Town of La Pointe: sign Letter of Intent on purchase for Madeline Island Ferry Line

At its meeting September 12, the La Pointe Town Board authorized the Town’s Harbor Commission to  proceed toward the purchase of the Madeline Island Ferry Line for $17,321,000. Both MIFL and the  Harbor Commission have signed a non-binding agreement to transfer ownership of the Ferry Line to the  people of Madeline Island.  

With a scheduled closing date of Dec. 31, 2023, the Harbor Commission now will complete, with the  help of municipal finance consultants and bond counsel, its structure of debt service mechanisms, along  with an operating agreement for the year ahead.  

The Harbor Commission is grateful for the constructive engagement of MIFL, said Harbor Commission  President Michael Childers. Throughout, the willingness of MIFL to engage in open and cordial  discussions propelled this crucial phase of deliberations, he said. “Since late last year, MIFL has worked  with forthright candor and energy to prepare us all for this moment.”  

A mix of both general obligation and revenue bonds will be supplemented by Island taxpayers to service  a debt that delivers to the people of Madeline Island ownership of its lifeline to the mainland … in  perpetuity. “We are particularly pleased and grateful that MIFL elected to pursue a sales agreement with  the Town’s Harbor Commission rather than the other private, for-profit businesses that sought  ownership of our Island ferry line,” said Town Board Chair Glenn Carlson.  

“The Ferry Line is key to the welfare of both Bayfield and the Madeline Island communities,” said  Robin Trinko Russell, the Ferry Line’s vice president finance/shore. “It is gratifying that the Island  community, through the newly created Harbor Commission, will continue to chart the path that best  serves year-rounders, seasonal residents, local businesses, commuters, and our many visitors.”  

The approval of the Town Board gives both parties time to complete a number of administrative and  operational steps necessary to transition to a publicly operated transportation utility. This will include the completion of an operating agreement for the next year along with planning access to new  opportunities for state and federal assistance available exclusively to municipally owned ferry services.  

“Throughout each of the steps ahead, the Harbor Commission will regularly communicate and engage  with the people of the Island as we move toward completing the transition,” Childers said.