Letters to the Editor
P. O. Box 66797
Falmouth, ME 04105
November 23, 1999
To the Editor:
Just so that there can be no misunderstanding, I would like to explain my vote against the resolution passed by the Yarmouth Town Council last week regarding Chebeague Island ferry issues.
First of all, it is no secret that I support access to Chebeague Island from Cousins Island. Where I differ from my fellow councilors is that while we are all genuinely concerned about accessibility for year-round Chebeaguers, I extend that concern to Yarmouth residents with business and personal interests on Chebeague, and I recognize that any change to access for the general public impacts the livelihoods of Chebeague's year-round residents.
My interest is in reaching a resolution that is fair and equitable to all concerned. I do not believe the resolution passed last week is a step in that direction. To the contrary, it is a threatening, confrontational challenge to MDOT that is more likely to lead to an escalation of conflict rather than to its resolution. And that's not good for Yarmouth.
Provisions in the resolution rely upon verbal comments made by Commissioner Melrose. Yet there are written positions from the Commissioner that absolutely contradict these commitments. Yarmouth will look foolish if the Commissioner chooses to stand by his earlier written statements, and says that Yarmouth misunderstood his verbal remarks.
As for the resolve that Yarmouth will take the State of Maine to court if the Commissioner exercises his legal authority in a manner not to the liking of Yarmouth, this is not only threatening to MDOT, it is not in the Town's best interest. Furthermore, a proper public hearing did not occur. The resolution was not made public until the time of last week's council meeting. Only those in attendance at the meeting had a chance to read this threat. Input from others was impossible.
And this is not a small nor unimportant detail. Litigation of this nature could cost the Town hundreds of thousands of dollars. I don't think this is a prudent use of Yarmouth's resources at a time when there are schools to be renovated, roads to be repaired, and sewers to be built.
I voted against this resolution because it doesn't solve anything and only makes matters worse. It is ill-spirited and confrontational, and it places Yarmouth on a painful and expensive course.
Nancy L. Hill
Yarmouth Town Councilor