Closing wharf use loophole on ballot

TREMONT — Closing a loophole in an ordinance regarding resident use of the Bernard Town Wharf will be up to voters at the November elections.

Selectmen voted 4-0 Monday to put the proposed amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Town Manager Dana Reed said the need to change the wharf and facilities ordinance surfaced after he issued a resident wharf permit to a fisherman who lives out-of-town. Reed issued the permit because the ordinance states that the boat and not the owner must be a resident of the town. The boat was registered in Tremont; therefore, the fisherman met the criteria for issuing the permit, Reed said.

Reed, with the support of the town’s harbor committee, requested that selectmen send a proposed amendment to voters that would remedy the problem. Simply changing “boat” to “boat owner” would eliminate the problem.

“It’s what the intent has been all along,” Reed said.

During the discussion, selectman Dean Wass noted another issue with the ordinance. A section regarding the use of the ramp and floats at Seal Cove states that vessels “14 feet and under” must pay an annual fee. This should read “14 feet and over,” Wass said. This proposed change will be included in the amendment on the November ballot.

Recall ordinance

Reed was prepared to present the bylaws he drafted for a recall ordinance committee. Earlier this month, selectmen in a 3-2 vote tasked the town manager with drafting bylaws for the committee. The issue was brought to the board by resident Mel Atherton who requested that a recall ordinance for elected officials be placed on a warrant for a town meeting. In Tremont, a recall ordinance would apply only to selectmen.

On Monday, the four selectmen present voted unanimously to table action on Reed’s draft until chairman Kathi Thurston is in attendance.

According to the draft, the committee would consist of seven members with four making up a quorum. The committee is to research the need for a recall ordinance, how such a document should be worded and perhaps submit a draft ordinance for consideration.

The committee would be subject to Maine’s Freedom of Access laws. Meetings would be conducted under Robert’s Rules of Order.

Consideration of the bylaws is expected at a Sept. 8 selectmen’s meeting.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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