Dock fees could change

Published 12:56 pm Saturday, January 10, 2015

Washington’s City Council, during its meeting Monday, could change the fee schedule for the city’s docks along the Stewart Parkway promenade.

If made, the changes would come after the council made similar changes late last year. Those changes took effect Jan. 1.

The city’s Waterfront Docks Advisory Committee, which provided input on the proposed fee changes, recommends the council adopt the new fee schedule. The committee and city’s dockmaster reviewed the fees charged by 10 marinas in eastern North Carolina over several months and compared those charges to Washington’s fees. As part of the management plan for the city docks, the first goal is to make the city docks as self-sustaining as possible.

The committee believes the recommended fee schedule would help accomplish that goal, according to a memorandum from John Rodman, the city’s community and cultural services director, to the mayor and council members.

Last month, Fred Watkins, a committee member, explained the need for fee changes.

“Because this is a little bit different business model than we normally see, we’d like to have the ability to come back to you guys as we evaluate rates — find out if we are either too low, too high — whatever it takes to get people down to our waterfront to rent boat slips,” Watkins said then. “We’d like the ability to come back later in the year with a new plan, if we need to so we don’t have to wait until the (budget) cycle comes to make corrections.”

During that December meeting, the council voted 4-1 to implement the changes, with council members Bobby Roberson, Richard Brooks, William Pitt and Larry Beeman voting for the measure. Councilman Doug Mercer voted against it, saying he wanted more time to study the proposed changes, saying he has concerns the changes could reduce revenues.

The city is going, basically, to a per-foot rate when it comes to renting boat slips and docking space to be more competitive with other places that offer those services, Watkins said last month.

“My understanding is that if you change the rates the way you have done it, that the potential revenue decreases,” Mercer responded.

City Manager Brian Alligood said Mercer might have a point “based on the same volume.”

Under the changes that took effect Jan. 1, boaters using the docks pay $3 a day for 30-amp service or $5 a day for 50-amp service. Those fees would remain ethe same under the proposal to be considered by the council on Monday. Currently, no fee is charged for power usage. Also under the proposal, fees for renting boat slips at the T docks would decrease for some boats (small) but increase for other (large) boats.

The daily docking fee would increase from $7.50 to $10 (maximum of six hours) if the proposed changes were adopted. (Detailed information about the proposed fee changes may be obtained by contacting the city manager’s office.)

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s web­site at, click “Government” then “City Council” heading, then click “Meeting Agendas” on the menu to the right. Then click on the date for the appropriate agenda.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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