Stepping up

While it is not written anywhere in stone, being part of a community requires that all members contribute to its success. In the case of small towns in Maine, that contribution requires effort over and above merely writing a check each year for property taxes.

No small community can function properly without a determined effort on each citizen’s part to make it a better place to live. There are ample opportunities to help, including volunteering at local charities, service organizations, and institutions such as schools, churches, libraries and hospitals.

Equally in need of volunteers are local government entities. While there’s an unfortunate trend to hold “guvment” in general in disdain, local governments are only as good as the quality and dedication of those who volunteer to serve in various capacities.

In Bar Harbor currently, there are numerous openings on boards and commissions that do the day-to-day work of making the community function.

In Mount Desert, officials are looking for ways to encourage greater participation in their fire department, due to a lack of sufficient volunteers. In order to keep crew levels from falling dangerously low, the town is considering the creation of two more paid positions in the department. Meanwhile, in Tremont, the town’s Warrant Committee, which makes vital recommendations on budgetary and other town meeting issues, is dead in the water, down to just two people.

Folks like to spout off about how their town should be run. Sitting on the outside, lobbing rhetorical bombs at those actually trying to do something constructive is easy. But criticism and complaint, without offering alternatives, contribute nothing constructive. The real world of local government is accomplished by neighbors getting together, rolling up their sleeves and becoming involved. Think about stepping up to do your part.

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