Waterways Fees Increasing in Marion

Fees for recreational boaters in Marion are going up this fiscal year in order to fund a long-range 10-13-year plan to replace the harbormaster’s main patrol boat.

Harbormaster Isaac Perry presented his proposed fee hikes to the Marion Board of Selectmen on January 22, which resulted in approval of the fees that will result in a roughly $54,000 annual increase in revenue.

A new patrol boat is priced at about $500,000-$600,000, Perry said.

Fees have not been increased since “the mid-2000s,” Perry told the board, and a portion of the increase in revenue will be set aside in the Waterways Account every year to replace the 13-year-old patrol boat that is now 13 years into its roughly 25-year life expectancy.

The boat berth fees at Island Wharf and Old Landing are going up from $150 to $200, and from $75 to $80, respectively. The fee for dinghy and kayak racks will go up from $40 to $50, and the per-foot fee will go up from $4 to $5 per foot.

Personal and commercial mooring fees are also increasing from $60 to $70, and $150 to $180, respectively.

Fiscal year 2018 revenue from waterways fees totaled about $313,000, and the increase will bring that revenue in FY19 up to $365,543.

Island Wharf is by far the biggest increase, Perry pointed out, due mainly because of the expansion the wharf has undergone and the fact that more employee work time has resulted because of the expansion.

“[Island Wharf has] tripled in size since this fee has been enacted, so we think it justifies the increase,” Perry said.

The fee amounts were adopted after Perry researched other area waterways fees in towns such as Wareham, New Bedford, Dartmouth, Mattapoisett, and towns on Cape Cod.

“We wanted to keep ours in line with what the norm is throughout the state,” said Perry.

In other matters, an appointment with Finance Committee Chairman Peter Winters will have to be rescheduled after Winters emailed Dawson that day to inform the board that he would be unable to attend the meeting that night. Runner up representative of the FinCom Alan Minard also emailed Dawson stating that he would also not be able to attend.

The topic of the meeting was so that the selectmen could discuss the Finance Committee’s decision last Tuesday to delay the approval of the board’s request for a Reserve Fund transfer in order to fund the town administrator’s 5.4 percent pay raise. During that FinCom meeting on January 15 there was some obvious contention between the committee and representatives from the Town House, Selectman John Waterman, and especially with Finance Director Judy Mooney.

Winters, Minard, and the rest of the FinCom asserted that the transfer was not necessary at the time, and went ahead and approved a Reserve Fund transfer to fund the fire chief’s pay raise of 8.8 percent. [See the article in the January 17 edition of The Wanderer titled “FinCom Chairman is a ‘(Bleep)’”.]

Also during the meeting, the members of the Town Administrator Search Committee have been chosen, with selectmen appointing at-large residents Judith Rosbe, Jim Ryba, and Elise Frangos, who will join Selectman Randy Parker and Harbormaster Isaac Perry in the five-member committee. The committee is tasked with reviewing the resumes recommended by headhunting consultant Bernard Lynch and ultimately presenting finalists to the board.

The board also voted to transfer the responsibility and authority over Sprague’s Cove from the Board of Selectmen to the Conservation Commission.

The next meeting of the Marion Board of Selectmen is scheduled for February 5 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.

Marion Board of Selectmen

By Jean Perry

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