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Public Input Session for St. James Township Recreation Plan
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John Bolton



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 346
Location: Asheboro, NC

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:26 pm 
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D. Campbell you have stated:
" I guess the best news seems to be that the destiny of the Emerald Isle and it's operation lies with Beaver Island residents and taxpayers and not the State of Michigan (W??) The Federal government's involvement worries me a bit"

& then on Drummond Island you state:
" The ferry is owned by the State as I understand it... our passenger and bike ticket was $1.00. My thought was, if it was run by a for profit company what would it cost?"

OK, I give, what side of the issue are you arguing? Are you even saying there is an issue?

Are you saying that privately owned, profit driven, monopolistic and heavily subsidized ferry systems create better scenarios for the public because of the unique situation they are in?
OR
You have (good or bad) reservations about a totally subsidized ferry system operated as a state owned and operated non profit public utility for the common good like Drummond Island or other state owned and operated ferry systems mentioned earlier?

I'm confused. You state you are confused. We are all confused. No answers are easily come by. I wonder why?

BTW: The vast majority of taxpayers on Beaver Island are NOT residents and do NOT have any say in the destiny of the ferry system within the confines of local control.
.....on the other hand potential tourists do have a vote... as they merely "vote with their feet..."
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islandliving



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 280
Location: Beaver Island, Michigan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:57 pm 
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Kirk, I am not 100% sure on the details of the new boat other than John Kurtz told me the boat company needed to have in their possession a large sum of money to put in maybe 10% on a new boat and renew a similar contract as in the past. I would love to contact some board members to get everyone informed. What upset me the most was the huge freight increase to fund that. Although many customers were met with about it I dont believe there was any intention of not raising the rates past spring. Believe me I spoke my mind but it didn't have any effect on their decision. It was my understanding that John was the only board member willing to meet with contractors an merchants about the increase.

John McCafferty
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Darby Campbell



Joined: 23 Nov 2009
Posts: 85
Location: Western Subs - Chicago

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:36 am 
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Mr. Bolton, Welcome to my world of confusion. I was originally lead to believe that the EI was owned by the State of Michigan which in neither good or bad, just more red tape to go through gathering information or offering input for positive change in the EI's operation. The positive change being control of fares and schedules making Beaver Island more affordable for residents and tourists. I was then informed that the Boat Authority, aka, BITA owns the EI and the BITA board is appointed by St. James Township. This I viewed as good in that the destiny of decisions over the operations, fares and schedule of the EI is closer to the island than in Lansing.
I may have misinterpreted your post on ferry experiences in the northwest and elsewhere. I took it to be that when the state owns and operates the ferry system, fares are generally lower than if a for profit contractor operates the ferry, setting fares and schedules as it appears the Boat Company currently controls. My assumption, which I didn't state, is that BITA reports either to the State of Michigan under MDOT (Michigan Dept of Transportation) or St. James Township. Both bodies being governmental entities it would be easier for a local driven decision to petition the State to operate the EI, driving down costs passed on the users in lower fares. My stating our Drummond Island experience was to reinforce that where the government owns and operates the ferry, the fares are much lower than if operated by a for profit company. Hard to beat a buck.
My position at this time is to determine who the decision maker is controlling the entire operation of the EI. Is it the State of Michigan, BITA, MDOT, St. James Township or as it appears now, the Boat Company. Explore the option of the State taking over the control of the ferry as in the case of Drummond Island and other locations. The goal being lower fares, optimal schedules and customer service driven over profit driven.
The numbers that I've seen lead me to believe that if nothing changes, it will be the death of Beaver Island for tourism and price most residents off the island.
We are still committed to retire on Beaver Island but my financial planning based on current conditions has made us determined that we will have to work full time here or on the island to afford Paradise.
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Darby Campbell



