From: Paul Kamen
To: Berkeley City Council
Re: Marina Fees, follow-up to Jan 18 Pubic Hearing
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to submit additional written comments as a follow-up to my testimony at the Jan 18 Public Hearing on Marina Fees.
I've included my own revenue calculations, which differ somewhat from those done by the Marina staff. Based on the proposal as submitted (spreadsheet A), increased revenue at 100% occupancy is $213,000. At a realistic 90% occupancy this drops to 191,000, still well over the target and not even counting other increases not involving regular monthly boat berthing.
If we eliminate the dock box fee (spreadsheet B), revenue increase (90% occupancy) is at about $138,000, and adding in the other fees would probably bring us just about up to 150,000.
Spreadsheet C is my preferred option: drop the unpopular dock box fee but raise the base rate by $0.10 to compensate. (Actually, an increase of $0.15 would be necessary to compensate exactly, but there's some interest in keeping the base rate on an even ten cents.) In this case the revenue increase, corrected for 90% occupancy, is over $172,000, and again, this is not counting revenue from fees other than regular monthly boat berthing.
I've also included a chart showing how the flat fee for the dock box compromised the new progressive rate structure. This progressive rate structure is a key element of the whole rate plan. It's our best attempt to keep the small berths viable in the marketplace, so the Berkeley Marina will continue to be home to a substantial number of smaller boats owned by non-wealthy sailors. As was noted at the hearing, the trend among new marinas is to phase out nearly all berthing for small boats, and this phases out a certain demographic of boat-owner as well.
Note that my spreadsheet also shows some percentage increases that are way above the maximums cited by staff at the hearing. This is because I'm including the new charge for unmetered electricity. This should not cause panic - these berths will almost certainly become individually metered in the next few years, and this charge will disappear. The person who questioned the $0.90 per foot additional charge for his 95 ft. boat, for example, will be billed $85.50/month for unmetered power. (At $0.13/kwh, that's equivalent to a continuous power load of only 900 watts, less power than is used by one small electric heater.) There have been cases in the past where large yachts have nearly equaled their berth payments in the cost of "free" power they've consumed.
On the dry storage issue: the real problem is that we only offer one size, 8' x 24', suitable for fairly expensive boats, and when someone wants to store a small and low- value boat that only takes up a fraction of the space, we have a bad match. Spaces measuring 6' x 16' only take up half as much area, and are much more appropriate for the type of boat that's more popular on the south side of the marina.
Therefore I strongly support re-striping a portion of the area W dry storage yard for 6' x 16' boats, and charging half the rate as the 8' x 24' spaces. Fixed administrative costs per account might make this a money-losing proposition, but the loss would be small and the value of re-developing a market for this size of boat storage would be well worth the effort.
Thank you for taking the time to review this material. More background information can be found on my waterfront website, at www.well.com/user/pk/waterfront.