TARPON SPRINGS — Some fees at the city marina, the same for nearly a decade, may soon jump more than 65 percent.
City commissioners will consider increasing docking and electricity fees to pay for rising costs, the third in a series of fee increases for services the city has passed in the past year.
All three services — the marina, golf course and water — are paid for through enterprise, or self-supporting, funds. But the city isn't bringing in enough money to cover long-term costs like infrastructure repair and other improvements, said City Manager Mark LeCouris.
City officials hope to get grant funds to replace aging pilings and decking at the marina. But the city will likely have to come up with half of the funds for the project, LeCouris said. The higher fees should help with those costs and will also bring the city in line with other municipal marinas in Pinellas County, LeCouris said.
"When cities are looking at slashed revenues, we need to look at all avenues for revenues in the future," said Mayor Beverley Billiris. "Nobody is looking to gouge anyone, but we're trying to stay equal to what other cities are doing."
Clearwater's City Council voted last month to lower dock rental fees at its municipal marina in an effort to fill dozens of empty boat slips there. But Tarpon's small, 21-slip facility on the Anclote River is in high demand, city officials said.
If commissioners approve the changes, daily rates will increase from 90 cents per foot of boat length to $1.50 per foot. So, a 26-foot boat that pays about $23 a day would pay $39, a hike of more than 65 percent.
Monthly rates for residents, which are determined by the square footage of the slip, would go up an average of 15 percent. An 800-square-foot slip would go from $208 a month to $240. A 560-square-foot slip would go from $146 to $168.
Commercial and nonresident vessels would pay higher fees for monthly use: $300 for an 800-square-foot slip, up from $250; and $210 for a 560-square-foot slip, up from $175.
Other changes being considered:
• The implementation of a $25 annual city registration for long-term rentals.
• A $10 per month increase for electricity.
• The maximum stay for transient (short-term) vessels would drop from 30 days to 14 days. Longer stays would require city approval.
• Vessels would be removed for nonpayment if an owner falls 60 days behind.
Commissioners will discuss the item tonight and could vote on it in the coming weeks.
Rita Farlow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4162.