To the Editor:
My name is Tim Searchfield, I am a Bar Harbor resident. I own a bed and breakfast here in town.
I watched the July 19 Town Council meeting with interest. On the schedule was a discussion of land use ordinances and how a group of 200-plus citizens hope to stop cruise ships from visiting Bar Harbor. There were citizens in both camps who spoke passionately about what the cruise ships mean to them. There were also two lawyers who spoke. One lawyer told us how the citizens’ initiative was a non-starter and the other lawyer told us how this is a worthwhile endeavor.
This lawyer banter is exactly why I am writing this letter and here is my concern: How much more taxpayer money is the Town Council willing to throw at lawyers every time some disgruntled citizen wants to raise their voice and start an initiative? What is the cost to taxpayers going to be and when will it stop?
I don’t know for sure, but I am going to speculate that our town lawyer is not a specialist who practices maritime law or commerce law. The town will have to hire specialist lawyers for this. I’m guessing lawyers who specialize in these laws are not cheap. I would wager they are somewhere in the realm of $500 to $1,000 an hour, but who knows?
My point is this folly could easily cost the town hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of dollars in legal fees over the course of the impending lawsuits. I for one don’t want my taxes going up. I say STOP! Stop lining the pockets of lawyers at the expense of Bar Harbor residents.
I ask the Town Council to update the residents at their next meeting by telling us how much we have already spent on lawyers for this initiative, how much the specialist lawyers cost per hour and what the estimate is for the legal fees this citizens’ initiative will cost the other 5,000-plus citizens of Bar Harbor.