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City should examine marina expenses more closely

Anonymous • Dec 25, 2012 at 11:10 AM

This week’s topic is the Paper District Marina bleeding red ink.

The marina bled $44,000 of red ink.  The city needs to take another look at the operations.

I have some suggestions for cutting down some of the losses. According to the café contract, the taxpayer is picking up the utilities for the marina building, which includes the café operation. Placing a separate electric meter on the café business would help make certain that the café is picking up its own electric billing and not compliments of the taxpayer. Installing a separate meter would pay for itself.

It is in the contract that the taxpayer is supplying the trash dumpsters for the café business. The trash got so bad that it was overflowing the dumpsters and blowing all over the marina area.  It appears that more containers and pickup days were provided to keep the area clean. Unless these services are being prorated in the rental contract, the taxpayer should not be responsible for providing these services to a private business.

It is discouraging to hear that the city facilities are recreational and they don’t necessarily have to make a profit. Would you run a business like that and if not, why would you run red ink on the taxpayer?  All of the facilities should at least be breaking even, anything less then that is unacceptable.

As for seasonal dockage, I often wondered about keeping the marina transient since tax dollars went into the marina.  There is talk about turning some docks into seasonal dockage. It seems the debt on the marina is holding the decision back on the seasonal docks for now. I do think seasonal docks will eventually be decided in order to break even with the expenses. The problem with seasonal docks is that there may be too many docks reserved for seasonal and not enough docks kept transient for boaters who want to come in for future events and entertainment.

I don’t think it is wise to do a long-term contract after just one year of the concession stand operating without the amphitheater up and running to see if the boaters will fill up the transient docks. I would get into the seasonal dockage gradually to see what really will work and increase if needed.  The decision of how many seasonal docks there will be reserved should not be made just because we need collateral revenue against restructuring the finances.

The city needs to keep the marina free of goose droppings and maintain the grass free of weeds.  We are showcasing the marina and it should be in top shape so it is inviting to the boaters. We would want boaters to know that someone really cares about the facility.  Building a fence around the trash dumpsters had been talked about to hide the garbage, which is not a good first impression.  Until next time, we hope next year that the marina will become more profitable.

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