Harbormaster Reports Rising Costs

            The largest chunk of the record $18,000 increase in Harbormaster Isaac Perry’s proposed FY23 budget is due to decisions made outside the department, he told the Marion Resources Commission during its December 20 Zoom meeting.

            The laundry list of proposed budget increases that Perry said is in the hands of Town Administrator Jay McGrail and Finance Director Judy Mooney was short but categorized as significant. The largest increase, he said, will be the overtime line item.

            “As you all know, the contracts that Adam (Murphy) and I were under have gone away; we have been enrolled in the town employee policy, and as such there was a reclassification of Adam’s position,” Perry explained. “What that means for us is my FY22 line item for overtime of $4,000 was not sufficient at that point. So the FY23, what I’m proposing is a $12,000 overtime budget. That’ll take care of both Adam Murphy and Dave Wilson as far as the overtime goes.”

            Perry told the MRC that he believes the Harbormaster Department is currently a little over $8,000 in overtime spent out of the FY21 budget. “So when it gets to Town Meeting, those numbers will reflect the actual numbers, not what was originally proposed for FY22,” Perry said. “That’s the policy we’re under so that’s what we’re going to follow.”

            Boat-maintenance costs will also increase in FY23, up from an approximate average of $6,000 the past several years to $10,000. Perry says the increase is due to the situation at Atlantis Drive, a property Marion used to own but no longer does after selling the land.

            “Currently, the boats, we don’t have the facilities to do the regular maintenance that we would so that line has jumped up quite a bit,” he said. Once the new Marine Center and the new Department of Public Works facilities are in place, Perry anticipates being able to bring that line item back down some.

            A $1,200 increase was proposed to cover the license and dues fees typically used to pay QuickBase, Inc., the online service which has jumped from $6,000 to $7,200.

            Perry proposed $1,000 to cover many small aspects of Management and Development, focusing on the FY23 Bridge Academy run in conjunction with the police reform bill. Perry told the MRC that attendees are required to bring 1,500 rounds of ammunition, accounting for some of that cost.

            Altogether, his $18,000 draft budget amounts to a 6.8 percent increase. “That’s the biggest increase that we’ve ever put forward from one year to the next,” said Perry.

            MRC Chairman Vin Malkoski said that half of Perry’s budget increase is the result of “decisions made that are out of our control … cost of doing business.”

            Commercial fishermen are still operating out of the harbor, and Marion’s work boat remains in the water, according to Perry.

            Murphy, the deputy harbormaster and shellfish officer, told the commissioners that Marion’s aquaculture regulations and the application form are posted at marionma.gov, the town’s website, but that no applications have been turned in as of yet.

            Asked by Malkoski about the site formerly licensed to Shea Doonan, Murphy said he believes that the state Division of Marine Fisheries will treat it as a new site.

            The matter of commercial mooring regulations will be on the Select Board’s January 4 agenda as correspondence and will be an action item on its January 18 agenda.

            The next MRC meeting was not scheduled at adjournment.

Marion Marine Resources Commission

By Mick Colageo

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