As the Bangor City Council nears a final estimate on the cost of building a new arena and civic center, an opposition group wants to mount a petition drive to put the issue on the ballot. Should residents get to say whether or not the project goes forward? Or should the council, as the representative government, be able to make such decisions without the threat of a citizen veto?
The argument against putting the question to a city-wide vote is that the council, city committees and staff have worked for years developing the multi-faceted plan. It includes a funding scheme that calls for borrowing money to be repaid with revenue from the city’s share of the proceeds from Hollywood Slots. Such a complex matter does not lend itself to an up or down vote, opponents of the referendum
say. Those supporting a referendum argue that a project of such magnitude, which likely will be supported in some manner with tax dollars, should have to pass muster with voters. If the referendum is on the ballot, will opportunities be lost, such as getting a low interest rate?