To the Editor: We’re glad you came 

To the Editor: 

As the Bar Harbor Town Council, comprised of Val Peacock, Matt Hochman, Erin Cough, Jeff Dobbs, Gary Friedmann, Jill Goldthwait and Joe Minutolo, begins a new year, our first official action is to say THANK YOU to our community. Thank you for making this year’s town meeting a success. The meeting was well attended, with about 170 residents present. 

Town staff pitched in behind the scenes in many ways. Our new town manager was well prepared and made sure it went smoothly, making information on the major ballot items available well before the meeting.  

Town Clerk Liz Graves had all the logistical details under control. Moderator Bill Ferm once again guided us gently but firmly through the procedural intricacies of town meeting. A welcome team signed voters in and issued voter identification cards. 

On the single budget item on which there was a difference of opinion between the Warrant Committee and the Town Council, Warrant Committee Chair Seth Libby put it this way, “This is not about who loves our school and who doesn’t, who support our kids and who doesn’t. It is simply two different ways to think about providing the resources they need.” 

All the effort that goes into town meeting is meaningless unless town voters come out. This year you came. You listened respectfully, commented thoughtfully, asked helpful questions and generously and spontaneously recognized our former Town Manager Cornell Knight and current Town Manager Kevin Sutherland. 

Whether you came to listen and learn, to comment on the proposals on the ballot or just to vote, we’re glad you came. We can’t do our job effectively if you don’t participate. Thank you for making it a positive and useful town meeting. 

Incumbents Jeff Dobbs and Matt Hochman, the only candidates for the two open Town Council seats, won reelection. We elected a new chair, Val Peacock, when Jeff stepped aside after three years as chair to open the opportunity to another member. Matt was reelected vice chair. Every Town Council meeting (the first and third Tuesday of every month) begins with a public comment period. We hope you will come and participate. 

Town meeting is often called the truest form of democracy. It can be, but only if the voters come, speak and vote. Without you, it loses its meaning. Thank you for coming. 

Bar Harbor Town Council 

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