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Public Input Session for St. James Township Recreation Plan
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Bump



Joined: 12 Oct 2017
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:44 pm 
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islandliving



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 157
Location: Beaver Island, Michigan

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:58 pm 
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It is the most hard to understand thing in the world. The State owns the boat and all the equipment associated with the company. Not sure about the property. I think the Beaver Island Boat Co. might own the Beaver Islander. The state subsidizes the Boat Company somewhere around $450,000.00 a year to operate a company that charges outrages rates on passengers, vehicles and freight. The boat company raised its freight charges 15% on everything this last year to put $75,000 a year into a savings account to buy the boat in I think it is 13 years. If the money is not available the state will keep the boat that they already own. Not sure if this is the exact facts but had a meeting with John Kurtz who tried to explain. I could be wrong on numbers and plans of the boat company but I think the state should have been running the Company since the boat was built and I believe they should let it go to the state to operate in the future because the increasing rates over the years are hurting Island growth, tourism and local residents. I have friends that have a rental cottage that lose up to 75% of their rentals when they are informed of the cost of transportation to the island. As a builder it is embarrassing to bill a customer the freight charges on a new home. I agree with Darby Campbell, let the state subsidize the Boat and its operations but get the profits out of the private company. Yes the boat company sets the rates which are outrageous. We are all unfortunately turning our beautiful Island and home into a place of very high taxes and transportation cost, which is making the cost of living here above the working class. Changes have to be made, BIG CHANGES!!' My children and grandchildren who only live in East Jordan and Boyne City can go on a nice vacation for less than coming to their Beaver Island Home. I have been complaining for years with no results.

John McCafferty
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treehugger



Joined: 06 Nov 2010
Posts: 39
Location: BI

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:22 am 
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Nice post John. Fewer and fewer people are taking the boat. Not sure if the airlines sees an increase by picking up the loss each year of the boat passengers. The State has contributed a great deal of money over the past 20 years and the only result seen is a dividend for stock holders.
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Eric Naranjo



Joined: 18 Sep 2016
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:53 am 
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Who is the gatekeeper? What are the facts? If the boat co. does buy the Emerald Isle in 13 years what would be the advantage? Who would benefit the most? Share holders don't profit if people refuse to use their product. The first three years we were here we bought on average 50 or so tickets for our family and friends per year. Over the last 2 years I have been unable to persuade people to "ride the boat" even though we have offered to buy the tickets for people. Maybe their is a little more to the story than what we are reading about. I do not believe that the decline in tourism on B.I. is completely the fault of any single entity. While certain issues stick out like a sore thumb they do not begin to change our opinion of this fascinating island. Times are changing! People have been conditioned to demand a convenient and entertaining lifestyle. This is a "New World" event! Welcome to the New World!! I personally am insulted at the rate of which people are becoming helpless in this world. It actually makes me feel bad.

I will end my silly comment by reiterating the idea that in my opinion, Beaver Island is very rich and abundant in resources that pertain to a healthy lifestyle. Chances are you won't become financially wealthy living here. However, this can be the best move one could ever make. It all depends on what you really hope to get out of life.

Peace, E Cool


Last edited by Eric Naranjo on Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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islandliving



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 157
Location: Beaver Island, Michigan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:02 pm 
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Actually the $750,000.00 that we are going to pay with the increased freight charges may be money needed for the boat companies portion of a new boat to be built in 13 years. John Kurtz, board member is a good person to ask and get accurate answers. He was kind enough to meet with me a year ago about the freight increase and other concerns. I do know he told me the boat company has to save a huge amount of money and that is what the big increase is about.

John McCafferty
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Blacksmith Apprentice



Joined: 19 Jun 2016
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:49 pm 
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It is a common misunderstanding that grants are all from taxes. Michigan has many of its outstanding recreational facilities due to the Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund that was written into the State Constitution to protect it. My home community of Oakland Township MI has received many grants for park property purchase, trails and park development. The money comes from oil and gas leases on state land. Granted the money could be used for other purposes (roads are a common theme among anti-environmentalists who can't stand this fund) and reduce taxes, but I think an awful lot of what makes "up north" so awesome comes form this fund.
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Darby Campbell



Joined: 23 Nov 2009
Posts: 76
Location: Western Subs - Chicago

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:56 pm 
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Something just doesn't sound right here regarding the Boat Company and the Emerald Isle but the more I hear the more I believe there is a lot of confusion such as, who owns the boat and who is in control of its operations? Based on feedback I'm receiving, I'm not the only one who is confused. I'm trying to sort through what I am hearing and will be happy to share it. In the mean time, any further clarification people can share will only assist in that process and be a benefit for all people using the boat.
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Gillespie



