TREMONT — Registrations for Frenchboro fishing vessels through the Tremont Town Office are being put on hold until a memorandum of understanding (MOU) can be drafted to clarify what is expected from each town for these transactions.
At the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, selectmen asked Town Manager Jesse Dunbar to draft a letter for the Frenchboro Board of Selectmen requesting a memorandum of understanding regarding registration of fishing boats.
For at least a couple of decades, residents of Frenchboro have paid excise tax for their boats at their town office and have brought a receipt from that transaction to the Tremont Town Office to have information from it logged into a computer system that completes the registration process with the state’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
“We’ve had recent contention regarding these transactions with Frenchboro residents,” said Town Manager Jesse Dunbar during the meeting Monday, noting next steps would be to request Frenchboro officials to draft an MOU. “We would not process any transactions until they do.”
Town Clerk Katie Dandurand explained that registrations in Tremont are done through a computer program, and they are done manually on a piece of paper in Frenchboro.
“They come to us to continue that transaction,” she added. “Residents have come to Tremont with essentially nothing. I can’t help them as much as I’d like to help them. It becomes a ‘he said, she said’… I have no problem issuing the stickers, but I have no information.”
The confusion has led to some frustrations with both the Tremont Town Office staff and the residents of Frenchboro, some of whom have had to come to Tremont more than once to try and complete the registration process. At this point, Dandurand has given her staff a written guideline for what Frenchboro residents need to bring in order to get their boat registered.
“Up until two weeks ago, we were getting all the paperwork,” she said. “Something changed where I stopped getting that paperwork and I don’t know what it was.”
Frenchboro Selectman Sarah Brake told the Islander that the board is aware there is something awry with boat registrations, but they are not clear about where in the process things are not working. When Excise Tax Collector Rachel Bishop was contacted, she chose not to comment on the situation.
“You have more than enough to do for the town of Tremont,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Jamie Thurlow to Dandurand. “I think it’s putting you in a hard spot and it’s just a headache you don’t need.”