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Presentation to City Commission

29 March 1999

D. Joseph Buys

"I was originally led to believe the launch fee increase to $5 and $100 season pass for 1999 was in the proposal stages. I was later told it was a done deal as it was approved by Marquette City Commission in 1998 and was not a proposal. I was somewhat confused as certain city officials also thought it was not locked in.

If you had raised our launch fees from $2 to $2.50 I wouldnít be here tonight. I probably wouldnít be here if fees were raised from $2.50 to $3 or seasonal pass from $45 to $55. However, a 100% - 122% increase caught my attention.

Iíve jumped a lot of hoops to surface this issue, received a fair portion of misinformation along the way, and been lead down a lot of bureaucratic blind alleys. As you know, Iíve spent lots of time addressing these fees before you and directly with you.

I thought I was beginning to understand the process but now Iím somewhat confused again. Today I called the Michigan Waterways Commission and was informed of several things perhaps you already know but I didnít. Please correct me if Iím wrong on any of these.

I hope you know why Iím now confused. Can anyone correct me if any of this is not true? I didnít have time to check on it with any City officials.

If I am misinformed and you wish to proceed with readdressing launch fees, then I ask you to establish a $2.50 daily rate at Presque Isle, $3 fee at the Cinder Pond, and $45 seasonal launch fee.

As a designated representative of Central U.P. Sportfishing Assn. (CUPSA) to speak to this issue, I would offer we are willing to help the marinas promote seasonal passes and/or slip rental at any boat or recreation shows where we have booths. We also wish to offer representation to or on the Harbor Advisory Committee primarily for launch issues. I would also offer to address our membership to explore if there are any opportunities for us to provide volunteer help or even limited financial donations to the City, primarily in support of the Presque Isle launch facility."

Following my presentation and considerable discussion amongst the Commissioners and City officials, the Commission voted 6 for the following launch fees (the Mayor was the lone dissenting vote as he wanted a $5 launch fee.):

Presque Isle $3.00 daily, Cinder Pond $3.50 daily, $60.00 seasonal pass, $15 weekly pass.

Joe's Observations and Opinions: The Commission failed to deal with the real problem - the marinas. By my computations, the marinas (as opposed to the launch facilities) have been operating at an annual loss of roughly $35,000. This is made up by roughly a $25,000 subsidy from the City and roughly $10,000 ($12,000 income less $2,000 operating expenses) from the launching facilities. Instead they attacked the launching rates and made token adjustments to the slip fees, which won't solve the marina financial probems.

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