City should scrap boat slip project
Clearwater needs to reconsider the building of about 125 boat slips along the waterfront downtown.
It is my understanding that the city has borrowed about $11 million at about 4 percent to complete this project. When the project was presented to the public, I believe it was stated as a revenue bond project that not only would pay for itself but in the distant future maybe even bring some income to the city.
This was all based on a rental fee of $15 per foot (which was to increase each year) of slip space, not boat length. It was also based on about 80 percent occupancy of the transient slips.
This all sounded well and good, but the Dunedin, St. Petersburg and even the Clearwater Beach full-service marinas were more in line with about $10 per foot of dock space. These are full-service marinas, not boat slips.
Dunedin has several transient slips, but they are seldom used since they are exposed to wave action from the Intracoastal Waterway. St. Petersburg informed me that the only time their transient slips are full is when there is some big event in downtown. On normal weeks and weekends, they had two or three boats.
I will concede that transient docks on Clearwater Beach are probably occupied most of the time, but look at what they have access to: the beautiful beach, lots of shops and restaurants, all within walking distance of the marina.
It was suggested by a member of the City Council that they drop the rate to $9.50 to be more in line with other marinas. If this happens, then the slips will not generate enough revenue to pay off the debt plus maintenance and upkeep. This will all fall back on the taxpayers.
I think it is time to scrap this project, return the money to the bank, and whatever funds they were using to pay the interest should be redirected to library use.
John Blechschmidt, Clearwater
Re: Proposed incorporation of Palm Harbor
Leave Palm Harbor as it is
My husband and I have lived in unincorporated Palm Harbor for over 30 years. We love it here and have always been satisfied with Pinellas County services. Several of our neighbors and friends feel the same way.
We feel the incorporation activists who are trying to turn Palm Harbor into a city do not represent the majority of the residents. In this poor economic time, when people are losing jobs and homes and struggling to survive, they don't need the additional burden of making a city. It is too costly and unnecessary.
We went to one of the town hall meetings once. They talked about how they would lease law enforcement services from Tarpon Springs and Dunedin. How well would that work for us? The Pinellas County sheriff does a fine job. They are always there in a timely manner when they're needed.
If we incorporate, our taxes will go up and we would lose services. I hope that all the residents of Palm Harbor pay attention to this matter. Read the small notices in the newspaper, go to the meetings and speak up. The Pinellas officials are supporting a bill right now to allow Palm Harbor residents to vote on this issue.
Trudy Wade, Palm Harbor