Residential dock fees will go from $60 to $65 dollars a foot; commercial fishermen will just go up $46 a foot (from $44). Some of the big bigger changes would be on commercial moorings.
Harbormaster Gregg Marsili came before the Town Council at their Wednesday, Nov. 1 meeting to request their approval of a new slate of rates for mooring and docking fees, beginning Jan. 1, 2024.
“We haven't adjusted the fees at the waterfront in quite some time,” said Marsili. “Everything's a little more expensive with the new docks, the fuel dock, and employee costs, so this [increase] will bring in between 35 and forty thousand extra thousand dollars next year.”
The full accounting of fees, which were determined in collaboration with the Harbor Commission, is extensive and can be found in the meeting packet on www.bristolri.gov (agenda item I3). Marsili offered a snapshot of some of the changes.
“Residential dock fees will go from $60 to $65 dollars a foot; commercial fishermen will just go up $46 a foot (from $44). Some of the big bigger changes would be on commercial moorings.”
Commercial moorings are a category distinct from Commercial Waterfront Businesses, a designation that currently applies only to Bristol Marine, The Bristol Yacht Club, and the Herreshoff Marine Museum.
“They're on the waterfront actually doing business, and we’ll keep them at a lower rate from commercial moorings for residents and non-residents,” said Marsili, who noted that the new commercial rates reflect what other harbormasters around the state are charging.
“Our dockage rates…what we collect on that doesn't pay the power bill.”
“My understanding is that we are significantly cheaper, even with those adjustments,” said Council Chairman Nathan Calouro. Marsili confirmed most neighboring communities, including Warren, charge $75 per foot for recreational vessels. “We need to be at $75 a foot but I didn't think jumping up $15 was was the right answer in one year, so we will bring it up over the next three years.”
Marsili also noted that the waterfront businesses that welcome transient vessels all increased their rates last year.
“No wonder we were very busy,” he said.
“It makes sense to generate some of those revenues from the people that are actually using the facilities instead of spreading the cost across all taxpayers,” said Councilman Aaron Ley. “I think this is a good way of generating the revenue for that.”
“We need to protect our investment,” said Councilman Tim Sweeney. “I’m definitely in support of the Harbormaster’s recommendations for the new fee structure.”
The Council voted unanimously to accept the new fee structure, which Calouro called “a reasonable and fair next step.”