Town Wants Much Higher Mooring Field Rents

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The mooring field is becoming more popular according to Fort Myers Beach Harbormaster Austin Gilchrist. And, he says, its time to raise the rates. Gilchrest shared his input with the Fort Myers Bach Anchorage Advisory committee which makes recommendations to the town council.

The demand to moor off Fort Myers Beach is increasing. Currently there are 63 boats in the field compared to last year at this time when there were 37. According to Gilchrist, the increased popularity is due to improved customer service and the relatively low cost compared to other mooring fields.

Town staff compared fees and amenities of the Fort Myers Beach mooring field with others around the state, and according to Gilchrist, “Were charging less than most of the marinas and offering more.” He said, we need to make a change, referring to how much the town charges.

Staff indicated the current rate has been in place a long time to which committee members agreed. Staff reported they are looking at a 32% rate increase which was based on their research that found there was a 36% cost of living increase in the area.

The increase would put the new fee at $412 a month, up from $312. Weekly and daily rates would also be increased, according to Gilchrist.

The committee is also looking at increasing the cost of a parking pass for mooring field residents from $25 to $35 a month. Committee members questioned if the parking rate would affect all parking passes. Gilchrist said he’s been discussing with the town whether the fee can be raised on the mooring field residents separate from other town residents.

The increased mooring field fees will help cover the increased cost in electricity, water fuel insurance and employee salaries. The mooring field has never had a fulltime employee until recently now that Gilchrist salary comes out of the maritime budget. Gilchrest said, “We are trying to relieve the tax burden on the people. We no longer want the mooring field to be a drain on the town or the taxpayers.”

Public Works Manager Jason Freeman indicated they still anticipate the general revenue fund to help support the mooring field up to a point but the suggested increase in fees will “be enough to not only maintain the level of service but continue to match that with the expansion.” The town is in the process of adding an additional 19 mooring balls to their field.

Anchorage Advisory committee members Doug Eckmann said, “What I hear you saying is you have to raise the rate to cover the costs and level of service you project. That makes sense.”

The committee requested more time to review the fee increase research the staff did before making a recommendation to the town council.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Mike C. There is free parking over the bridge by the huge white building. No pass needed. County owned parking lot.

  2. Mooring field is a business as stated above. Has been a losing program for years. You the townspeople have shouldered that burden. I own a business here in the square. I can assure you that the mooring field adds zero dollars to our businesses. We talk to folks every day and never have I heard one person say they were on a boat in the mooring field. It’s a way to pay no taxes and live on the cheap. At the towns expense of providing showers etc. does the town provide you showers or bathroom facilities? No they want the businesses here to provide that service. There are zero count them zero town public restrooms in time square. The businesses eat that added cost.

  3. The vast majority of the boats in the mooring field are not occupied. The owners use the mooring field as a cheap alternative to store their boat. There’s no way of knowing where the owners are actually living but they may or may not be contributing to the FMB economy.

  4. There are all sorts of parasites in this world. Even parasites that lie and deceive people and present false information to the public.

  5. Remember that cruising boaters (long-term traveling or living on board) spend money locally for food and services. They are not parasites who take and give nothing back. I was one for 3 years.

  6. WOW. Simply Wow! I have no idea who “Seamus” is but he (or she) is very wise and 100% spot on target with the assessment of the mooring field topic. There’s common sense, wisdom and truth in every single word Seamus posted.

  7. “We are trying to relieve the tax burden on the people. We no longer want the mooring field to be a drain on the town or the taxpayers.”

    Well that just speaks volumes. So now someone in that office has finally figured out that the mooring field is actually a business. You’re 99% of the way there, Town Hall. Now you just need to go through the arduous process of finding a business person/company to run it. You’re the Town Hall, a government entity, not a private business trying to make a profit. Contract this thing out and take the commission. This also allows you to empower your contractor to supply an upland services building, water, fuel, pump-outs, all the services that a mooring field requires. And let the contractor do that. Because let’s face it: they’re likely more qualified to run a mooring field than you are. Let them hire Gilchrest, pay him, pay his benefits, his insurance, all of it. Then all of that comes off the Town’s books, along with the myriad other expenses, and wait for it. . . the liability and the complaints!

    See? That’s how you keep taxes down: you spend less of our money so that you don’t have to charge us more every year.

    Now all you have to do is figure out what to do with that MILLION dollar back yard behind Town Hall you purchased for a building that the neighbors don’t want for a business better left to someone more qualified to run.

    Take the L, Town Hall and move on. For all of us.

  8. The mooring field residents should pay their own way entirely. The local taxpayers get next to nothing from their presence except pollution. We’d be better off without them.

  9. Residents who pay taxes on the island, water bills on the island, etc. pay way more and also pay an additional $25 for a pass – Why should mooring field people complain about $415 a month??? Seriously?

  10. Residents have to jump through hoops annually for that $25 parking pass and pay way than 415 a month to the town. If the are on a boat why do they need a parking pass????

  11. The Town should provide us, the taxpayers with a profit/loss statement for at least the past three years to see what the mooring field has cost us. We have no idea now but would like to have transparency. Think we can get this information?

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