The major issues with which residents of Mount Desert Island have been concerned for several years have not gone away. Resource conservation, maintenance of a viable year-round population, balancing the role of tourism in our local economy, reducing the duplication of municipal services, dealing with summer traffic congestion – all of these things and more remain on our plate. But it seems to us that discussion of them has moderated in a significant way over recent months, with such matters taking a back seat to other more immediate global concerns.
Without a doubt the United States, along with most other developed countries, is currently experiencing the greatest financial crisis of our time. And the worldwide economic meltdown has widespread negative implications for our national, state and local governments, for our businesses, for our charitable institutions, and for all of us as individuals. But just exactly what the effects will ultimately be is unknown, leading to much worry and uncertainty about the future.
How will our federal government handle trillion dollar annual budget deficits? How will Maine handle decreasing amounts of federal funds available to the states? How will our municipalities handle corresponding reductions in state financial support for localities? What will a poor economy do to our tourism industry? How can we protect critical funding for Acadia National Park? Will our residents be able to get or keep good jobs?
All of these questions cry out for answers, and the uncertainty surrounding them has, at least for the moment, drowned out discussion of more familiar island issues.