Selectmen, Harbor Committee set action agenda
Lincolnville — In the first of what promises to be a series of meetings between the Board of Selectmen and the Harbor Committee July 23, a range of issues was discussed, and several action items identified.
It was decided that public comment would be deferred to a later meeting, since this was the first time the current Harbor Committee and selectmen had met to talk about issues affecting the harbor, and there was a long agenda. Also, the Board voted at the beginning of the meeting to table the first agenda item —a question concerning a possible conflict of interest on the part-time Harbormaster Mike Hutchings. Selectman Art Durity said he would prefer to see the item discussed in a regular meeting of the selectmen, possibly in executive session.
Town Administrator David Kinney reminded those present that Lincolnville voters had adopted a comprehensive plan in 2006, which laid out goals for the harbormaster and harbor committee, among others, and the time within which they were to be completed.
Among the goals assigned to the harbormaster were moving the bait boxes to make more room on the pier, finding a way to supply fresh water to the floats and promoting communication with Islesboro regarding harbor affairs.
Hutchings said he had so far been unable to get the Maine Department of Transportation, which runs the ferry service, including the ticket office at Lincolnville Beach, to cooperate in the provision of fresh water to the floats. He said it should be possible to tap into the pipes serving the ticket office for that purpose. This item was also a Harbor Committee goal.
On the topic of the bait boxes, he said more could be provided, but it would be very expensive, adding that he felt it was a "wish-list" item.
Regarding communication with Islesboro, Hutchings said communication had been on-again, off-again. Selectman Cathy Hardy suggested the Harbor Committee and harbormaster invited Isleboro officials to one of their meetings each year. Shey Conover, a member of the Harbor Committee and a resident of Isleboro, said she thought the town's selectmen would be receptive to a late fall or early winter meeting.
Another of the tasks assigned to the harbormaster was to maintain the wooden wave screen between the ferry pier's pilings. In response to a question of Board of Selectmen Chairman Ladleah Dunn, Kinney said the wave screen will be rebuilt this winter. Dunn replied, “We are going to have to sink serious money into that facility [the pier] coming up.”
Dunn also asked Hutchings to update the mooring map yearly, as the town's Harbor Ordinance requires. He indicated there would be very little change reflected on an updated map.
Reviewing his committee's work on its comprehensive plan goals, Harbor Committee Chairman Shane LaPrade noted there had been a lot of turnover on the Harbor Committee, and it has only begun to work seriously on the goals this year.
He said the committee had looked into installing more moorings in the outer harbor and creating more dinghy storage in the harbor area, but has not completed either task.
During an extended discussion about the proper labeling and inspection of moorings, selectmen wanted Hutchings to do more to ensure that moorings are labeled as they should be, and the labels are easy to read. The harbormaster said he prioritizes what needs to be done to keep the pier and harbor running, and puts minor tasks, like mooring balls, on the back burner.
Hutchings also said he felt mooring owners were capable of inspecting their own moorings. “Most people are pretty diligent about their moorings. It's the wrong place to try to save some money.”
LaPrade brought up a proposal the Harbor Committee had brought before the selectmen in April to change the time limit on the guest moorings from four to 24 hours. Hutchings said he thought it would be alright to change the limit on one or two of them, but not all three. He also said the third mooring is out of service at the moment.
Hardy brought up the topic of the waiting lists for moorings in the inner and outer harbors, asking Hutchings whether the lists were current. He said those on the inner harbor list have to sign up for it each year; he indicated the outer harbor list was also current. He added that no new moorings could be added in the inner harbor, so the only way for someone on the waiting list to get one is for a current mooring holder to give one up.
Hardy went on to ask the harbormaster whether he could go out in the harbor with each of the 10 people on the outer harbor waiting list and assign them moorings. Hutchings explained that the number of outer harbor moorings had been held at 27 by policy, but since there was no limit in the Harbor Ordinance, he could assign more if so instructed.
“Whatever the policy wants to be, it's fine with me,” Hutchings said.
Dunn added, “If we have no limit, why do we have a [waiting] list?”
Toward the end of the meeting, Hardy read a list of items to be acted on: the Harbor Committee was to contact DOT about supplying fresh water to the pier, set a date for a meeting with representatives from Islesboro, contact the ferry service about placing a Dumpster at the pier and having trash collected regularly, draft language for a possible change to the Harbor Ordinance extending the time limit on guest moorings and work with the harbormaster to review and revise the mooring inspection form. Hutchings was to contact Prock Marine about getting a mooring to replace the guest mooring that is out of service. The harbor clerk was to contact those on the outer harbor waiting list, and Hutchings was to assign to moorings to any who said they wanted one.
Another meeting was set for Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 6 p.m. at the Town Office.
Courier Publications reporter Sarah Reynolds can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah E. Reynolds is copy editor for the Courier Gazette and Camden Herald.
Sarah E. Reynolds has been a reporter and writer for more than 20 years, winning awards from the Maine Press Association and other professional organizations. She loves to read, ride her ATV and play word games.