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City officials drop fee for boat launch

Andy Ouriel • Apr 27, 2014 at 7:50 AM

There’s no need to pay when yelling out “anchors aweigh” at a popular public boating facility this year.

Sandusky officials didn’t receive a single proposal from an individual or company to oversee the Shelby Street Public Boat Launch facility in 2014.

Without staff overseeing the property, city officials won’t charge people to drop their boats into Sandusky Bay from the public ramp this season.

“The decision was made to move forward with the city not operating the bait shop and not charging a launch fee for the public to utilize the launch ramps for the 2014 season,” Sandusky recreation division supervisor Victoria Kurt said.

In recent years, city officials required boaters to either pay a one-time fee of $5 or spend $50 on an unlimited seasonal pass.

City crews should still maintain the grounds. On-site restrooms, meanwhile, will remain open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for public use and will be on an automatic timer.    

Despite a lack of staff, fishing tournaments and other aquatic activities previously occurring from the boat ramp facility should return this year, Kurt said.

“Sandusky recreation will continue to work with different fishing associations and groups to bring tournaments to the Shelby Street boat launch facility”

The boat ramp opened for the season earlier this week. It will remain open until Oct. 15.

A budget crunch entering this year forced city officials to scale back on recreation services. The recreation department can’t staff the facility after city commissioners slashed its budget earlier this year. City officials staffed the facility in 2012 and 2013.

After obtaining $481,000 in 2013, commissioners authorized an 8 percent cut for recreation. The department is slated to receive $443,000 in 2014.

To offset expenses, officials wanted a person or private company to submit a price to operate the facility. This would spare city officials from spending local tax dollars.

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