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April 20, 2017

Audit: Camden exceeds voter-approved bond in Ragged Mountain development

An audit of the redevelopment of the Ragged Mountain Recreation Area, which includes the Camden Snow Bowl, shows that the town exceeded its voter-authorized $2 million bond expenditure by $743,134.

The PenBay Pilot reported that the auditor's report showed more than $6.5 million has been spent on Snow Bowl improvements, including a new chairlift, new snow guns, erosion control and trail work. The $743,134 represents funds that came from the town's coffers above and beyond the voter-approved $2 million bond and donations raised by the nonprofit Ragged Mountain Recreation Area Fund for the redevelopment effort, the newspaper reported.

The auditor advised the town and the foundation to improve their "dialogue" about the project with ongoing budget analyses.

The goal of the redevelopment, which began in 2014, was to improve the ski area, transform the overall recreation area into a four-season enterprise, and help stimulate the region's outdoor economy, the newspaper reported.

The Camden Snow Bowl is a small, community-owned ski area located about 4.5 miles from Penobscot Bay on 1,300-foot Ragged Mountain and bringing over $3.7 million annually to the local economy, according to the foundation's website.

The redevelopment was undertaken with the expectation of bringing more traffic and revenue, with the four-season recreation area expected to generate more than $5 million annually in the area.

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