June 7, 2012 | Volume 42, No.23

Assembly reduces proposed trailer fee

The Haines Borough Assembly last week sunk a proposal to double annual and daily launch ramp fees.

“I have no problem seeing an increase in the launch ramp fees,” said assemblywoman Joanne Waterman. “I’d like to see it spread over a little bit more time.”

The assembly on May 29 discussed an ordinance with a revised fee schedule, including rates, fees and penalties for harbor facility usage, including moorage rates. The ordinance is set for a second public hearing on Tuesday.

The current ramp fees are $50 per trailer for an annual launch ramp sticker, and the daily fee is $10 per trailer. The borough’s port and harbor advisory committee proposed doubling those rates.

“With the enterprise funds that the harbor committee has now, we feel impressed upon to increase fees to more reflect the type of facilities we’re offering the public,” said Norman Hughes, committee chair. “Of course, the public has their own opinions about that.”

The assembly last week adjusted the rates to $60 and $15, respectively, on the suggestion of assemblyman Norm Smith. The change, as amended, would bring in an additional $3,000 per year.

“The launch ramp sticker for recreational boat users used to be $25, 10 years ago,” Smith said. “… Doubling the rates again for a launch ramp sticker, to $100, is just out of the question. I think everybody agrees that there should be an increase, but not 100 percent.”

The assembly advanced the ordinance in a 5-0 vote. Member Jerry Lapp was absent.

Early in the discussion, Waterman first proposed rates of $65 and $20, which she said would be “much easier to handle” for fishermen than doubling both fees.

Assemblyman Daymond Hoffman said the assembly seemed to be “nitpicking a little bit” when evaluating the rates.

“I don’t have a recreational vessel, so I don’t use that, but I do use the crane and I do buy ice,” Hoffman said. “I think we’re trying to get things caught up, and we’re going through the budget and we’re complaining that the harbor is not bringing in enough money and we’re losing money on this … Like I said, I don’t have a boat that I put in the water, so it seems like a reasonable amount of money to me.”

Waterman said gradual increases would help harbor staff with enforcement.

“I support the harbor 100 percent, but I think, also, what this is going to cause is it’s going to cause more misuse, than anything,” she said.

Smith then amended the motion to reduce the fees further, to the $60 and $15 rates that were advanced to a second public hearing.