Joined: 23 Nov 2009
Posts: 85
Location: Western Subs - Chicago

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:01 am 
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Kirk, I have sent you a private message but feel I must publically fess up to the "chicken coop" comment. I could have phrased it better but you got the point and explained my position rather well.
I have come to the conclusion from feedback I have received thus far that there exists a lot of confusion over who has ultimate control and responsibility for the Emerald Isle. Which entity/board is the final decision maker - where does the buck stop? I think, for what it's worth, that with those blurred lines of accountability it has created a void that the Boat Company has filled in assuming control over operations, fares and schedules. This is not necessarily a bad thing and very well may be the way the contract with the Boat Company was set up.
My recommendation, if not clear before this, is a State of Michigan owned and operated ferry system and should be included in the Recreation Plan and all other plans promoting Beaver Island.
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BIDL



Joined: 04 Jun 2013
Posts: 76
Location: Beaver Island, Michigan

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:06 am 
Post subject: Research is fun
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I'm going to suggest we use the proper title for the Beaver island Transportation Authority, which would make it much easier for anyone wanting to find information on it from state and local govermental websites to do so. The excerpt below is a nutshell history from MDOT's website. Below that are links to the Documents and Minutes from the Authority, located on St. James Township's Website.

Excerpt:

Beaver Island Transportation Authority
Mary Cook,
Executive Director
Beaver Island Transportation Authority
Post Office Box 426
Beaver Island, MI 49782
Phone: 231-448-3049
E-mail: bitaboat@tds.net




System Profile

The Beaver Island Transportation Authority was formed in 1993 to meet the needs of the traveling public between Beaver Island, Michigan and Charlevoix, Michigan. The Authority took possession of the M/V Emerald Isle in 1997 offering round trip passage between its two port cities, her service was added to the current M/V Beaver Islander, which is owned and operated by the Beaver Island Boat Company. On behalf of the Beaver Island Transportation Authority, the Beaver Island Boat Company operates the Emerald Isle. The Beaver Island Transportation Authority, which was incorporated by St. James Township, consists of a 5 member Board of Directors and meets monthly to plan, promote, and improve the transportation system for the greater Beaver Island Area.

Links:

http://www.stjamestwp.org/residents/documents.php#revize_document_center_rz260

http://www.stjamestwp.org/residents/minutes_and_agendas.php#
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Patrick S. McGinnity, Director
Beaver Island District Library
26400 Donegal Bay Road
PO Box 246
Beaver Island, MI 49782
(231) 448-2701
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sbsp



Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 443
Location: Beaver Island, Kalamazoo, Fripp Island, SC

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:49 pm 
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Ironic that clarification on BITA is submitted by the Beaver Island Public Library and not from BITA, but it doesn't surprise me. This past summer I expressed some concerns about BITA's relationship with BIBCO. They, Bob and Mary, were very cooperative and provided me with most of the information I requested. What concerned me is that the board made it abundantly clear that BITA felt no obligation to communicate to the public anything regarding the operation of the Emerald Isle which they own. That included any public press releases regarding the EI's break down last summer. That fact only lead to unnecessary rumors as to what was happening to our boat. Instead BITA deferred all communications regarding the operation of the EI to BIBCO, then and in the future. This leads me to the concern as to who works for who. It appears BITA has deferred all operational decisions and responsibilities to BIBCO.
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Kirk
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Gillespie



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Posts: 1282

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:17 pm 
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That Kurt, is the definition of a controlled and manipulated lease which, as explained earlier, needs to be addressed and changed, this is not a monarchy, the last guy that tried that left unexpectedly. That is not what might happen here but I know many many people who feel that there is no communication under the current hierarchy.
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sbsp



Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 443
Location: Beaver Island, Kalamazoo, Fripp Island, SC

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:42 pm 
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Richie - I agree with you. What can we collectively do to correct something as critical to Beaver Island's future in the operation of the EI and the apparent lack of oversight and control?
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Kirk


Last edited by sbsp on Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Darby Campbell



