Charlestown re­jects boat slip rate hike

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

The idea of in­creas­ing the town’s boat slip rental fee was briefly dis­cussed on Tues­day night but was quickly shot down with­out a vote be­ing taken.

Wib Pumpaly, town ad­min­is­tra­tor, pro­posed an an­nual 10 per­cent rate in­crease for the next three years for the more than 30 mu­nic­i­pal slips that it of­fers for sea­sonal lease to boaters.

The boat slip rental fees were last in­creased in 2014 through an or­di­nance that ex­pires on Dec. 31. The 2014 fee was $ 460 and grew to $ 580 this year.

The pro­posal does not af­fect the town’s boat slip user fee tax of 5 per­cent of slip costs not to ex­ceed $ 100, which is ap­plied to both mu­nic­i­pal and pri­vate slips in town. That tax would raise the to­tal costs of the mu­nic­i­pal slips as well.

Un­der the pro­posal, the to­tal lease fee with taxes would in­crease to $ 670, then to $ 737 in 2018 and fi­nally $ 811 in 2019.

The pro­posal does not af­fect the town’s pop­u­lar pub­lic boat ramp, one of the few re­main­ing free ones in Ce­cil County.

CHARLESTOWN—

In­creas­ing the fee would help to pay for main­te­nance costs to up­keep the town’s ag­ing pier and to pur­chase sev­eral more ice heaters, among other main­te­nance fees and costs, Pumpaly ex­plained.

In ad­di­tion to ap­proval from the com­mis­sion­ers, the Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources must ap­prove any rate in­creases.

Board Pres­i­dent Re­nee Ca­pano said she is not in fa­vor of in­creas­ing the rates at this time.

“I’m not sure if we need to do that right away,” she said.

Com­mis­sioner Bruce Hech­mer said he would op­pose an in­crease if it came up for vote dur­ing his re­main­ing time on the board.

But Com­mis­sioner Joseph Letts said the rate will have to go up at some point though.

“No mat­ter when we do it, it’s go­ing to have to go up,” he said. “If we don’t do it this year, we’ll have to do it next year.”

Mary Carol Du­range, board vice pres­i­dent, said she is open to the idea of in­creas­ing the rate, but thinks of fi­cials need to look into the pier main­te­nance and up­keep costs, as well as the pier’s elec­tric bill.

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