Lincolnville Selectmen to support Islesboro complaint about ferry fare increase

By Susan Mustapich | May 15, 2018
Source: The Lincolnville Beach terminal of the Islesboro Ferry.

LINCOLNVILLE — The Lincolnville Board of Selectmen voted to prepare a letter of support for the town of Islesboro, which is challenging a decision by the Maine State Ferry Service to more than double ticket prices for a round trip between the island and Lincolnville Beach.

Town Administrator David Kinney advised the Board of Selectmen that the new fares go into effect May 21, and he thought the town of Lincolnville's letter should be issued prior to that date, if the board supported the idea.

Board members voted to appoint chairperson Ladleah Dunn to work with Kinney on the letter of support. Due to the absence of board members Jonathan Fishman and Keryn Laite Jr., and the urgency of issuing the letter, board members Dunn, Josh Gerritsen and David Barrows cast the vote. Without Dunn's vote, there would not have been a quorum, according to Kinney.

Dunn stated that the town of Lincolnville has committed support in general to the town of Islesboro regarding maritime matters, and should continue an open dialogue.

Over the past two years, Lincolnville and Islesboro boards of selectmen have held joint meetings to discuss use of the town-owned pier at Lincolnville Beach. The two towns came to an agreement on a wider gangway system, now in place, that assists with emergency medical transports from Islesboro to Lincolnville Beach.

Kinney supplied Board members with background information on the rate increase announced in April by Maine Department of Transportation, which oversees the Ferry Service. He also supplied copies of letters of support asking the Ferry Service to reconsider its rate increase from City of Belfast Councilor Neal Harkness, Maine Senate President Michael D. Thibodeau, and County Commissioner Betty Johnson on behalf of the Waldo County Commissioners.

Kinney informed Board members that the town of Islesboro has hired the Portland law firm Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, and is planning an appeal of the rate increase. Bernstein Shur issued a May 11 letter to the Maine State Ferry Service requesting a stay of the Maine Department of Transportation's April 13 decision to change its ferry rates. The letter states that the town of Islesboro and its residents “will suffer irreparable injury if the proposed tariff goes into effect on May 21, 2018 as planned.”

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