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Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, January 23, 2014
Shellfish committee to seek support at Deer Isle town meeting

by Jessica Brophy

At their Thursday, January 16, meeting, the Deer Isle selectmen heard an appeal from Shellfish Committee member Alton Smith to be included on the town meeting warrant at a funding level similar to last year.

Last year, residents approved $13,500 to support the Shellfish Committee’s preservation efforts. This primarily pays for the salary of Shellfish Warden Raelene Pert.

“We’d like to ask for what we did last year,” said Smith to the selectmen.

The preservation efforts cost about $2,000 a month. There are currently several thousand dollars worth of outstanding and uncollected fines, said Smith.

“I personally think you’d be hard-pressed to raise more than that,” said Third Selectman Lewis Ellis. Smith said the committee was seeking the same support, not more.

Smith said diggers have had discussions about whether to raise the license fees or not. “We don’t like coming to the towns, but if you raise the fees, some people think you’re trying to keep them out,” said Smith.

Smith suggested considering changing the Shellfish Ordinance so the committee could adjust fees yearly. Currently, a town-wide vote is required to change the fees.

Ellis said that might be possible to consider for next year.

The selectmen also approved a $2.5 million dollar tax anticipation note, taken out at a .95 percent interest rate from Bar Harbor Bank & Trust. The TAN is money borrowed annually by the town to pay for expenses until tax monies come in. The interest paid on the note will total $21,797.

The board meets every Thursday night at 6 p.m.