Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013: Rights-based ordinances, Snow Bowl vote, Bangor school budget

Posted Nov. 01, 2013, at 1:27 p.m.

Beware of ordinances

I write to ask people to please take a really close look at these rights-based ordinances many towns in our area are considering. These ordinances take property rights from landowners and give those rights to plants and animals or ecosystems. These ordinances give people from anywhere in the world standing in court to sue landowners to enforce compliance. Will any of us have the money to fight a wealthy environmental group in court if they want to stop us from building or using our own land? Think of the jobs and revenue lost in towns where development is stopped.

These ordinances also grant rights to an unspoiled vista. Literally, that means if someone doesn’t like the way your property use affects their view, they can make you stop. If your neighbor doesn’t like the looks of your property, he can demand the town protect his unspoiled vista. If you want to put in a house trailer for your mother–in-law and anyone from anywhere doesn’t like the way it looks, they can stop you. Do you hire an attorney to protect your property rights, or do you just forget it?

Towns can’t take away rights granted by the Constitution with an ordinance. If they try, the legal costs can be huge when those with deep pockets are affected. Costs that will end up on our property tax bills.

These are only two issues with the rights-based ordinances. There are many more.

 

Sen. Doug Thomas, R-Ripley

 

Support armories

I was disappointed to see the Bangor Daily News’ opposition to a bond issue that would bring much-needed repairs to Maine’s armories.

I have historically opposed most borrowing measures that we send out to voters, but this is an exception — and for good reason.

Maine’s armories are the buildings that our National Guard troops use when they are preparing to ship overseas to defend our country. Many of them have malfunctioning heating systems, leaking roofs and asbestos issues. Frankly, I believe it is a disgraceful message we are sending to our soldiers when we tell them that they are not important enough to have adequate facilities.

One of the paper’s arguments is that repairing the armories would bring limited economic benefit to Maine. Yet media organizations routinely support bond issues because of the jobs that will be created by building roads and bridges, for example. Workers will also be needed to repair our armories; so in that sense, it is as much of a job creator as other bonds we pass.

The armories are not just a home base for our soldiers. They are also used as warming shelters and staging areas during emergencies.

In short, they fill a very vital role in our communities and for the state at large. The Legislature backed this proposal with broad support, and I believe voters will, as well, on Nov. 5.

Sen. Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport

 

Snow Bowl vote

On Tuesday, Camden voters will decide if it’s time to complete the funding package for the redevelopment of the Camden Snow Bowl at Ragged Mountain. Since 2008, countless volunteer hours and efforts have gone into the planning and fundraising to get to this milestone. The capital campaign has been successful with $4.5 million in private donations pledged, representing 70 percent of the total needed to complete the project.

In November 2008, Camden voters voiced their support for municipal financing for 30 percent of the project by a 2-1 margin. We are hoping for the same support next week.

It is time to move forward with the infrastructure improvements necessary to keep the Snow Bowl and its outdoor recreation programs alive and well for the next generation. It’s time to support our kids and the kid in all of us with local year-round outdoor recreation that is unique to our part of coastal Maine. It’s time to acknowledge the economic benefit the Snow Bowl makes to our local economy.

Camden voters needing information about the project can go to the Town Office or to www.camdensnowbowl.com and click on “redevelopment.”

Thank you to all of the volunteers and contributors in this amazing effort to date. See you at the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 5, to vote yes for the Snow Bowl.

Bob Gordon

Rick Knowlton

Co-Chairs, Ragged Mountain Redevelopment Committee

Camden

Bangor school budget

The citizens of Bangor must once again vote on the fiscal year 2014 school budget. Please allow me to explain how this revised budget will not require any additional monies from the taxpayers of Bangor.

Last spring, the fiscal year 2014 Bangor school budget was overwhelmingly approved, with 77 percent of the votes, at the June 18 election. However, the state’s biennial budget, which was finally approved after the June 18 election, altered Maine law and shifted the state’s responsibility of teacher normal retirement costs to local school districts.

This shift added nearly $645,000 of expenditures for the Bangor School Department that are not covered within the current version of the voter approved budget from June 18. Fortunately, Bangor is receiving additional state revenues to essentially cover this new cost. Therefore, the revised budget will not require any additional monies from the taxpayers of Bangor.

Bangor residents need to approve the revised school budget on Tuesday, Nov.5 by voting yes. In the event this vote does not pass, we would have to cut from the current budget to cover these required additional retirement costs shifted from the state to the local school district. As you would expect, this would be devastating to our school system and our students’ education.

For further information, please visit the Bangor School Department website at www.bangorschools.net or contact the Bangor Superintendent’s Office at 992-4153.

Phyllis S. Guerette

Chair, Bangor School Committee

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/11/01/opinion/saturday-nov-2-2013-rights-based-ordinances-snow-bowl-vote-bangor-school-budget/ printed on September 23, 2014