Port authority bylaws

To the Editor:

Recently, there have been inaccurate statements that bylaws for the proposed Bar Harbor port authority (authority) would be drafted by the Town Council before any vote by local residents to create the authority.

This is completely wrong.

The bill currently before the Legislature on the topic, LD 1400, gives the exclusive power to write bylaws to the board of directors of the authority, not to the Town Council or the voters of Bar Harbor. Section 1 of LD 1400, at page 2, lines 29-31, states: “The board of directors has the power to establish bylaws and all rules and regulations governing the operation and maintenance of facilities under the control of the authority.” Any attempt by the Town Council or Bar Harbor voters to create bylaws for an as yet unformed authority would be completely meaningless.

Such statements are misleading to our Bar Harbor citizens. Many citizens will be falsely reassured that our Town Council will write the bylaws and therefore have seeming control over what an authority could or could not do.

In truth, an authority would be a legally independent entity governed by its own five-member board, which would write its own bylaws, rules and regulations. Only that five-member board could change those bylaws, rules and regulations, not the Town Council or the voters.

I urge everyone to carefully read each word of LD 1400, An Act to Create The Bar Harbor Port Authority, and analyze the potential impact of creating a far-reaching, powerful and legally independent entity. Such an authority would have the power to create a huge cruise ship pier and/or an industrial cargo port, despite the strong recommendations of the 40 member ferry terminal property advisory committee (committee).

I urge everyone to focus on what the year-round residents who formed that committee recommend: a multipurpose marina complex and transportation hub, etc.

This is a positive vision that ensures local ownership and control for our year-round community, not just a cash cow for a cruise ship industry from away. It strikes a balance by maintaining current cruise visitation levels. We should honor the many long hours that committee spent in reaching a community consensus.

Donna Karlson

Bar Harbor


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