Charlestown rejects boat slip rate hike
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.
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.