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Despite Claims, Mooring Fees did Not Just Go Up for Smallest Boats

City Manager Jane Howington explained that fees last went up in 2008 and a recent vote was simply to correct an administrative error.

The city of Newport this week did not raise mooring fees for the smallest boats in city waters by 30 percent, despite assertions.

In a letter to the City Council, city manager Jane Howington said that there has been discussion about an increase in mooring fees in recent updates to the city's code of ordinances relating to harbors, but, "that is actually not the case."

What happened was the city did raise fees 30 percent in 2008, pegging the minimum fee at $130, up from $100.

That fee is what has been charged and collected from boaters since then.

The confusion stems from an administrative error that occurred in the past year during updates to the ordinance. 

"The error occured in that the corresponding minimum payment was not carried forward in the amended ordinance," Howington said in a Feb. 25 memo to the mayor and City Council members. That's the same ordinance the City Council voted on Wednesday night.

What this all means is that though the books showed the fee was just $100 in recent months, it is and has always been $130, at least since 2008. So the assertion that the city raised fees by 30 percent this week is not accurate, according to city officials.

The harbormaster confirmed that nobody has paid less than $130 for a mooring fee since 2008.

In the end, the changes voted in by the City Council on Thursday really did not affect fees except for correcting a transposing error that took place during the code revisions.

The minimum payment is based on a 250 pound mushroom anchor, which is generally the lightest used, Howington said. 

"In fact, in the thirteen years Tim Mills has been here, no mushroom anchor of less than 250 pounds has been installed," Howington said. "Existing moorings with less than 250 pound anchors are few and far between and when the mooring tackle is upgraded, they are replaced with a heavier anchor of at least 250 pounds."
Woman of the tides March 03, 2014 at 07:21 PM
Well now, if the kind City of Newport could figure out a way to be kinder to their residents and start giving preferential treatment to residents waiting to be assigned a mooring. That would be great progress. It does not seem quite fair the way it is handled now.

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