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An announcement was made late today by Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry service that the company has filed a motion to terminate litigation against the city of Mackinac Island.
Shepler’s had been in an ongoing dispute with Island officials over what the ferry service called anti-trust violations.
Chris Shepler, Vice President of Shepler’s ferry service says he moved to dismiss his complaint after hours of talks with his attorneys. He says his company has the concessions it had been seeking. However, they’re still hoping to iron out some issues later this summer
“There are some issues with the ordinance that we need to discuss, and we hope, and we’ve been assured by several people that we will be able to open conversations with the City of Mackinac Island. And with the litigation still out there, that was never going to happen. We were not going to be able to talk to the city with the litigation still pending”
The attorney for the City of Mackinac Island dismissed Shepler’s announcement as simply a recognition by the company that it was not getting the response it wanted from the Michigan Public Service Commission.
Shepler’s had filed a complaint with the MPSC in February seeking emergency relief.
On May 9, Mackinc Island filed a request to dismiss the case for mootness.
Island Attoney Mike Cavanaugh says city officials will meet with Shepler’s to discuss island transportation, just as they would with any other ferry service
“The City has always told all three of the ferry boat companies it is willing to sit down and meet with them. The City has City Council meetings twice a month, and at those meetings, the city on a fairly regular basis has engaged in discussion with the ferry boat companies. In addition to that the City has scheduled special meeting between its regular meetings to meet with the ferry boat companies when there are issues to discuss. So that has always been the policy of the city and that will continue.”
Chris Shepler noted that his company’s motion to dismiss the litigation was done “without prejudice” which means the company can refile the suit at any time it feels necessary.
One thing both sides seems to agree on; at least for the next couple of years, the business of transporting people on and off Mackinac Island can resume, they hope, without further dispute.