Transportation Committee, June 26, 2009

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Meeting Notes
Transportation Committee Meeting, -GCI- Cranberry House
Friday, June 26, 2009

Notes prepared by Axelrod

Attendance: Barbara Meyers, Skip Stevens, Katy Morse Fernald, Eric Dyer, Phil Whitney, Sally Rowan, Richard Beal, Karin Whitney, Chris White, Ron Axelrod Action Items in Bold
I. Review of items since last meeting:
A. Barbara announced that the board had not met. Skip said that because there had been no board meeting, he was planning to meet with board members informally, as opportunity arose.
B. Barbara, Sally and Katy will meet with NEH Harbormaster next week (June 29- July 3)
C. The site survey for the Safety Study was on June 17th with a party that included Steve Ruell, Kleinschmidt Engineers; Gerald Morrison, navigation expert; Paul Pottle, MEDOT Project Manager; Phil Whitney; Richard Beal; Bill Dowling; Norman Sanborn; Bruce Fernald; Ted Spurling; Skip Stevens; Ron Axelrod; and Eric Dyer. A draft report has been sent to all for comments and a final report should be issued the week of July 6th. Some short term recommendations were recommended by Richard Beal to be undertaken with Town contingency funds as soon as possible.

II The “Options” were discussed and it was agreed to include a “No Change in Service” option as one of the options to be presented to the Town.

III. The process for implementation was discussed and the following determined:
A. There will be a Transportation Committee Community Forum / Public Hearing on each island tentatively set for 4:30pm July 8 at GCI and 4:30pm July 10 at LCI. (THIS DATE IS CONFIRMEND BASED ON RON BEARD BEING AVAILABLE AS FACILITATOR)
B. The format for the community forum will be a short five minute presentation of the history of the Transportation Committee work to date followed by a facilitated review of the information received from operators and public feedback to get the Town’s peoples feeling and understanding of the various options for service.
C. The facilitators suggested for the forum and the people to follow-up are:
Ron Beard- Katy to contact (CONFIRMED HE IS AVAILABLE)
William Firm- “
Jim Fisher- Eric to contact
D. Distributed before the meeting would be: the June 12, 2009 “Options” distributed to operators revised to include the “No change” option, The Process for Implementation, and Notes from Operators.
E. Notes from the meetings with operators and townspeople will be discussed at next Trans. Comm. Meeting July 21st when we will make our recommendation to the Board of Selectmen for their August 4, 2009 meeting.

IV. The discussion of financial subsidies focused on the following categories:
A. Excise Tax- this is devoted to transportation and amounts to approximately $4,000/ yr.
B. Barge Fees- part of an open account for harbor use- currently based on an honor system and should rethink system to make collection less cumbersome, but more reliable- e.g. yearly fees, etc. refer to Feb. 2, ’09 Dyer memo to BOS, MAC, HC, & TC for further implementation.
C. School budget for transportation- a sub group of our committee is looking into this. There is also a budget for boarding students.
D. A “Head tax” would be applied to all operators other than 6:30am and 5:30pm boat operator. For example: NEH now charges a Head tax approx. 22cents/person/ departure. The revenue anticipated from a similar town imposed fee of 22 cents/person/departure would be roughly $7,000 based on year round ridership numbers from B&B and CC.
E. ME DOT subsidy- currently $11,000 available is not fixed and might be negotiated with MEDOT. Ron will investigate whether there are other funds available.
F. Town Funds- additional funds from the Town would have to be approved at a Special Town Meeting (since the Town budget was approved, the money would have to be, in effect, borrowed till reimbursed at the next Town Meeting). A subsidy amount, say $10,000 would add $6 in taxes for every $100,000 of property valuation. For example, a $30,000 subsidy to a ferry operator for the early and late boat would increase taxes $36 /year for a $200,000 property evaluation.

Next Transportation Committee meeting will be July 21st 4:30pm at LCI.

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