Some Peaks Island Residents to Receive $20. Parking Subsidy From City; Islanders Wary Over Motivation

By Carol McCracken (Post # 541)

The City of Portland announced today that begining September 1, it will provide a $20. per month subsidy for 100 year-round Peaks Island residents. The subsidy will be good at the Ocean Gateway Parking Garage (corner of Fore and Hancock Streets) only.

Peaks Island residents have long lobbied the city to assist them in their search for affordable parking on the peninsula and close to the ferry service that connects the Island to Portland – as well as adequate police protection on the Island. Late last year, Rob Tiffany of the Peaks Island Council, (“PIC”), suggested the idea that the city announced today in a press release from Nicole Clegg, communications director for Portland.

The August 2010 issue of “ISLAND TIMES” reports on the front page that the PIC is in the process of dissolving because of the members frustration by what they perceive as a lack of cooperation from Portland city officials. (The current issue of the “Island Times” states that five PIC members will resign as of ll/l and the other two members will not seek re-election.)

At the ferry terminal this afternoon, Rhonda Berg, a real estate agent with Harbor View Properties, said: “There has been this flap between Portland and the PIC. Maybe they are trying to appease us with this announcement.” Lynne Richard, a current member of the PIC who was mentioned in the paper article as one of the incombents who will not seek re-election said: “Rob Tiffany originally proposed this idea some time last year. The City said it needed to investigate the matter – it took a very long time to do that. It’s too little too late. I don’t think it’ll change anyones mind. It’s still too expensive to park a car here.”

Mayor Nick Mavadones who is operrations manager at Casco Bay Lines said in response to Richard’s comment: “The PIC members knew this would happen a few weeks ago. We told them at a meeting a few weeks ago. The membes who resigned did so subsequent to our announcement.” The Mayor added that this has been a difficult week.

The subsidy program is available through June 30, 2011. Continuation of the program will be determined through the city’s budget process for the next year. For more information about the program, contact the city’s Parking Division at 874-8444.

To be eligible, year round island residents need to presesnt a copy of their driver’s license with a City of Portland island address to the Ocean Gateway Parking Garage manager, 167 Fore Street. (772-6327) Those who are already parking in the garage, must go through the same verification process and are eligible for the subsidy as well.

Three years ago Peaks Island residents tried unsuccessfully to cede from the City of Portland. What sparked the move was a reevluation of property for tax purposes which escalated taxes out of reach for many year round residents. The state legislature voted down the effort and reommended the PIC. Since then other issues have remained unresolved as well.

In the meantime, there have been suggestions that Peaks Island could resort to a Village Corp. mode of governing. However, Judy Piawlock, one of the Peaks Island Councilors resigning as of this Fall said: “I have nothng good to say about the City of Portland. ” She said she had not discussed the matter with other councilors, but “I’m not sure I agree with the Village Corp. idea. Because we’ll still have the high taxes to pay and the City will give ack a certain percentage of the taxes to spend on Islanders as they see fit. It won’t solve any problems.”

Please read the full account of the conflict in the current issue of the “Island Times” newspaper.

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