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Old 04-17-2011, 02:31 AM   #1
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In my 50+ years of boat ownership and dealing with private and publicly owned marines, I thought I had seen every fee imaginable. As live aboard became more common 'they started charging for that life style. As electricity on the docks they went from "help yourself, just don't complain if the breaker trips" to meters for live aboards to meters for all. I haven't experienced it yet but metered parking or garbage pickup fees. Oh! Yah! fees for pumping out.

Have you ever heard of a "Piling Fee"?? That's correct, I'm now paying a $30/month piling fee for the future replacement of the old pilings in the municipal marina I am at. Not just the, fairly new, piling in for the slip I'm in, but all wooden pilings. In fact since there is another boat on this slip finger, that means they're collecting $60/month. Oh! Wait! The cost per piling now doubles because the port district (unnamed) will match the revenue dollar for dollar. How long is this going to take? No one can tell me. It seems that wood piling aren't good enough. Creasote can't be use anymore, I can understand that. What about other wood treatment type pilings? Not durable enough, in the long term. How about concrete or steel? Nah! no reason. But the insurance company wants them to put in fiberglass pilings. (has the insurance company ever heard of osmotic blistering??) Or has anyone considered how fast and intense a GRP (glass re-enforced plastic) boat fire is??

The bottom line, this $360/yr is an open ended fee program that could go on for many many years and there is no one that can answer my questions about the reason the tenants are paying for capital improvements that may never benefit the present tenants and no accountability that I can see. It seems to me that this public marina should go to the public with their needs and maybe public bond could be approved and issued and future tenants would pay for this piling upgrade with an small increase in moorage fees. At least that way, there would be accountability and the effort could begin as soon as needed while the cost is spread over life of the pilings.

Oh! BTW! the management of the marina is the local Port Authority and that includes the local Municipal Air Port. The director has only an aviation backgound as does most of his staff.

I have already voice the above observations and opinions to the Director.

So much for my rant!

Steve
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:47 AM   #2
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Wow! Doesn't your municipality believe in competitive bids? I've never seen fiberglass pilings - I would think that they have got to be incredibly expensive for the same strength and longevity of concrete piles, especially if they are going to be fabricated just for this one application. Does somebody in the management have a relative in the fiberglass fabrication industry?

It's no wonder that we are becoming more cynical in our old age. One municipal marina told me that it's Florida state law that transient boats can only stay in their marina for a maximum 3-day stay, or 6 days total in a month. I should have asked them if Florida passed that law specifically for that marina, since there's no place else in the state that we've found that. Of course, it reminds me of the French, who, whenever they didn't want to provide a service, would tell foreigners "it's the law" that they wouldn't do what you asked.

With that, and other experiences, I really question the statement that the marina's insurance requires fiberglass piles. Do any of your local TV stations have an investigative show that likes to root out corruption and such silliness? The name of the insurance company should be a matter of public record, so it should be relatively easy to verify.

So far, I think your marina is ahead on "most exploitative fees charged". Anybody have a topper to this?
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Old 05-06-2011, 07:14 PM   #3
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Hmmm, I had a good idea but I just looked at the locations and it probably doesn't help. In Canada, we have the Access to Information Act and it makes every decision that any level of government available with a letter to a central office. Do you have something like that in the US?

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