ROCKLAND, Maine — The City Council is poised next week to approve a package of fee hikes for boaters who use Rockland Harbor.
Some of the proposed fees go beyond what the harbormaster recommended.
Harbormaster Ed Glaser clashed with councilors at a May 27 budget meeting, when he was asked to come up with $30,000 in added revenues or make budget cuts in that same amount. Glaser warned that higher fees could discourage people from coming to Rockland.
“I’d rather have a welcome mat in the harbor than a toll booth,” Glaser said at the May meeting.
Councilors, however, insisted higher fees would not discourage use of the harbor, saying the city should not be giving away its services.
A few weeks later, Glaser was put on paid leave for several days. The reason for the action was never publicly released.
Councilors are scheduled to vote on the package of hikes, which was recommended by the city’s Harbor Management Commission, at their Wednesday, Oct. 14, meeting. Glaser noted in a memo to the Council that the fee for nonresident moorings was substantially higher than he had recommended.
The nonresident mooring fee is proposed to increase from $80 to $140 per year for a boat that is 30 feet long or less. Larger boats would pay an additional $2 per foot to have a mooring in the harbor, up from an additional $1.75 per foot.
Residents with moorings would see their fees rise from $60 to $70 per year.
Overnight docking at the floats at the public landing would increase from $2 per foot to $2.50 per foot per night. Visiting cruise ships that dock at the float would see fees jump from $2.50 per foot to $3 per foot per day.
The total package of fee increases is projected to generate an additional $32,550 in revenues annually for the city. Councilors had asked the harbormaster to come up with more revenues or budget cuts as a way to provide property tax relief.
The new fees would take effect Jan. 1.
At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf suggested that the city’s parking committee also consider ways to generate revenues from boaters who park their cars and trucks on a grassy area adjacent to the public landing.
Fees for use of Harbor Park and adjacent Buoy Park and Mildred Merrill Park would remain unchanged as would the annual fee for food vendors to operate on the waterfront.