Camden Herald Letters to the Editor May 23

May 23, 2019

Taxpayers are considered when creating the school budget

In his letter to the editor, Ralph Wallace (“Consider taxpayers when creating the school budget”, May 16) incorrectly states that the “combined impact of the two school budget increases upon a Rockport resident is a whopping 16.91 percent.” The town of Rockport’s combined contribution to the MSAD 28 and Five Town CSD school budgets for 2019-2020 will increase by 8 percent over the 2018-2019 contribution, not 16.91 percent. Eight percent is a notable increase for a single year but it is due to a significant extent to the voter-approved financing for the new middle school construction and Mary E. Taylor building renovation projects and not a “...license to increase your taxes by extraordinary rates...” as Mr. Wallace states.

For both school boards, one of the guiding questions when building the budget is “What is fiscally responsible to our taxpayers?” Consideration of the impact to the taxpayer can be seen by looking at the long-term trend in budgeting and not just focusing on a single year. The 10- year average increase in the expense budget for the Five Town CSD is 2.06 percent. The 10- year average increase in the expense budget for MSAD 28 — and this includes the debt service for the new CRMS and renovated MET — is 3.02 percent. Both of these 10-year averages include the proposed 2019-2020 budgets that concern Mr. Wallace. I see this as evidence that the school boards have been, and will continue to be, prudent in building budgets.

The budgeting process occurs over several months in a series of meetings that are open to the public. Mr. Wallace and other citizens of the towns that financially support our schools are welcome to attend and give input at any of these meetings.

Matthew Dailey
, Chair

MSAD 28 School Board


Support for open primaries legislation

If you are an independent voter, not a member of either of our two major political parties, perhaps you, like me and many other independents are increasingly concerned about the parties' increasing tendency to have their better, more reasonable and less radical candidates eliminated by each party's more radical and more active minority. If so, wouldn't you welcome an opportunity to join with the more responsible members of one party or another to ensure that it was their best candidate that was nominated to run and not the nut-case put forward by a party's radical far right or far left wing?

There is currently a bill pending in the Maine Legislature, LD 211, "An Act To Open Maine's Primaries and Permit Unenrolled [i.e. independent] Voters To Cast Ballots in Primary Elections,” which will allow this at future elections. Maine is usually an innovator in electoral reform practices, but in this case we are among the 11 states that have not yet implemented this important democratizing reform.

Please take the time to contact your own state representative and ask him or her how they stand on this important issue.

Thank you,
Charlie Graham


Asks for 'a more nuanced description' from columnist

As a plant ecologist who selects native plant offerings for the Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District, I was dismayed by Tom Seymour’s alarmist statement about one of our plant sale offerings, the virgin’s bower clematis, which he described as “highly toxic” in his May 10 column. Virgin’s bower clematis is widely offered in the nursery trade and is planted as an ornamental, as are related cultivar vines. It attracts pollinators, including hummingbirds, and has a striking and unique beauty. In fact, many native plants as well as cultivated plants are not edible and contain compounds considered toxic if ingested.

Virgin’s bower clematis can produce short-lived (a few minutes), minor skin reactions in some individuals, as can some other cherished garden plants (or even long grass, for that matter), and some of these same plants have similar toxicity if eaten. It has been in fact used medicinally by indigenous peoples, although such use is not recommended today.

That being said, it was not offered as an edible plant, and one hopes that children and others are taught not to randomly sample plants on the landscape or out of our gardens. I certainly hope that in the future, Mr. Seymour is able to provide a more nuanced and complete description of native plants offered for use in planted landscapes.

Aleta McKeage
Technical Director
Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District


Food trucks

I know that there has been discussion over the years about how to maximize use of the town landing. I have a thought. I have just returned from a visit to Florida where I had lunch at a food truck pavilion. Food trucks seem to be all the rage these days! It was set up along the water in Naples and featured an open, but covered bar, about a dozen food trucks selling all sorts of interesting eats and tables and umbrellas spread across the fenced grounds. What if we got rid of most of the parking except for a small area at the bottom of the grade, created a series of pads for the trucks, and grassed the area between the trucks and the harbor. The court could be open from Memorial Day until Labor Day or later and the pads could revert to parking in the winter assuming one could figure out how to deal with any electrical or water hook-ups. I don’t know if a bar would be permitted under the land use ordinance, but what if it was fenced? It seems to me that this would attract a lot of people and would bolster retail and other restaurants..

As for parking we could make use of the lot by the police station and the Knox Mill. I wonder, too if it makes sense to start charging for street parking. Many towns have ticket machines that take either cash or credit cards. The purchased ticket is placed on the dash. This would eliminate the need for marking tires, although not the parking police.

Just a thought.

Dyke Messler



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Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | May 25, 2019 14:26

It seems like a very good thought to ponder.

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