, open town meeting attendees will decide on articles A through X, dealing with the municipal budget, education revenues and procedural details.

Town Clerk Sharon Linscott said Bill Ferm is expected to be nominated as moderator of the open town meeting. Nominations for the moderator will be taken on the floor of open town meeting and then voted on as the first agenda item.

Voters will consider a total budget of $16,866,877, which would necessitate a 6 percent tax rate increase. On a median-valued home worth $300,300, that’s an increase of $198 per year.

The budget numbers have shifted slightly since the March 27 joint Town Council and Warrant Committee meeting. Town treasurer Stan Harmon said the numbers determined that night were only estimates, as they did not factor in a health insurance plan for Conners Emerson employees that came back $75,000 less than expected.

Next year’s Warrant Committee will be elected at town meeting in an up-or-down vote on a slate of 22 nominees. The slate was prepared by a nominating committee comprised of Ferm, current Warrant Committee Chair John Dargis, current Warrant Committee Secretary Seth Libby, Jill Goldthwait and Dan Poteet.

Nominees Michael Handwerk, Meagan Kelly and Anne Marie Quin would be new to the committee. Dargis, Andrew Daul and Robert Chaplin are stepping down.

All articles that will be decided at the open town meeting are unanimously recommended for adoption by the Town Council and Warrant Committee.

June 12 elections

The first of seven articles on the June 12 written ballot is the election of town officers. In the only contested election, three candidates are running for two seats on the Town Council. The candidates are bicycle shop owner Joe Minutolo, incumbent council Vice Chair Gary Friedmann and inn owner Peter St. Germain.

Article 6, if approved, would generate $3.5 million in bond revenue to purchase the abandoned ferry terminal property at 121 Eden St. from the Maine Department of Transportation. Both the Town Council and the Warrant Committee unanimously recommended passing article 6.

Article 7 is a $600,000 bond issue for a parking kiosk and meter system to be used in downtown Bar Harbor beginning in 2019. Town Manager Cornell Knight said income from parking meters, kiosks and permits, an estimated $500,000 per year, would cover the bond debt in two years.

The council unanimously recommended adoption of the bond, and the Warrant Committee voted 15-2 in favor of adoption.

Four land use ordinance (LUO) changes also will be on the ballot.

Article 2, omission of timber harvesting language in the LUO, and article 3, changes to shoreland zoning, were spurred by their inconsistencies with state regulations. State officials told Angie Chamberlain, interim planning director at the time, the state would not enforce the town’s unique timber harvesting regulations and warned them about inconsistent zoning in shoreland.

The Planning Board unanimously recommended adoption of both articles. The Warrant Committee unanimously recommended adopting the shoreland zoning changes, but voted 15-2 in favor of rejecting the timber harvesting changes.

Article 4 would remove appendix C, a table that lists allowed uses for 30 of Bar Harbor’s 40 zoning districts, and include its information in the text of the LUO. Both the Planning Board and Warrant Committee unanimously recommended adoption.

Article 5 would rezone Acadia Veterinary Hospital at 21 Federal St. from the Downtown Residential district to the Downtown Village II district and add “veterinary clinic” to the permitted uses of the latter district.

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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