Did the Board of Harbor Commissioners for the Port of Portland blink? The Cat, d/b/a Bay Ferries Ltd., could find out later this week.
On Thursday, November 16, at 5:00 pm., the Board will hold another in a series of public hearings at city hall chambers, Congress Street, Portland. The public hearing is billed as an opportunity for the quasi-state board to consider, once again, “all relevant information relating to a just and reasonable fee to be charged in the Harbor” according to several press releases issued by the Board recently. It is unclear whether or not public testimony will be taken at the public hearing this week.
The Portland Pilots, a monopoly in Portland Harbor, asked for an increase of almost 70% for The Cat, the ferry service that connects Nova Scotia with Portland Harbor on a daily basis, last spring for pilot fees. The Board rubber-stamped the rate hike from $700. to $1,200. per trip with no input from The Cat officials. That was because the Board never notified the ferry that the proposed increase was on the Board’s agenda this past spring.
Harold Pachios, attorney for The Cat, has on multiple occasions reminded the Board that since the ferry service is a monopoly, it is the charge of this regulatory body to delve into the revenues of the Portland Pirates to determine what is a ‘just and fair’ pilot fee. When Pachios asked Twain Braden, attorney for the Portland Pirates, what was the gross income of the company, Braden retorted: “Irrelevant. Irrelevant.”
This past August 2017, Harold Pachios, Esq., Pachios, Preti Flaherty, filed an appeal with the court objecting to the lack of process followed by the Board. At the November 2, 2017 public hearing, a court stenographer was hired by Harold Pachios. That official record would be admissable in court deliberations on the as yet unresolved aforementioned appeal.
On November 2, 2017 the Board unanimously and surprisingly voted to table the revote on the proposed increase until Thursday, November 16, 2017. This decision followed a statement by Don Haley, Board member, who said he needed more information before he could revote the same rate, although he said he did not need revenue information. (Please see above right photo.)
What will be the next dance step of the Commissioners?
Please see post herein dated November 2, 2017 for more background information.