WELLFLEET — Marina mooring and slip fees will increase by 15 percent over the next three years, but commercial slip holders will get an additional year to prepare for the increase. The harbormaster proposed the fee schedule to the select board at its March 9 meeting, and it was unanimously approved.
Fees have not increased in nearly a decade, said Harbormaster Will Sullivan. “The marina needs a lot of work,” he said. “We’re doing all right, but we need to do a little better.”
There is constant maintenance and repair work to be done, Sullivan told the Independent. The marina needs to finish rebuilding two sections of the docks, which will include new hardware and electrical repairs. “That’s a big one,” he said. Additionally, the L-Pier needs to be re-decked. Then, more docks will need to be rebuilt, one section at a time.
“Every dollar boaters put into the marina, we put back in,” Sullivan said. The fee increase is a chance to get more money into the Marina Enterprise Fund, but Sullivan “wanted to make sure this was gradual and ease into it.”
The fees will increase incrementally over three years, starting with a 3-percent rise in 2021, which is the cost-of-living increase in Massachusetts. The following year, fees will increase 5 percent, followed by 7 percent in 2023.
Commercial vessels will be exempt from the 2021 increase to give them “a little more preparation,” said Sullivan. In 2022, the commercial fees will jump by 5 percent. The final schedule was a compromise with the marina advisory committee, he said.
The advisory committee had a lengthy discussion on the pros and cons of the increases at its Jan. 29 meeting. Chair Joe Aberdale was initially opposed to any fee increase this year. “We’re in a national crisis, unemployment is high, some people are going hungry, people are hurting, there’s no dredge improvement for this summer,” Aberdale said. “We know that Wellfleet boaters are not wealthy. I understand and appreciate the need for a modest increase and I’ve always supported that in the past, but I don’t see any harm in waiting one year.”
After compromising on the schedule and exempting commercial boaters in the first year, the committee voted unanimously to support the proposal.
For taxpayers, south bulkhead fees will remain at $2,006 for 2021 and increase to $2,107 in 2022 and $2,255 in 2023. The L-Pier and Mosquito Dock fees will remain $40 per foot in 2021 and increase to $42 in 2022 and $45 in 2023.
“Our fees are significantly lower than every other marina around,” said Sullivan. “We need to get them up a bit, but we don’t want to hurt anyone with it.”
Select board chair Michael DeVasto said the fees were sensible and modest.