South Haven city officials have decided for now to stick with a three-year plan to increase seasonal dock rates at city-owned marinas for the 2022 boating season.
City Council members voted on Monday to continue strengthening tariffs in line with the three-year tariff increase schedule that was passed in 2021 to bring South Haven municipal marinas more in line with what other municipal marinas charge along the lake, according to the deputy city manager. and Harbor Master Griffin Graham.
“In 2020, staff conducted a thorough review of seasonal and transitional rates and recommended a gradual increase over three years to catch up with seasonal rates at other marinas,” Graham said. In the first year of the plan, seasonal rates increased 5% at all marinas in town.
For 2022, seasonal rates will increase by 5% at Northside and Michigan Maritime marinas, while the rate increase at Black River Park will be slightly less than 3%. By 2023, seasonal rates will increase by the same amount, according to the plan. Transitional rates at the Southside Marina are set by the Michigan Waterways Commission. These rates can be viewed by visiting the city’s website, along with the new seasonal rates, which are broken down by boat length.
The decision to stick to the three-year plan for 2022 comes despite the increased costs that the city’s marinas have incurred over the past two years due to record water levels on Lake Michigan and the Black River.
“There remain concerns that these tariffs will not be sufficient to cover the increasing costs and future upgrades that are required to maintain existing facilities, while on their own funding the desired improvements,” Graham said. .
Over the next seven years, the city predicts that marinas will need $ 850,000 in improvements related to maintenance and upgrades. The city is considering upgrades to public and handicapped accessible services and the replacement of the main dock deck at the museum marina at a cost of $ 450,000; a new access road from Wells Street to Black River Park, estimated at $ 260,000; as well as a $ 28,000 upgrade to the lift station at Southside Marina, which caters to transient slips. Other enhancements to the Southside Marina Marina include rooftop ice guards, new lighting, gas grills, and a new bathroom heating and cooling system. Improvements for Black River Park include marina security and a fire hydrant. A total of $ 75,000 in the 7 year upgrade plan is also earmarked for Black River Channel wave attenuation to control flooding and erosion caused by high water levels.
Improvements to municipal marinas come mainly from user fees and state and federal grants that the city obtains from time to time.
Fortunately, South Haven municipal marinas continue to be popular with boaters.
“All of our seasonal slips were full and we had a substantial waiting list last summer,” Graham noted.
But, concerns remain about the seven-year upgrade plan. To address the issue of funding improvements, city staff recommend that the Harbor Commission discuss increasing parking / public access rates at Black River Park, updating the Capital Improvement Plan over 7 years for marinas and holding a priority setting workshop. over the next few months to discuss long-term planning and short-term projects.