Rockland signed contracts with cruise ships for 2018-19 at lower fees

By Stephen Betts | Nov 07, 2017
Photo by: Stephen Betts

Rockland — Rockland signed contracts for 11 cruise ship visits over the next two years at the $8 per passenger rate prior to the City Council's vote last month to hike the fees immediately.

The contracts raise the question of whether Rockland can impose the $10-per-passenger charges on these ships.

Harbormaster Matthew Ripley informed councilors Monday night, Nov. 6, of the existence of the contracts.

Louise MacLellan-Ruf, chair of the Harbor Management Commission and a longtime critic of the larger cruise ships, asked why that information had not been provided before the vote last month.

Ripley said he had been under the impression that the council was going to make the increased fee effective in 2020. Councilor Ed Glaser had proposed that delay, but it was rejected by the council.

There are contracts for nine cruise ship visits in 2018 and two in 2019. Some were signed as far back as 2016 and others in 2017.

Glaser asked that the contracts be forwarded to the city's attorney for legal advice on whether Rockland can increase the fees for those ships that already have signed contracts.

Glaser said the wording of the contracts was put together a few years ago when he served as harbormaster and the language was approved by both the city manager and city attorney. Glaser said he took the wording of the contracts from other port cities.

The contract states that the payment of port charges would be what are listed on the document. There is a clause that also states "or such sum as the City, after review and revision of such estimates, has provided the undersigned in writing, in which latter case a copy of such writing is physically attached hereto."

There were no other estimates attached to any of the contracts that were signed by Ripley and representatives of the cruise ships.

"We have a signed contract. A contract is the word of the city," Glaser said.

MacLellan-Ruf said the $2 increase would be passed on to the passengers and not the cruise ship companies. She said other communities have imposed moratoriums on cruise ships coming into port and questioned why a $2 increase was such an issue.

The contracts state the estimated time of arrival and the estimated number of passengers.

Comments (8)
Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Nov 10, 2017 07:22

No surprise - I guess we can take Hayward's response as to mean that he has not served on any of Rockland's boards or committees, nor routinely volunteered with any of the various civic groups that work to make our city a better place.

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Nov 09, 2017 19:12

Mr. Winard, you are not worth any more conversation than to tell you that you are full and overflowing with your self.

Posted by: Leslie Spiers | Nov 09, 2017 11:32

Hooray for the contracts, the more ships the merrier.  Such negativity.  I hope that none of the people on these ships reads this paper or the comments.  Regardless of what you have read the ships do not hurt the environment, where's the proof? They do spend money and in more than "taverns and restaurants" they buy more than "trinkets".  The hustle and bustle of the visitors is a welcoming sight in our wonderful little city.  Have you actually gone down town and talked to any of the visitors?  They love Rockland!  Can't we be inviting, why all the bickering.

Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Nov 09, 2017 08:20

Mr. Hayward:

It's laudable that you ran for City Council three times. From that you were never elected we can deduce that not enough voters agreed with your views on how the city is run.

Not to single you out - I didn't ask if you ran for council. I asked what have you done to make Rockland a better place to live, to rear a family, to grow a business, to invest in. What have you actually done. What city boards or committees have you served on? Planning Board? Comprehensive Planning Commission? Parks or Public Works Committee? Have you volunteered at the library or for community events?

Complaining never gets anything done - actual work does.

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Nov 08, 2017 21:12

Mr. Wine-er: First Your opinions rank about a negative 0 with me. I constantly complain because there are reasons for which you only privy yourself to what you want to hear. I have run for city council three times and lost three times. Got that straight I hope. I have auditing experience, accounting experience, retail experience, tourism experience, and yet I do not circle with the right people, kiss the right people and take the actions of our code enforcement very favorable because they abuse their authority and are vindictive and incompetent. In my 35 years in Rockland I have seen the worst in the worst as far as horrible mistakes by the city council and city management. Do you really like the Mountain of Demo from out of state and out of this country being piled up? Do you think that Main Street needed to be dug up and rebuilt so many times over the last 35 years? Where are you doing something Mr. Volunteer. I do not know you and don't care to. You are one that will sit and shame others while you do what? Maybe you do do something because you might just be a groupie, or a tree hugger, or want to sing the praises of telling me, through the city of Rockland that I need to be nice to everyone. Not going to happen. I pick my friends and I have plenty so you are not on my list. Who or whom ever you might be. You are happy paying taxes in one of the highest taxed towns/cities in this state. Good for you. If you can afford it, good for you. As for me and my comments, if you do not like them read something else. I will continue to dialog all I want about stupid, incompetent, and careless handling of my tax dollars and the incompetence of some city employees.  So, Mr. Wine-er put that in you pipe and enjoy. Regards, Dale Hayward

Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Nov 07, 2017 19:54

The hatred some have for the cruise ships that visit Rockland fascinates me. The passengers that come ashore rarely get much beyond Main Street, unless they board a bus to visit another town. Their negative impact on Rockland is really minimal, especially when you consider the few number of days that these ships are in town.

Oddly, some of these same haters complain that retail establishments on Main Street close too early, not understanding the connection between foot traffic in their stores and ability to pay to remain open later.

I've read the constant negative posts from Dale Hayward and Kendall Merriam and others to articles at VillageSoup. My question to these to and the other Debbie Downers is:

What are you doing to make Rockland a better place to live, to work, to visit? What volunteer boards do you serve on? How often do you shop in stores on Main Street? When was the last time you worked to ameliorate one of your complaints?

I for one am tired of this constant armchair quarterbacking. Get off your rear and actually do something. It takes some effort, but you might actually meet others who are creating positive change for our community.

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Nov 07, 2017 17:53

This whole cruise ship fiasco illustrates reactivity by the city vs. planning ahead with research completed before decisions are made vs. opinions and second guesses  Looks like the horse is out of the barn...

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Nov 07, 2017 15:29


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