Mount Desert should be rightly proud of its recent designation as the second most valuable town in Maine (on a resident per capita basis) – at least as far as total tax valuation goes.
But, as elected officials there know full well, that doesn’t necessarily mean the town is full of rich people. Granted, many seasonal property owners may be among the wealthiest individuals on the planet. But the vast majority of the year-round inhabitants are hardworking people of much, much more modest means. Like people in small towns all over Maine, some struggle daily to make ends meet.
In any town, there is a wide spread of income levels. In Mount Desert, there is a span from pensioners on fixed incomes to the world’s super rich. The seasonal property value of those summer estates is the major contributor in placing the town next to the top of the valuation list.
But the total wealth of a community is measured, practically, in categories far removed from dollars and cents. In that sense, Mount Desert still remains among the richest in the state. Its townspeople and long-term summer residents, many of whose families have been integral parts of the fabric of that community for multiple generations, are industrious, generous, friendly, innovative and extraordinarily mindful and respectful of the character and sense of place they all treasure.
In the end, it is those factors, much more than the sum total of the value of its real estate, that help make Mount Desert one of the most envied communities in Maine.