Camden Herald Letters to the Editor May 30

May 30, 2019

Tax Honesty

[The following letter is in response to a letter from MSAD 28 School Board Chairman Matthew Dailey in the May 23 Camden Herald.]

In response to my complaint about school tax increases, I think the Board Chairman, Matthew Dailey, was a little disingenuous. He stated that the MSAD 28 tax increase was 8 percent. True. However, that is the increase on  the full school budget. The tax increase on Rockport property owners to support that budget is 11 percent. Similarly, the Five-Town budget for the high school is 2.89 percent, and the impact on Rockport properties to fund that second budget is 2 percent.

The last time I checked my math on this, I discovered that an 11 percent increase by MSAD 28 on my current tax combined with a 2 percent increase by the Five-Town Board on my current tax yields – surprise, a 13 percent total tax increase on my property! So, I will respectfully disagree with chairman Dailey on his claim that taxpayers are considered when creating the budget. Rockport property valuations are certainly not increasing by 13 percent this year. Again, with school taxes such as this – combined with town taxes, Rockport property taxes will soon double.

In a state which has the unenviable distinction of ranking Number 1 in the country on total tax impact on its residents, local school boards need to deeply consider how they are impacting this heavy tax burden.

Dr. Ralph Wallace


Denise Munger for Rockport Select Board

While I am running unopposed for Rockport Select Board, I believe it is important for Rockport residents to know something about me, why I am running for Select Board, and why they should vote for me.  I care deeply about Rockport and both its current and future direction.  As a retired partner in Denver, Colorado’s largest law firm, and with over 30 years of practicing law, I believe that I have skills that will be helpful to the town and I have the time to devote to the interests and concerns of Rockport residents.

My husband and I moved to Rockport in 2015, having chosen this amazing community as our full-time home after nearly 40 years in Colorado.  Since then I have worked behind the scenes with committees and organizations that support Rockport interests, from the Rockport Garden Club with its emphasis on town beautification projects and scholarships to deserving students in the community, to the Library Foundation and its fundraising support for the new Rockport Public Library, as well as the Library Building Committee and the Rockport Beautification Committee.  During this time, I have been happy to be behind the scenes supporting the work these organizations are doing for Rockport.  Despite being relatively new to this community I have found many opportunities to be of service to Rockport and believe the Select Board position is another way I can be of service in Rockport.  

Words that describe me include thoughtful, balanced, reasonable, fact-based, open-minded, fiscally responsible, and a good listener.   My approach in decision making is to study the issue and learn the facts, listen to all sides and work with all affected in reaching a decision that is grounded in the law, common sense and achieves common ground and compromise.  

My goals as a member of the Rockport Select Board would be to plan for and invest in the future of Rockport, keep the town financially healthy and look for opportunities to enhance the quality of life.  I will work hard for the residents of Rockport and listen to your issues and concerns.  I would consider it an honor and privilege to serve Rockport on the Select Board.  

Denise Kennedy Munger



Support the Camden Public Library

Having served on the Town of Camden's Budget Committee for the past three years, we've learned a lot of interesting things about how the various town departments operate. We've also gained some insights into how some people regard our town institutions.

One budget item we've been genuinely surprised to hear push-back on is the Camden Public Library. One year a fellow Budget Committee member seriously put forward the idea that the town should sell the library and its land to a hotel developer, to raise the town's tax base. (The land the library is on was donated to the town for the sole purpose of a library, so this can never happen.) This year, when a select board member questioned an increase in the library budget, someone suggested that the library start holding bake sales to help meet its budget.

Fortunately, most of the town appreciates our library: over 80 percent of Camden residents have a library card! While most Americans check out an average of eight books a year, here in Camden we check out 20. And for the past nine years, our library has consistently received a five-star rating from Library Journal, ranking it among the very top libraries in the country.

The Camden Public Library is a vibrant community center, offering services that aren't publicly available anywhere else in town, such as computers with Internet, printing, and scanning, as well as free Wi-Fi in a safe, clean space, free interlibrary loan among most of Maine's libraries, and homebound book delivery. On any day you might see kids being tutored, teens hanging out on bean bags, younger children being read to or led in some creative project by the indomitable children's librarian Miss Amy, people quietly reading the paper or studying in the upstairs reading room, or perhaps checking email or writing their resume on a library computer. You see library patrons checking out everything from the latest bestsellers to audiobooks to movie DVDs to music CDs to activity kits for kids. The History Center offers a rich and fascinating archive of local history, including artifacts associated with local girl turned Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. The Picker Room serves as an ever-changing gallery space, as well as a much-used event space for readings, lectures, meetings, and talks sponsored by the library and many other local organizations.

And that's just inside the library. The library grounds include some of the prettiest and most-used, best-loved public spaces in our very scenic, very busy town: the historic Amphitheatre and Harbor Park.

People move to this town because they're drawn to such community assets as our remarkable library. So resistance to the proposed library budget, less than half of which is actually contributed by the town itself, seems short-sighted at best. (Library staff work very hard all year to bring in the rest via foundation grants, individual donations, and revenue from services.) The library needs to upgrade its HVAC system, a critical component of a building that's mostly underground. It needs a new roof; ditto. So its needs will be a little greater than usual next year, but these are not frivolous expenses. And they cannot be addressed by librarians holding bake sales, a suggestion that is as demeaning as it is laughable. These are crucial investments in an institution that is a community cornerstone, that raises our quality of life, attracts people to the area, and serves as a dynamic hub of social and intellectual activity.

We urge you to please keep in mind the true and full value of our library, and not just when you're voting for our town budget this June. Check out online the library's Campaign for the Future. Shop the library's upcoming book sales. What our library brings to our community is a benefit that far outweighs any perceived loss of property tax revenue. Imagine that instead of the library at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Main Street, there was a big hotel. Imagine that the Amphitheatre and Harbor Park were private property, fenced off and inaccessible. Is that a Camden you'd want to live in, or even visit?

Mark Coursey, Esq.


Kristen Lindquist



Support Thomas Ingraham for select board

On June 11 Hope voters will have the opportunity to elect Thomas Ingraham for select board.  A lifelong Mainer, Thom retired to Hope in 2012. Since then he has served on the town’s school board and the Hope solar committee. His experience as a secondary English teacher and middle school principal point to both his commitment to education and his ability as a public administrator.  I urge all Hope voters to give Thomas Ingraham a check mark on their ballot.

Harold B. Mosher




Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | May 30, 2019 13:11

Where would I have been without the Camden Library? My children and I enjoyed picking out books to read and with joy!

My girls were 8 and 6 when I introduced them to "Library books" It was a joy to enjoy the quiet times as they read new books while I lingered  in the adult section picking out my new found reading treasures.

Where would Camden be without a Library? How would children enjoy books if not for the local Library?

Be serious, upkeep to the Library is a non-brainer.

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever +:)

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