Residents of Peaks Island have voted to secede from the City of Portland according to tentative results from the secession vote on June 13th.. The results show that 352 islanders voted in favor of secession, and 259 voted in opposition. City Clerk Linda Cohen said that there are not enough absentee ballots or challenged ballots to overturn the tentative results, but in keeping with state law, results will not be final until tomorrow.
In response to the results, Mayor James Cohen said that the City respects Peaks Island an important and unique island community within the city, and called the process of separation “difficult.”
Cohen also said that secession will make resident of both the island and the mainland worse off, leading to a duplication of services. He said that discussions will continue regarding the future of the island, and may lead to negotiating and lobbying in Augusta in opposition to the secession. Cohen said that the City has a duty to work in the best interests of the remaining residents and taxpayers of Portland. He also said that the City is committed to maintaining City services on the island as the process moves forward.
City Councilor Will Gorham, who represents the district in which the island is located, said that he didn’t think the State Legislature would allow the secession. A citywide vote on the issue may be the next step in the process.