Joined: 23 Nov 2009
Posts: 85
Location: Western Subs - Chicago

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:46 am 
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Mr. McGinnity, Thank you for your post for common terms moving forward. I apologize for the confusing nomenclature that I used in my posts. The learning curve on this issue has been steep and fast. I have heard from a number of individuals and many have used different terms for what is most likely a common entity.
Allow me to clarify terms as I understand them at this time:
Boat Company is Beaver Island Boat Company or BIBCO
Boat Authority or Transportation Authority is Beaver Island Transportation Authority or BITA
MDOT I think I got right and is Michigan Department of Transportation
Township refers to and is St. James Township
State or state is State of Michigan

Please let me know if there are any other terms I may have used that are confusing.
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Darby Campbell



Joined: 23 Nov 2009
Posts: 85
Location: Western Subs - Chicago

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:20 am 
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Mr. Gillespie, Thank you for your informative post on the history of BITA and BIBCO. Also thank you for your past service on the BITA Board. You stated that there was an early on agreement that BIBCO executives or officers would not take compensation for their services. I have heard from two separate sources that those individuals may have in fact taken hundreds of thousands dollars, possibly more, in compensation and benefits over the years. If this is in fact true, it may be a breach of contract or agreement.
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AEW



Joined: 04 Feb 2006
Posts: 584
Location: Beaver Island/The world

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:29 am 
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Very little on the Island is actually done for the best interests of the tax payers, tourists, or off islanders who invest to become property owners. Most decisions are guided by personal profit, cronyism, nepotism and taking care of the Island power clique and that of their friends and family members.

The Island is a form of syndicate. The assorted committees and boards decisions are made long before the "public meetings" even happen. The public meetings are theater.

You have to understand the psychology there. Many feel they own the entire Island and that 'you' are only there temporarily for them to profit from. As one of the other people participating on this topic once said to me "We need a turnstile at the ferry dock. Let them come off the boat, we will empty their pockets then put them right back on the boat" This is the mindset of some entitled, privileged "Islanders". They simply don't know right from wrong. They were raised to think like that. They just don't care about you, only your money.

Sadly this is what has caused hundreds of people to list their properties for sale, many at a great financial loss. Also the property taxes are devastating for many of the non homestead property owners.

PS. I will be sharing the results of a FOIA I received that will blow your mind and shock you to the core soon.




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John Bolton



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 346
Location: Asheboro, NC

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:32 pm 
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The Baja Ferrys Company
Privately owned.
Modern 400 ft ferry.
La Paz, BCN, Mexico
to
Mazatlan ,Siniola Mexico.
256 miles over open Pacific Ocean waters:
Pick up truck w large camper. 22 hours crossing time.
$128 US Dollars.
They tried jacking up the price some years ago... ridership fell off so they have now become more competitive.

Note:fuel costs are MORE in Mexico now than in the USA.

Just Sayin'
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Darby Campbell



Joined: 23 Nov 2009
Posts: 85
Location: Western Subs - Chicago

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:41 pm 
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I still have not heard what entity is responsible for the Emerald Isle but was informed last night that BITA has no responsibility or control over the Emerald Isle. BITA's function is to simply act as a financial clearing house for passing State money directly to the BIBCO for the operation of the boat with no right of input on operations. All operational responsibility for fares, schedules, etc. is that of the BIBCO. It does explain why BITA does not release any press bulletins regarding the Emerald Isle. Not sure why the State can not administer funds directly to the BIBCO or why it appears that BITA owns a boat they have no responsibility over.
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islandliving



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 280
Location: Beaver Island, Michigan

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:14 pm 
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Welcome to Beaver Island Darby Campbell. I have the perfect retirement property for you to purchase. See you in July.

John McCafferty
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Darby Campbell



Joined: 23 Nov 2009
Posts: 85
Location: Western Subs - Chicago

PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:08 am 
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Mr. McCafferty, I liked your tongue in cheek humor with your, "Welcome to Beaver Island Darby Campbell". Just wanted to let you know you are not the only one on the welcoming committee. I received a similar private message that basically told me to "wake up", this is Beaver Island. You aren't telling anyone here things they haven't known for years, simply preaching to the choir. Boards have conducted business in this manner for years and nothing is going to change.
I think the most discouraging part of that message is, "nothing is going to change".
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