To the Editor:
I’d like to respond to the recent Islander editorial “Academic argument.” Yes, the Southwest Harbor Warrant Committee wants to “to make a statement about holding the line.” But there was much more behind the Warrant Committee’s recommendation that was not reported. I wish it had been.
The Warrant Committee’s job is to review, advise and recommend, representing and considering the concerns of all Southwest Harbor citizens as best we can. We are not the body that draws up warrants for the town meeting. The Select Board has that responsibility. They listened to our recommendations; they will decide how to proceed with the warrants.
Southwest Harbor lost approximately 200 year-round residents between the 2000 and the 2010 census. Property values make it difficult for young families with school-age children to move here. As a result, many properties have become summer residences. Without school consolidation, we may be looking at a declining school population and a concomitant increase in cost per pupil. Will continuing increases in property taxes lead to a further decline in population?
I and other members of the Warrant Committee hope to spur open discussion in the town about costs, including the school budget. We hope more people will go to town meeting, express their views – whatever they may be – and vote.
If that happens, I for one will feel the Warrant Committee has done its job.