July 3, 2012

Town of Cranberry Isles
Municipal Advisory Commission
Public Hearing Notes
Regular Meeting Minutes
Islesford Neighborhood House
Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Municipal Advisory Commission (MAC) held two public forums for Town residents to discuss the future of the Town’s commuter ferry service and provide feedback on how the service has been working during the 2-year trial period.

First meeting was on Great Cranberry Island in the Cranberry Community Center starting at 9:00 A.M.

Attendance: Jim Fortune (Town Staff), Ron Axelrod (MAC Chairman), Richard Beal (TCI Selectman), Phil Whitney (TCI Selectmen), Barbara Stainton, Bruce Komusin, Dick Pierson, Mrs. Pierson, Ingrid Gaither

The second meeting was held on Little Cranberry Island in the Islesford Neighborhood House starting at 1:00 P.M.

Attendance: Jim Fortune (Town Staff), Ron Axelrod (MAC Chairman), Cory Duggan (MAC), Phil Whitney (TCI Selectmen), Skip Stevens, Frank Reece

Introductions: At each meeting it was explained that the purpose of the public forums is to provide a venue for residents to offer suggestions on the future of the Town’s Commuter Ferry Service, and provide feedback on the 2-year trial period. Background for establishing the Commuter Ferry Service and the work of the Transportation Committee of 3 years ago was outlined. The MAC and the TCI Selectmen will finalize the proposed contract and bid documents for the continuation of the Commuter Ferry Service including determining the length of the contract

The purpose of the TCI Commuter Ferry Service established by the Transportation Committee:

1. Allow high school kids to live at home and travel to school
2. Transportation for island residents to work off-island
3. To provide additional ferry options for residents so they can better coordinate medical appointments and other off-island errands, particular with the limited options during the winter on the regular ferry operations
4. To provide all island residents with more options to better coordinate off-island schedules, particularly during the winter when there are more limited options on the regular ferry service.

The following are comments and suggestions made by those in attendance.

1. Could an extra trip be added to transport elementary school kids from Great Cranberry to Islesford for school?
2. Add a scheduled Manset stop in the summer
3. Post a comprehensive ferry schedule for Beal & Bunker, Cranberry Cove and the TCI Commuter Ferry on the Town’s website and at the docks to help people to better coordinate ferry trips to and from the islands
4. Add Suttons Island as a stop from Islesford to NEH on an as needed (on-call) basis) during the summer
5. Length of the new contract should be 3 years so that operators can have some reasonable assurance that investments in boats and staff will pay off
6. The federal grant is guaranteed for another 8 years. Use multi-year budgeting from now on, with contracts going for at least 3 years.
7. Benefits of a multi-year contract would be predictability of the service for riders, and provide time for development of a working relationship with the operator(s) of the service
8. Should operate on certain holidays even if the school is closed
9. Have annual performance reviews of boat operators
10. Are there any plans to increase ridership (the Town should have this as a goal)
11. Promote the Commuter Ferry Service to increase ridership
12. Make it clear that the Town of Cranberry Isles operates the Commuter Ferry Service (it is distinct from the regular private ferry operators (some people aren’t all that clear on this, and some have confused it with being a water taxi service)
13. Have a built-in reliable method/system for letting people know when the commuter ferry is canceled
14. One-way fares should be comparable to the regular private ferry services that serve TCI
15. TCI should secure all the landing and docking rights in NEH (and SWH) on behalf of the Town of Cranberry Isles rather than the ferry operators in order for the town to control and provide the most optimum service of safety, schedule and cost that will benefit town residents.

Regular Meeting of the Municipal Advisory Commission (followed the community forum on Islesford at the Islesford Neighborhood House).

Attendance: Jim Fortune, Ron Axelrod and Cory Duggan in attendance.

Minutes: The Minutes of the May 31, 2012 Minutes were tabled

Purpose of the meeting is to review the comments from the forums and make recommendations for the Commuter Ferry Service to the Board of selectmen. The RFP’s and bid packet prepared by Jim Fortune were reviewed.

The bid notice will be advertised in the Ellsworth American and the Islander newspapers on Thursday, July 12th.

The bid packet was revised as follows:
a. Revised the RFP and bid proposal to allow for a 3-year contract
b. Removed last paragraph on pg. 2– contract understandings - of the Bid Proposal document, as it is not needed
c. Revised RFP to include a scheduled stop in Manset (summer only) unscheduled stops at Suttons Island (summer only)
d. Removed MLK, Patriots and Veteran’s day from the holiday list
e. Recommended one-way fares of $6.00

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 3 PM.