Charlestown hears boat ramp fee pro­posal — again

Port of­fi­cial de­scribes honor box sys­tem

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By BRIANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— The idea of a fee for the town’s pop­u­lar boat ramp was once again floated this week, as a Port De­posit town coun­cil mem­ber spoke about his town’s public boat ramp pol­icy to the Charlestown Board of Com­mis­sion­ers.

Port De­posit Town Coun­cil­man Bob Kuhs gave a pre­sen­ta­tion to the town

CHARLESTOWN

com­mis­sion­ers Tues­day night about his town’s honor box, which users can pay per day or an­nu­ally.

Kuhs said Pros­per Boudart, a Charlestown res­i­dent, came to him dur­ing church and asked him about Port De­posit’s boat ramp pol­icy, and then asked him to in­form Charlestown of­fi­cials about the honor box sys­tem.

“My think­ing is peo­ple who use the boat ramp have to bear an ex­pense of us­ing that ramp,” Boudart said.

Kuhs told the of­fi­cials that the an­nual bud­geted amount for ramp rev­enue is $20,000 a year, with some years even ex­ceed­ing that amount, since he has been in­volved with the fee process over the past five years.

Kuhs said he re­trieves the en­velopes from the box, which are marked with spe­cific num­bers that cor­re­late to the stubs placed on a car’s dash­board. An of­fi­cial can then look for the num­ber on the en­ve­lope and match it against the stubs or an­nual sticker with the num­bers on the dash­board.

Kuhs said that if users do

not pay the fee, he does have the au­tho­riza­tion through the town coun­cil to is­sue tick­ets. He said he writes one to four tick­ets a week­end, but the town does not count on those for rev­enue.

In Au­gust 2014, the Well­wood of­fered to pay Charlestown $3,000 a year to not pur­sue in­stalling a gate at the boat ramp, an idea to raise rev­enue at the time. The gate idea was nixed be­cause the com­mis­sion­ers de­cided against spend­ing an es­ti­mated $20,000 for the gate.

At the Port De­posit ramp, how­ever, there is no gate or cam­eras, Kuhs said.

He said the dif­fer­ence in the town’s op­er­a­tions may be a golf cart shut­tle in Charlestown from the Avalon park­ing lot down Wa- ter Street to the ramp, whereas in Port De­posit the park­ing lot is im­me­di­ately ad­ja­cent to the ramp. Kuhs sug­gested that the shut­tle driver could be re­spon­si­ble for col­lect­ing po­ten­tial ramp fees.

Three signs dis­play the prices of the ramp in Port De­posit. Kuhs said Port De­posit res­i­dents are given free ac­cess through an an­nual sticker, while Mary­land res­i­dents are charged $5 per use and out-of-state users $10 per use. He said Mary­land res­i­dents can pur­chase an an­nual sticker for un­fet­tered ac­cess for $25 while out-of­s­tate res­i­dents pay $50.

Kuhs sug­gested that the com­mis­sion­ers dis­cuss any po­ten­tial fee struc­ture with the Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources.

Charlesown Com­mis­sioner Andy Thomp­son said he was un­sure about the idea of charg­ing for the ramp, but af­ter hear­ing Port De­posit’s fee plan, said some kind fee is a good way to gen­er­ate rev­enue, which could go to­ward main­tain­ing parks or up­grad­ing the ramp.

No ac­tion was taken on whether a fee will be created.

Ce­cil County has two public ramps that do not re­quire a per­mit or fee, in­clud­ing Charlestown’s and a ramp on U.S. Army Corps of En­gi­neers prop­erty in Ch­e­sa­peake City.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Charlestown of­fi­cials heard yet another pro­posal about adding a fee to the town’s pop­u­lar boat ramp dur­ing a re­cent meet­ing de­spite tak­ing no im­me­di­ate ac­tion.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

Sharon Parker, North East Royal Farms store leader, ex­plains Thurs­day how driv­ers of elec­tric cars will use the new DC Fast Charger in­stalled at the store.

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