TREMONT — The Bass Harbor Days celebration will be taken over by the town, selectmen agreed Tuesday.
“Why not,” selectman Stewart Murphy said during consideration of the issue. “What else goes on in this town that’s fun for all ages?”
The annual celebration in June, which includes lobster boat races and fireworks, has been the work of an informal group of residents. One of the organizers, Wayne Rich, approached selectmen in July about the town sponsoring the event. Bass Harbor Days has grown substantially during the past few years, and he said he was concerned about managing the crowds and the potential liability that could result.
Interim Town Manager Dana Reed pointed out that, even if the town doesn’t take over the event, Tremont is still liable because some of the events are held on town property. Although Reed did not have an estimate of the cost to the town for insurance, he said that an insurance rider to cover the celebration would be “reasonably priced.” A representative of the Maine Municipal Association’s risk pool, which provides coverage for Tremont, is to provide a quote later this week.
Selectman Chris Eaton said he didn’t see the cost of insurance as “a stumbling block.” The cost could be a warrant article for future town meetings, he said.
Rich said registration fees from participants in the lobster boat races most likely would offset the cost of insurance.
Selectmen briefly discussed forming a committee to oversee the event. Eaton volunteered to represent selectmen.
In other business, selectmen filled four vacant slots on the harbor committee. Appointment of the members was tabled at a meeting last month after two selectmen said there was an interested person who wasn’t on the list of appointments prepared by the town manager. The list included four incumbents: Jon Crossman, Art Paine, Mike Ryan and Scott Harper. On Tuesday, former harbormaster David Schlaefer was added to the list.
Chairman Kathi Thurston suggested that selectmen individually vote to determine what four would be appointed. She said she would abstain due to a business relationship between her son and one of the candidates.
Eaton voted for the incumbents. The other two selectmen present and voting voted for Schlaefer. As a result, Ryan was not reappointed.
Harbor committee member Mel Atherton told selectmen he was disappointed, saying Ryan had done “the lion’s share” of work on changes to the wharf ordinance during the past two years. Selectmen did not respond to his comment.