City raises marina slip rates

MARQUETTE – The Marquette City Commission on Monday voted to raise annual marina slip rates for the third consecutive year.

Seasonal slip rates at the Cinder Pond and Presque Isle marinas will again increase 6 percent in 2013.

The city’s general fund has, in some capacity, subsidized the marina fund since 1994, when the Cinder Pond Marina was commissioned.

The Harbor Advisory Committee, along with city staff, previously recommended a long-range strategy to make the marinas self-sustaining. The plan, later amended by city staff, includes a steady increase – 6 percent annually for seven years – in slip fees and a gradual diminishment in general fund subsidies. Staff estimates the marina fund will be revenue neutral by fiscal year 2018.

Commissioner Don Ryan said he supported the concept of trying to get the fund to a self-sustaining point.

“I guess the fact that we don’t have a room full of people out here saying, ‘Why are you raising our rates?’ must be a good sign that they hopefully understand why these changes are necessary,” he said.

The new rates range from $1,055 annually to $3,040, depending on the size of the boat.

The rate changes include the establishment of a $362 annual fee to use the city’s soon-to-be-established mooring field. Winter storage will now cost $1 per square foot, and those using Founders Landing Mooring sites will pay the Cinder Pond rate.

Commissioner Fred Stonehouse, a marina slip-holder, recused himself from both the vote and the discussion.

The commission on Monday also decided to appoint Commissioner Jason Schneider to the policy and steering committees of the Central U.P. Food Hub.

The Marquette Food Co-op is the designated agent for the Food Hub, which seeks to build and maintain a healthy, sustainable local food system in the central Upper Peninsula. A city staff member will be appointed to serve as an alternate.

In other action, the commission:

  • Approved a lease agreement to replace the city’s large-format plotter, used to print GIS drawings and maps. The city will pay $316.39 per month under the three-year lease with FRV Inc.
  • Authorized city staff to enter into a multi-year lease agreement with DSTech Inc. for a replacement telephone system at an amount not to exceed $27,268 per year. That amount marks an annual cost savings of about $30,000 for the city.
  • Recommended the city enter into a professional services agreement for special legal counsel with Marquette’s Steward & Sheridan PLC in an amount not to exceed $5,000. The firm will be used during the city’s trucking ordinance discussions if the content of those talks will present a conflict of interest for current City Attorney Ron Keefe, whose firm represents mining company Rio Tinto.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.