City Staff Still Working on Harbor Rate Increase

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

Staff at the Kodiak Harbormaster’s Office is still trying to implement a harbor rate increase.

City Finance Director Kelly Mayes and Harbormaster Lon White made a presentation to the Kodiak City Council at its work session Tuesday. Mayes went over a few different projected options for rate increases, which they had developed after a prior meeting.

“So, then based on some of your other ideas that you guys had thrown out on the last one, we took option three and basically did a basic compound on it. Whereas Lon’s was a straight six percent off of the base budget year every year, this is compounded based off of the year before, so it continually grows.”

White said Kodiak’s current harbor rates set it behind its closest competitive markets, Homer and Seward, especially on the small boat rates. He said the cost of building boats and harbors has gone up.

“The one thing that hasn’t kept up with that cost increase is the price of fish, and that’s the sad truth – that the price that fishermen are getting paid for fish is not keeping up with the cost of building boats, buying gear, and building harbors and supporting that infrastructure. But as an enterprise fund, it’s my job to tell you where we’re at and are we meeting our financial goals of being self-sustaining. And we’re not at the current rates.”

White said the City of Kodiak missed the beginning of the Fiscal Year 2017 date, which means it’ll get fewer benefits from any fee increase implemented this year.

“I’m very concerned about the rising cost of doing business and the ability to keep harbor rates manageable for users, but also sustaining and supporting the cost of doing business, so I do think we need to – we need to do something, and I don’t think delaying it is helping us in any way.”

He said it’s important to catch up and get back on track as soon as possible. The option he suggested is the implementation of an 18.5 percent increase for fiscal year 2018 and then a 2.8 percent increase yearly for the next four years.

Mayor Pat Branson said the council would look at the recommendation from the Port and Harbors Advisory Board and come back for more discussion. The next Kodiak City Council regular meeting is tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the assembly chambers. The fee schedule is not on that agenda, though several harbor-related bond measures are up for a vote.

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