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Marina rate hikes presented at public meeting

Proposed rate increases for tenants at the Port Orchard Marina will be presented for public review at a town hall meeting on Tuesday night with the Port of Bremerton commissioners.

Marina Director Steve Slaton said his recommendations for the rate hikes were forged after several meetings with the Port Orchard Marina Advisory Council (POMAC).

“It has been a long and arduous process,” Slaton told the port commissioners at their last meeting on Tuesday. “I don’t want to give the impression that there was unanimity or even a consensus reached.”

But Slaton said he did address some of the concerns the POMAC members have raised since the rate increases were proposed last fall.

In response to the tenants’ claim that the port staff used rates of incomparable marinas — such as those privately owned or outside the county — to gauge market rates, Slaton said he adjusted the prices to reflect more closely the Kitsap County rates.

“They are now weighted 60 percent/40 percent toward the Kitsap County rates,” he said.

Slaton said he also agreed to phase in the rate increases, proposing spreading them out over the next three years.

“We should phase them in. That’s the right thing to do,” he said. However, he went on to explain that he did not comply with the tenants’ request for no more rate increases this year.

Instead, Slaton said he was recommending another 7.5 percent increase beginning in July, then successive hikes in January and July for the next two years.

“In 2009, the rates will freeze, and then we will revise the schedule in three years,” he said.

Slaton said he also revised the rate changes for the largest slips after the POMAC pointed out that, at a certain point, prices leveled off and did not increase with the boat lengths.

Slaton said he will present the same information on Tuesday night at Givens Community Center, and then the bulk of the remaining two-hour meeting will be given to public input.

The port commissioners will be present to collect comments, but are not expected to vote on the rate increase schedule at the meeting.

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