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Boat Owners Association of The United States
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Jim Connors of Maine Coastal Program Honored with 2010 BoatUS Recreational Boating Access Award
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AUGUSTA, Maine, January 19, 2011 –- In every coastal community in Maine, there is a working waterfront where marine, fishing and boating-related businesses thrive. But keeping these waterfronts working, along with the wages, economic impact and access to the water they bring local towns hasn’t been easy. Long-established marine businesses are often lost when property values and taxes skyrocket, or property changes hands and residential development follows.
For his effort in ensuring the future of Maine’s working waterfronts and ensuring the marine-dependent businesses remain for generations, Jim Connors of the Maine Coastal Program is honored with a 2010 BoatUS Recreational Boating Access Award.
BoatUS (Boat Owners Association of The United States) created the award program in 2007 to highlight successes in protecting water access as boaters and communities were losing marina slips, service yards and boat launching areas. The goal is to draw national attention to innovative solutions and share success stories so that others may help to solve their own waterway access challenges.
Connors is credited with developing tools in Maine that retain marine-dependent businesses on the waterfront. Other states have adopted these tools as well, which include the creation of a current-use taxation program that provides tax breaks to commercial waterfront property owners based on the land’s use as a working waterfront. Another was a referendum, passed in 2005 that allowed the state to create a preferential tax category for commercial fishing activities, while another initiative put $2 million into a pilot program to preserve and secure access for commercial interests and recreational boaters.
“Virginia, Maryland, Florida, as well as some Gulf and Western coastal states have or are currently replicating the legislative and administrative programs Jim originally developed for Maine’s working waterfronts,” said BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich. “And since 2002, Jim has grown this initiative in the Pine Tree State, the Maine Working Waterfront Coalition, from 12 to 140 people, including political leaders, town governments and commercial fishing interests. Getting everyone aboard working together is quite an achievement and our gratitude goes to him for helping to keep harbors working and access available for boaters.”
BoatUS – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with government representation, programs and money saving services. For membership information visit www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.