Councilors Defend Spending

BAR HARBOR — A proposed budget calling for a 4.4 percent increase in property taxes was defended by town councilors Tuesday as responsible and as basic as possible.

“Over the last few years, we’ve cut and cut and cut, and there wasn’t anything to cut this year,” council chairman Ruth Eveland said. “I certainly understand the implications for somebody who is on a very fixed budget, and I don’t know quite how to fix all that.”

Only a few residents spoke at Tuesday’s public hearing. David Bowden and Tom Ingraham both took councilors to task for moving forward with the proposed budget, calling a 4.4 percent increase in property taxes too high relative to a number of local and national economic factors.

Mr. Bowden, who owns a shorefront cabin and motel business in Salisbury Cove, said that his yearly property taxes have risen from $16,000 in 2006 to $21,000 in 2011, a progression which he called unsustainable.

“I’m a small businessperson … at the rate we’re going, I won’t be here in 10 years,” he said. “This town will be like Northeast Harbor in 10 or 15 years … this is not good for your community.”

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