BANGOR — Although a half-dozen individuals inquired about the cruise boat the city may sell, only one submitted a firm proposal Wednesday.
Dorian S. Klam, a Bangor businessman who owns apartment houses in Bangor and Brewer, offered to purchase the River Dog for $92,000 — $16,000 less than the $108,000 the city would expect to pay to acquire the boat from Marine Transportation Inc. of Delaware.
Klam included in his four-page proposal a letter of commitment for financing from United Bank.
Using the name “Penobscot River Cruises doing business as River Dog,” Klam would purchase the boat by April 30, 2000, and operate it from the Bangor landing mid-May through October.
Lunchtime cruises would be offered Thursday and Friday; evening and moonlight cruises Thursday, Friday and Saturday; afternoon music cruises Saturday and Sunday; and public and private cruises at other times.
Klam’s offer is conditional upon the boat being operational and Coast Guard certified; and upon inclusion of liquor and other inventory, sound system, tables, chairs, coolers, certificate of inspection, recent survey and fresh oil change.
He proposes to rent dock space at city dock No. 2 for $1 a year for three years, including water, sewer and electric; and office space at the landing at $1 a year for three years, electricity included.
Mayor Michael Aube attended the bid opening.
“I’m glad we received a bid,” he said, while acknowledging that officials certainly would like to have had more than one proposal.
“The next step is for the full council to review the bid and have some discussion with Mr. Klam about the specifics in the proposal,” he said.
Aube did not say whether he thought the council should take the offer, but said, “I don’t think that that’s a bad proposal.” The council hopes to make a decision by the first regular meeting in January, scheduled for the 10th.
The city still doesn’t know for sure whether it has the rights to sell the River Dog — the 65-foot vessel that operated the past two seasons on the Penobscot.
Bangor Packet and Steamship Co., an affiliate of Sea Dog Brewing Co., signed a two-year lease in 1998, with the help of a $50,000 loan from the city. The company operated the boat that year, then notified the city in May that it would not do so for a second season.
The city took over the River Dog, made repairs to it, and operated an abbreviated season beginning in late August. With the boat appraised at $175,000 to $185,000, officials had discussed purchasing the boat for resale — both as an attempt to bring activity to the waterfront and as a way to recoup some of the money spent this year — $138,000 in lease payments, operating loss and repairs.
But the one offer, $92,000, would not cover the city’s purchase price of $108,000.
The council also doesn’t know for sure whether the city still has an option to purchase the River Dog. The lease stated that the operator could purchase it at the end of the second season — which could be interpreted as late October 1999 if it means the operating season; or March 2000, if season means at the end of the second year of the lease.
The city claims that Bangor Packet still owes more than $48,000 on the $50,000 loan, as well as some portion of this year’s lease and repair costs.
Officials had withheld $12,000 in rent payments to Marine Transportation on the grounds that some of the repairs the city paid for this summer were for problems that predated the lease, but recently the council voted to send that payment along to Marine Transportation.
The city has been trying to find out, through an outside attorney who worked on the original lease, whether Marine Transportation still considers the purchase option to be in effect, but officials have heard nothing from the owner of the 42-year-old boat. The vessel operated on Long Island Sound for some 20 years as the Liberty Belle.