Letters for July 16

Jul 16, 2020

Lack of civic pride?

I received my Republican Journal by mail on Thursday afternoon and read with interest the article about the woman who was threatened by the city of Belfast with a $100-a-day fine for not cleaning up her property. It ended well with help and the fine was not levied.

I have to ask: How can the City Council in good conscience levy a fine like that on a single mom who is working 12-hour shifts to make ends meet? I feel that the city itself is remiss in doing this while the entrances and exits to the city are overgrown with weeds yet again this year. I speak of the medians both north and south on Route 1 as well as on Route 3. Cracks in the pavement are home to many, as well as the base of many sign posts.

This is not inviting to our out-of-town visitors. I expect this in Third World countries. The pavements in other places in Maine are free of weeds and painted a bright green. What is wrong with Belfast? Lack of civic pride?

I suppose that the routes I have seen are state roads and not the responsibility of the city. We have a member of our state Legislature on the city payroll. Can nothing be done? It is reminiscent of The Bronx in New York. Why would anyone who had never been here before want to turn off Route 1 or Route 3 when they see how we take care of our public face?

Gary P. Philbrick

Belmont (formerly Belfast)

Proud to support Dodge

I am proud to support Jan Dodge’s reelection to the Maine House District 97. Jan has worked tirelessly to support legislation that is good for Maine. She has co-sponsored numerous partisan and bipartisan bills with Ryan Fecteau, Sarah Pebworth, Erin Herbig, Will Tuell, Matt Pouliot and others. She currently sits on the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, sharing her 25-plus years of teaching experience to help Maine's young people. She has a stellar reputation for honesty, integrity and willingness to work hard for Mainers. She has earned her bid for reelection! Check her out at: Facebook: Janice S. Dodge-Maine House District 97.

Elsie Andrews

Northport

Bad for the bay

This proposed industrial salmon farm would mean the rape of our Penobscot Bay estuary, and the potential introduction of pathogens that would impose on marine species in the bay, and spread to surrounding waters, the same sort of virgin soil epidemic that COVID-19 has imposed on mankind around the world.

Moreover, the proposed lifespan of the factory would be less than half a century, after which the stockholders would retire to Norway and the employees could suck rocks, while the bay would be empty of those fish and shellfish that have fed humans since the last glacier disappeared.

It must be stopped. The highest and best use of the Little River would be to replace the two deteriorating dams with new ones containing modern fish ladders, and stocking the ponds with alewives and elvers. Leasing the harvest rights would provide the area with an income for the next millennium or longer.

William Burgess Leavenworth

Searsmont

Time for a comprehensive city audit

The City Council will review the fiscal 2020/21 budget during a Zoom hearing next Tuesday. It would be nice if the councilors finally come out of their “bunkers” and return to City Hall, with proper social distancing and other protocols and return to normal life.

Has the $10.4 million of projected expenses received the needed scrutiny that the 100-year pandemic would justify? Any reduction in headcount? Are there serious property tax delinquencies on the horizon? Have “dead” assets been put on the sale? Oh, on the revenue side, state revenue-sharing, projected to be $ 927,000, has been reduced to $507,000, or a whopping 45% reduction. Does our city manager, a veteran of Augusta politics, have an explanation? What's the latest on the 55% school funding to help reduce property taxes?

It's time for a comprehensive “Municipal Performance Audit” to be performed by a company called Municipal Resources Inc. of New Hampshire. Their fee, which is estimated at around $30,000, represents just 3/10 of 1% of total expenses, yet their review would undoubtedly reveal massive savings for years to come.

This type of audit has never been done in Belfast and is well beyond the scope of the internal control review done by the city's auditor, C.R. Dorr, each year. On page 60 of their current report, they state, “accordingly, we do not express an opinion on the effectiveness of the City of Belfast's internal controls.” Wow, no review of internal controls!

MRI will perform a comprehensive operational review of the major cost centers, e.g., police, fire, EMT, public works, parks/rec, wastewater, and make recommendations for efficiency and effectiveness. They have performed this type of review for countless municipalities, such as the city of Gardiner, as well as quasi-governmental entities, such as the Boothbay Economic Development Plan.

The question is, do the City Council and administration really want to help Belfast citizens with lower taxes, or keep the status quo? As was famously asked, “What do you have to lose?”

Eric Schrader

Belfast

New Hope speaks up for justice

The Board of New Hope for Women joins many individuals and organizations in mourning the recent death of George Floyd and other African Americans because of systemic racism and inequity in our society. We recognize that it is our duty to speak out against all forms of injustice and draw connections between interlinked forms of oppression and violence as part of our mission to promote the health and safety of individuals, families, and communities in Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox, and Waldo counties.

While we do not have all of the answers, we re-commit ourselves to the following principles:

We value diversity in our communities, and commit to seeking out diversity in our board and in the organization’s staff;

We commit to ending oppression in all forms ;

We are committed to ongoing review of our policies and procedures to ensure that principles of equity and diversity are upheld on our board and in or organization;

We commit ourselves to having difficult conversations about racism, white privilege, and our role in all of these areas while we also strive to form a more just society;

We commit ourselves to support our staff as they confront these issues in their work.

Vera Roberts, president

Board of Directors

New Hope for Women

Rockland

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Patricia Keyes | Jul 20, 2020 16:46

News Update: Paul LePage has returned home and will be running for governor in 2022.

And in Florida, Mary Mayhew continues to supply the nation's most accurate daily covid statistics, town by town. A feat not accomplished here in Maine, where no such statistics exist, and therefore, no rational budgeting can be accomplished based on actual data. All the emergency savings from the previous administration were spent by February 1st last year, and ranked choice vote counting was expended on the CD2 Republican primary race AFTER the two with the least votes had already ceded. Govt efficiency. An oxymoron. How's that for realist?



Posted by: Seth Thayer | Jul 16, 2020 08:02

Mr. Schrader's letters should be taken for what they are intended to accomplish. His letters are loose on facts and cherry picked to make his points seem relevant. Mr. Schrader has been a vocal critic of everything Belfast since arriving here 3 years ago.  I understand he has finally gotten fed up with realist politics and is headed back to Florida with the likes of Paul LePage and Mary Meyhew.  He will probably have a much better time of it down there.

 

This comment has been edited to remove a personal attack. --Editor



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