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Posts: 1270

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:49 pm 
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I haven't been on the Transportation Authority Board in years now but the Emerald Isle and other assets it has under lease are owned by the Authority through the State of Michigan which grants came through ISTEA funding from the federal government. The 30 year lease is a number, if the service life of those items is still viable those leases are supposed to be renegotiated by the parties. Anyway, I stepped away because of the unending lobby of boat company higher ups to pose and make the authority look like an also ran and not a viable and active participant of the leasehold. To be blunt I always felt that the boat, the dock improvements and building, the parking lot and everything else down to the forklifts and tools were hijacked to make the Boat Co. look successful and profitable while everyone else meant nothing. When we built the Emerald Isle I was very involved and to be very certain, none of this would have happened without the good sense and knowledge of Captain Howard Konetchy, USN (retired) who alerted us all to the ISTEA program. It was never easy dealing with egos in this endeavor but we all did what we had to do in the interest of Beaver Island, NOT the shareholders of the boat company. As an example, I kept lobbying for the PUBLIC'S leased boat to (at times) bring things from the mainland for the benefit of the island community since public funds purchased it like hauling paving equipment or materials for public projects etc etc. now and then but NO, the shareholders of the boat company were supposed to feel the benefit (check and see who the largest shareholders are). It is time for the ferry system to become public, that might be the only way we can get costs in line. The boat company has been controlled and I mean controlled by the same individual for 29 years, unprecedented in island history and also the reason the public and even the shareholders have lost interest in the system. There used to be enormous support and hellacious proxy battles when the board was "open" and seats were available. It is a closed and "select only someone who rolls over club" and has been for some time. The boards of old made a commitment in the early 50's that no board member would take a salary to keep public interest in the company and self interest at bay. That is not what you have today, it is time for change!
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John Bolton



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 338
Location: Asheboro, NC

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:07 pm 
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I was up in Washington State a few years ago.
We island hopped up in the San Juan Island chain in the Puget Sound. Our longest ride of almost two hours between islands ...
With our 1 ton pickup truck, camper and 4 people cost $17.00 .
Owned by the state, considered part of the State's road system. State employees run it.

Down in the Outer Banks, the ferry system is about the same.
$15 for our camper on the two hour ride. $1.00 per person fare.
They have over three million people ride the multiple ferry systems and travel through Ocracoke Island up though Duck Bill. Owned by the State. State employees run it.
Management of these system is performed at the state level.

Now, coming to Beaver island with my truck and camper costs Hundred of Dollars each way. When I started riding the ferry 40 + years ago the cost had " just been hiked up" to $6.00 per passenger.

Has anyone ever thought to ask the State of Michigan to create a ferry route from Charlevoix to, perhaps Manistee,via Beaver Island?. Pure Michigan.
The ultimate Lake Michigan scenic route. Then create the "stopover" here on the island..... Downtown Hotels, bars and restaurants, kayak tours, etc.... S.S. Badger does it and is packed all summer.
But as far as thinking the Island's "Voting public" is going to vote for any kind of major change...forward thinkers would be better to spend their time and energy down in Lansing, getting in line with all the other lobbyists...
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islandliving



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 157
Location: Beaver Island, Michigan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:38 pm 
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What was the fear then and what is the fear now to let the state take over the company since they own all the equipment and fund much of its operations. It seems all state run transportation is excellent and very cheap as described by John Bolton. I think the employees would have just as good jobs if not better working for the state.

John mcCafferty
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Darby Campbell



Joined: 23 Nov 2009
Posts: 76
Location: Western Subs - Chicago

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:34 pm 
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Lots of moving pieces and I am between meetings so just a quick note. What I think I have discovered is that the State of Michigan does NOT own the Emerald Isle. The Boat Authority who was established by St. James Township, but NOT the other Beaver Island township, owns the Emerald Isle and the state simply provides the Boat Authority public funds as a pass through to the Boat Company for operating the EI. St. James Township is a public board but I'm not sure if the Boat Authority is a public entity. It seems as though a lot of people do not understand how the Boat Authority fits into the equation, who they are, what responsibilities they have for the EI or to the township.
Mr. Gillespie has provided the most information thus far about the Boat Authority but this does not clarify where St. James Township fits into the equation. I guess the best news seems to be that the destiny of the Emerald Isle and its operation lies with Beaver Island residents and tax payers and not the State of Michigan. The Federal government's involvement worries me a bit.
More later, but hope others are finding this either enlightening or as confusing as it seems to me.
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broke taxpayer



Joined: 19 Mar 2015
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:40 pm 
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If you don't allow a visit to Beaver Island to be affordable by the average family, you are killing every business on the island. Including any future businesses being considered.

Because this is an island it all starts with transportation to and from. And for most visitors, transportation starts with the ferry. It is really time to try something different.

Save our island!
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Darby Campbell



Joined: 23 Nov 2009
Posts: 76
Location: Western Subs - Chicago

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:00 pm 
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Just a quick add to Mr. Bolton's post. Two years ago we wanted to see Drummond Island as a possible retirement location. For people who might not be familiar with Drummond Island, it is in Michigan's UP. The ferry is owned and operated by the State of Michigan as I understand it. There is not a comparison in terms of the boat or distance traveled but for our bike and passenger ticket it was $1. My thought was what if it were operated by a for profit company, how much would it cost?
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islandliving



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 157
Location: Beaver Island, Michigan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:53 pm 
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Mr. Campbell. I do not believe either township has any involvement of the Beaver Island Boat Co.

John McCafferty.
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sbsp



Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 412
Location: Beaver Island, Kalamazoo, Fripp Island, SC

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:17 pm 
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John -
I've been in contact with Darby, actually he contacted me, but I can not speak for him on your post. I believe he understands that the BITA (Boat Authority) board is appointed by St. James Township. I think his question is does BITA report to the township or state or totally independent from both. Does the township have any authority over BITA other than board appointments? As he stated one time, "who is minding the chicken coop"?
I guess my question based on following this thread would be, if BITA owns the EI and it is sold sometime in the future, where do the proceeds go? Hopefully into the new boat. Additionally, at that time is the state no longer involved with BITA leaving all decisions regarding operations, fares, etc. of the EI to the new owners? At that time, will the state own the new boat that appears to be in the planning?
I can understand why Darby and possibly others are confused by such a critical issue.
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