City raises slip rates: Being self-sustaining the goal

MARQUETTE – The Marquette City Commission on Monday increased this year’s seasonal slip rates for the Cinder Pond and Presque Isle marinas by 6 percent to help with their upkeep and maintenance.

The city of Marquette Marina Fund was established to be self-sustaining, funded through seasonal and transient slip rental, fuel sales, pump out and daily and annual launch fees.

The city’s General Fund had subsidized marina operations beginning in 1994 when the Cinder Pond Marina was commissioned, but rates historically have not incorporated planned maintenance and depreciation.

In 2011, city staff and the Harbor Advisory Committee discussed rate options, with both recommending a long-range strategy for addressing self-sustaining fund requirements that gradually balance slip fee increases while relying less on General Fund subsidies.

The committee recommended an increase of slip lease rates of 6 percent annually for five years, although staff determined a break-even point would require seven years. The city now is in the fourth year of the planned increases.

Continuing the 6 percent annual slip rate increase is expected to achieve a break-even sustainable balance in the Marina Fund by fiscal year 2018.

“It is a way to try to get it in balance,” Commissioner Don Ryan said.

Mayor Robert Niemi said it’s critical for the city to be more self-sustaining in regard to the marinas. Commissioner Mike Coyne acknowledged people don’t like the increases but they realize they’re necessary to maintain good marinas.

“The people understand, ‘Hey, we’ve got to do this with both marinas, or they’ll fall apart,’ ” Coyne said.

The commission also approved transient rates for both marinas, depending on slip length, and increasing the winter storage rate from $1 to $1.10 per square foot.

There will be no slip rate increases at the Lower Harbor mooring field or Founders Landing.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.