Thursday, January 30, 2014

“Top Ten Questions” Brunswick’s inquiring minds should want answered. On second thought, maybe not.

Questions, we have questions.  And we get questions as well.  It occurs to us that inquiring minds and interested students here in our perfect, richest little town in America would like answers to these questions.  So we’re throwing them out…………there.

Some of them might even stick to a wall somewhere, but we doubt anyone in the know or ‘in authority’ will pull any off the wall and provide answers.  Come to think of it, maybe we should have them turned into ‘visual art’ and use them to paper the new council chambers in the old McClellan building.

To assist you in comprehending their profundity, we’re grouping them into subject areas.

Brunswick Development Corporation/Brunswick Taxi

  • Why didn’t Brunswick Taxi have to submit a written application to the BDC to receive its quarter million dollar totally forgivable ‘loan’?
  • Does Brunswick Taxi’s consultant Scott Howard have any stake in the CNG Station planned for Brunswick Landing?  Could that possibly be why the BDC $247,000 sum includes $12,000 for CNG conversion to the taxi fleet?
  • When will we find out how much Amtrak is paying Brunswick Taxi for crew transport services?  Especially since we have a quarter of a million dollars of pubic money invested in the company that holds the contract.
  • Why didn’t Amtrak simply buy or lease a vehicle or two for the crews to use for self-transport?   They could have driven it up from Portland and placed it in an inexpensive garage, and then used it the next day for a return trip to Portland.  We think that would save well over $100,000 a year.
  • How much was Scott Howard paid for his consulting role in obtaining the BDC ‘loan’ to Brunswick Taxi, and from where did the funds come?  The promissory note does not show any fund allocation to pay for his services.


  • Is the BDC issuing appropriate IRS documents to BT to establish that a ‘forgivable loan’ is income?


Amtrak Downeaster & Concord Trailways

  • When will the Brunswick Downtown Association and town officials herald Concord Trailways for their role in economic growth and vitality?


  • What does the Amtrak Downeaster train connection to Brunswick offer that Concord Trailways buses do not?
  • Why are locals so enamored with the Downeaster and its ongoing costs and higher fares, lesser service, and lack of flexibility as compared to the bus service?

Concord Trailways Schedule

Downeaster Brunswick Schedule

Downeaster Schedule


  • School spending per student in Brunswick has grown in 10 years from less than $8,000 per student to more than $15,000 per student; what increase in educational value have we received for this doubling in cost?  What increases in achievement?
  • Numerous local voices assert that Brunswick has excellent schools; what data is used to support this claim?  In other words, how do they know?
  • Other voices state that people move to Brunswick because of  our schools; what data do they use to support this?  Have they determined why people move out of Brunswick?  And compared the two?
  • How much will property taxes increase over the next five years on the basis of facts already known and the existing 5 year CIP?  Don’t forget to factor in the proposed outdoor pool at the Rec Center at Brunswick Landing, which will no doubt morph into an indoor year round pool.  What’s wrong with Coffin Pond?  And don’t forget cost growth at McClellan, which will probably continue for at least a year or two.  Oops….sorry; I forgot this is Cape Brunswick; if you don’t like the tax increases, you should move, as we were reminded by one member of the mommy mafia.

Town Council & Mr. Manager

  • What are the real reasons Mr. Manager resigned, and received a sizable pay-off for doing so?

  • Who knows the real facts behind the separation from employment by the town council, and when will they tell us?

  • Does Mr. Manager have any possible business interests tied to the proposed Cooks Corner new road, or any other in-town development efforts that have arisen during his watch?
  • Why isn’t the Town Council supporting constituents in opposing the Amtrak MLF evolution at the in-town Brunswick West site?


  • What is the council’s “new direction?”  What was the “old direction?”
  • Why did then Council Chair Suzan Wilson inflexibly reject our invitation to visit the proposed Brunswick West MLF site to personally experience the noise, vibration, and fumes of an idling Amtrak train set?


  • Why isn’t town councilor John “Johnny Protocols” Richardson, with his impeccable resume in economic and community development, vociferously advocating relocation of the MLF to Brunswick Landing or the Crooker Site at Cooks Corner to advance local, regional, and state multi-modal economic development, significantly reduce construction costs, and provide at least a chance for return on investment?


OK, so it’s more than ten; but we started the idea with three!  So cut us slack like everyone cut the council and Mr. Manager when McClellan costs grew from $100,000 to well over $1 million, on the way to two million before long, we’d bet.

Not that it matters much around here.  We’ve got community pride to worry about, don’t you know?  And besides; it’s not costing the town anything.

It’s costing you.


  1. The first rule in swindling or fraud is to not leave a paper trail. That is why you will never get an answer to most of your questions. On the other hand, the Freedom of Information Act should get you how much AMTRAK is paying Brunswick Taxi. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for an answer however and legal fees to have a lawyer sue for it will empty your pocket and for what purpose?

  2. A friend suggested we should have included "When will Bowdoin start paying it's fair share of taxes?"

    Such an insensitive thing to say.

    We like it.