Crisis an opportunity, not a retreat

I have resided in Brunswick for more than 30 years and find it a vibrant and wonderful community. That said, the (generally) annual tax increase for residents is apparently due for an accelerated increase this coming year. While there are many seasonal residents and people with means in Brunswick, there are others who struggle to simply maintain their economic abilities and realities. It appears tourism dollars will be less than normal this summer, and many smaller businesses have been shuttered to a point where reopening may not be possible. Families are highly stressed due to job losses, reduced revenue and significant price increases at our local grocers.

Increasing property taxes is simply unfair to the majority of full time Brunswick residents. It’s time Brunswick creates policies and revenue collection procedures that tie our municipal and school budgets to the economic realities of our residents.

I believe the majority of Brunswick residents want to be kind and supportive of the less fortunate among us. I believe our elected officials share this vision. To continue our desire to help others and build a better town we must consider all aspects of life in Brunswick and treat all residents with fairness and compassion, not just those in dire need. Property tax increases reflect a burden on those who choose to live here. This also creates situations where people often seek towns other than Brunswick when they look for a place to call home.

This current crisis in Brunswick is an opportunity to rethink the manner in which services (town and education) are rendered and paid for so we have may flatten the taxation curve. It is an opportunity to streamline our services. It is an opportunity to re-invent Brunswick as a leader in value instead of a leader in tax hikes. We need to replace gentrification with core infrastructure improvements and efficiencies. With solid leadership and great residents, we can do this if we can break through the problematic posturing, identify the critical core services we all need, and implement cost sensitive and long lasting solutions for our changing community.

Ted Hunter,
Brunswick

Shutdown’s impact of Maine’s tourist area

On Wednesday, I took a walking tour of Kennebunkport and then drove through the Saco-Biddeford-Old Orchard Beach area.

Nearly all of downtown Kennebunkport is closed or has very limited hours; usually “closed until further notice” or “call for appt.” While early in the season, many of the homes on side streets were empty. Traffic on streets was mostly cyclists, skateboarders, walkers and runners, lots of them. Parking lots had no or only a few cars on them. At least store windows had displays to look at.

The drive north went through mile after mile of parking adjacent to beach access points that was closed off. Even more ominous were miles of empty motels; a few with “open June 1” signs. About the only thing open in OOB was Lisa’s with about a dozen people in front, none with masks on. No ferris wheel turning, no pier entrance open, no take outs, no bars but plenty of parking.

Ordered take out at the excellent deli in Cape Porpoise and went out a nearby street until the end where working lobster boats were tied up and a place to park overlooking the fleet of lobster boats and open ocean beyond. New lobster traps and buoys were piled up on shore ready to get deployed. Lobster houses were empty and with that huge demand gone the traps sit on the shore waiting until demand occurs.

Easy driving and walking, many beautiful spring gardens to appreciate but the local tourist/summer people economy was dormant. You can get cheap rooms but no lobster…still it’s Maine and when you get on those wide sweeping beaches, just stunning!

Frank J. Heller
Brunswick

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