PRESS RELEASE/FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13, 2006
Tentative results from the secession vote on Peaks Island
show that secession is likely to prevail.
They show 352 voters voting in favor of secession and 259 voters voting
in opposition. City Clerk, Linda Cohen,
said that there are not enough absentee ballots or challenged ballots to
overturn these tentative results but in keeping with state law, results will
not be final until tomorrow.
In response to those results, Mayor James Cohen issued the
Today is a
sad day for the City of Portland. Peaks Island and the City of Portland have been
together for over 200 years, and the City respects Peaks Island as an important and unique island
community within the City of Portland. Sadly, a
majority of island residents voted today to begin the difficult process of separation from Portland.
While the City respects the will of the voters on Peaks
Island, it is my belief that secession ultimately will make residents of both the island and the mainland
worse off. Secession leads to
duplication of services, and that hurts all of us. Maine
communities need to be coming together during times like these, not moving apart.
I do wish to acknowledge the hard
work of city staff and island residents over the course of the last few months
as the secession issue has been before us. The issues
have not been easy, but true to the community spirit of Portland, the
participants treated each other with dignity and respect. I expect no less as discussions
continue regarding the future of the Island.
Despite the best and in my opinion
significant efforts made by the City over the course of its 200-year history
with Peaks Island, a majority of the voters on that island have today decided
to proceed with the secession effort.
We don’t agree with the majority but we respect the process and accept
We will now in good-faith engage in
the mediation and arbitration required by the secession law.
voters should be aware thatAs far as where we go from here, in upcoming arbitration and mediation negotiations over the
cost of secession, and other issues, we the Portland City Council hashave a duty to the rest
of the City to negotiate and, if necessary, lobby in Augusta for
the best interests of the
remaining residents and taxpayers in Portland.
terms for Portland’s businesses and
may include opposing secession efforts within the Legislature, or advocating
for a division of costs and responsibilities that protect other city residents from
increased financial burdens related to secession. In the
City of Portland is committed to maintaining City services on Peaks Island as
the secession process moves forward.
and arbitration will need to resolve a number of significant issues in a way
that does not pass any tax burden resulting from secession onto the other city
residents and property owners. From my
point of view as Mayor and as the District 5 Councilor, we should also oppose
passage of any secession legislation for the same reasons that we opposed
secession to begin with: it is far better for all elements of a community to
work together to seek compromise than to separate, because separation is not
only an expression of failure but is also something counter to fundamental
governmental principles including the need to regionalize government services
whenever possible to save taxpayer dollars.
During the difficult period before the issue goes to the
Legislature next year, we are committed to maintaining City services on Peaks