News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, September 12, 2013
“Misunderstanding” possibly gets crane users one step closer in Blue Hill

by Faith DeAmbrose

Because of a “miscommunication,” the town of Blue Hill now owns a $2,900 electric hoist, and discussion began at the September 6 meeting of the Board of Selectmen to decide just what to do with it.

Nearing the end of the board’s regular meeting, Harbormaster Denny Robertson told selectmen that the electric hoist for the crane at the inner harbor had been delivered and then provided them with a list of recommendations for its use. “I am looking for feedback,” Robertson said.

Selectman Vaughn Leach said, “I don’t remember asking for a hoist,” to which Robertson said he had been given instruction from Selectman Jim Schatz to place the order.

Schatz, who had the invoice for the hoist purchase on his desk, said he had only instructed Robertson to “explore the costs” of various hoist options. He said there had been a “misunderstanding,” to which Robertson said “I don’t think there was a misunderstanding,” adding that when a model of the wharf had been created prior to a town meeting vote to expend funds for its replacement, it contained a crane. “That’s what the people voted for,” said Robertson, “I am doing what the people voted for, and what you told me to do.”

“The town meeting vote was to authorize the expense of $250,000 to rebuild the wharf,” said Chairman John Bannister, “not on the specifics of stairs or a crane.”

Schatz offered to pay the return shipping costs because of the miscommunication, but Bannister said they should look at what is “really needed” at that location and see if it makes sense to keep the $2,900 hoist.

“I want [the crane] to function, but I think it is a lot of money,” said Leach.

In addition to the actual hoist option, the selectmen and Robertson also discussed the need for a system to oversee its use and the need to provide basic training for those who will use it. Once operational, use of the crane will be available through a permit by fee (which has yet to be established) system.

No decisions were made during the course of the meeting.