letter to the editor

Support our future

Posted:  Monday, January 14, 2019 - 5:30pm
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Dear Editor:

Our 12-mile driveway, limited water, sewer and power infrastructure are obstacles for development. Our economy is driven by tourism, fishing, boat building, Bigelow Labs, CMBG and other service businesses.

Our population is aging so we have fewer children in our school system. Our current cost per student $20k/yr versus a state average of $15k/yr and maximum allowable tuition rate of ~$12k/yr. Our schools are half full and in desperate need of multi-million-dollar infrastructure investments. Our current costs are going to rise, which increase the economic benefit of “tuitioning” our children to surrounding schools. Those are cold facts.

Our footbridge needs repairs and our plans are bigger than our wallets given the ~$2M price tag and $500k of state funds.

Water rates have increased by 30 percent and sewer rates are rising. Rising costs could be offset with additional connections but municipal capital or outside investments are needed.

Fishermen need a place to buy bait, sell their catch and work on their boats. In earlier meetings, Doug Carter and Tom Philbrick have affirmed that we have excess capacity at their respective east side locations.

If you haven’t driven down Atlantic Avenue in the past 50 years, I encourage you to take a drive. We have existing, non-conforming hotels in this zone and a stated desire to revitalize these properties. There is no plan to convert existing working waterfront businesses to other commercial uses.

There is a difference in tax revenues when a building is rebuilt versus remodeled. The town assessor has confirmed that rebuilding 65 Atlantic Ave. at a finish level commiserate with the Boothbay Harbor Country Club could yield incremental tax revenue greater then $200k. Those dollars would go a long way towards funding our schools, footbridge, sidewalks and other infrastructure investments. Revitalization brings good paying construction jobs as well as new seasonal and year-round jobs. Tourism is one of the top economic drivers of Maine’s economy bringing in nearly $9 billion in sales, $600 million in taxes and supporting 107,000 jobs. Let’s support the east side rezoning – our future is dependent on it.

Patty Minerich

Boothbay Harbor