Back-to-back seasons with budget shortfalls prompt commission to take closer look at facility’s future
The Port Washington marina lost money for the second consecutive year in 2015, a fact that has members of the Harbor Commission taking a hard look at the future.
City Administrator Mark Grams said officials aren’t sure how much money the marina lost last year, but estimated it could be as much as $50,000.
The previous year, a leak in the fuel tanks led to the marina logging a roughly $60,000 shortfall, he said.
Despite the shortfalls over the last two years, the marina continues to cover its bills and debt service, as well as give the city an annual $45,000 payment in lieu of taxes, Grams said.
Grams and Harbormaster Dennis Cherny cited several reasons for the shortfall in the 2015 budget, most notably the cold weather and poor fishing that kept many boaters away through much of the summer.
“Fishing has been poor overall in Lake Michigan,” Cherny said.
Zebra and quagga mussels eat the plankton that is food for the alewives, which in turn means there are fewer alewives to feed the salmon that fishermen seek, he said.
In addition, the Department of Natural Resources is not planting as many sport fish as in the past.