By Carol McCracken (Post # 726)
In a letter dated February 23 and sent to the residents of Peaks Island as well as property owners who live out-of-state in the off-season, Portland’s Mayor Nicholas Mavodones, Jr., said that the financial figures that the secessionists want will be posted on the city’s web page by March 18th. www.portlandmaine.gov/peaksisland
The Mayor sent the letter to Peaks residents because the City received a number of requests for information about various programs on Peaks Island. According to Nicole Clegg, director of communications for the city, the Mayor decided it was in the best interests of everyone to make the same information available to all interested parties at the same time.
In order to accomplish that, the City of Portland is in the process of compiling up-to-date information on the services provided to the island including fiscal impacts, said the Mayor’s letter. The secessionists supporters, IIC, need to provide to the state legislature budget information – what it currently costs Portland to service the Island and what the IIC has budgeted for its own costs to run the Island. This information must accompany the secessionists bill which was written by former PIC Chair, Mike Richards, back in 2007. The bill has been in the revisor’s office in Augusta and it may be available to the public now.
“I’m glad that the city will be putting out the numbers that it takes to deliver services to Peaks Island,” said Jane Gerard, president of the Island Independence Council. The IIC had tried to gather some figures earlier this month but the figures were not available at the time.
Earlier last month, the Mayor also wrote to State Senator Justin Alfond in which he stated that since the city has not received a copy of the propsed legislation seceeding Peaks from Portland it is difficult to comment on specifics of the bill. However, the sentiment of the City Council is that the Maine law regarding should be followed. “The statute outlines a thoughtful and purposeful process that ensures the issues relating to secession are fairly laid out and fully considered by a community. It is unfortunate that the sponsor of the bill apparently wishes to short change the residents of Peaks Island by skipping this important public process,” the letter says in part. The population of Peaks has changed since the bill was last introduced to the state legislature and, consequently, not every resident has had the advantage of that public process. The letter was dated Februry 14th.
Both letters may be seen on the city’s webpage: portlandmaine.gov/peaksisland.