May 23, 2018
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Bar Harbor looks to fill vacant planning post

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

BAR HARBOR, Maine — The town manager is recommending that the town refill a position that has been vacant for the past 18 months.

Bar Harbor has not had a planning director since July 2011, when Anne Krieg resigned the position after being placed on administrative leave. Town officials and Krieg, who received $84,500 in severance pay, have declined to comment on why she was placed on leave and then resigned.

However, according to an attorney who represented residents who recently sued the town over local land use zoning referendums in 2010, Krieg’s suspension may have stemmed from the confusion and mishandling of proposed ordinance amendments before the vote.

Earlier this month, a Superior Court justice sided with the residents, ruling that the town insufficiently publicized what proposed changes were being voted upon.

In his 2013-2014 budget proposal to the Town Council, Town Manager Dana Reed has suggested creating a new position to oversee the department. The position would be different from the one formerly held by Krieg, however, because planning would fill only part of its duties. In a memo submitted to the council on Jan. 14, Reed indicated that the position would have the title of special projects director and also would oversee the town’s human resources, GIS, assessing and code enforcement departments.

According to Reed, the projected cost in next year’s budget for the position, which he does not think will be filled until October, is roughly $66,500.

Whether the position ends up in the town’s final budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1, remains to be seen. The town’s elected council and appointed warrant committee are expected to go over Reed’s proposed $10.4 million municipal budget and make their own recommendations before the final version is presented to voters at the annual town meeting on June 4.

The proposed $10.4 million figure does not include $5.3 million in projected expenses for the local K-8 school, $553,000 in anticipated Hancock County taxes assessed to the town, or the town’s expected $2.6 million share of the annual MDI High School budget. The total initial estimate for all these costs is nearly $19 million which, if adopted as proposed, would result in a 2.6 percent hike in property taxes or, for the owner of a local median priced home of $276,650, a $70 increase on that homeowner’s local tax bill, according to Reed.

Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.

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