Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 18:59
Miffed by lack of communication from cruise firms, commission decides to charge them for winter marina use
A frustrated Harbor Commission on Monday decided that if two excursion boats want to dock in the Port Washington marina this winter, they will have to pay.
The city had reached an agreement with Foxy Lady Cruises of Green Bay and Harbor Lady Yacht Cruises of Sturgeon Bay to allow two of their boats to remain in the marina over winter in return for the firm offering several public cruises.
The boats were expected to pull into the harbor on Oct. 15, but that date came and went with little communication from the shipsâ owners, Harbormaster Dennis Cherny said.
âPeople are asking, âWhere are these boats?ââ he said.
He called the cruise operators and was told they were going to extend their season and remain in Sturgeon Bay for two weeks, Cherny said.
But when the boats didnât arrived at the end of October, he went to check again and discovered that, according to their Web site, they are moored in McKinley Marina in Milwaukee through Dec. 15, offering cruises there, Cherny said.
âI saw them go by on Sunday,â he said. âIâm thinking this deal has fallen through.
âI donât have a clue whatâs happening. I donât know if theyâre anticipating coming here on the 12th of December. Thereâs nothing on the Web site about Port Washington.â
He noted that, in return for mooring here, the boats were to offer three community cruises between Oct. 15 and April 15 â with the city receiving $2 of each ticket sold â host a welcome back party for marina tenants in spring and pay the cost of electricity needed to run the ice eaters in the north slip marina, where they would be docked.
âWhen are we going to get those free charters?â Cherny asked. âThey had three or four nice weekends when they could have offered them here.â
Springtime, he noted, is generally too chilly for cruising.
Frustrated commission members expressed skepticism about the deal, which was approved by the Common Council last month.
âTheir attitude stinks,â Commission Chairman Gerald Gruen said.
City Administrator Mark Grams said, âThe time for them to come would have been in October. Spring cruises are questionable because the weather is more questionable then.
âThey went to Milwaukee instead to extend their season. I think theyâre just looking for free storage from Port Washington.â
He suggested that, since the deal the city had with the companies was verbal, the marina now charge the boats to remain in the marina over winter.
Commission members concurred, agreeing to charge them $2,000 per boat for winter storage, plus the cost of electricity.
âIt sounded like a nice thing,â Cherny lamented, adding he will contact the boat owners again to see what is happening. âThis was going to be a win-win for both of us. It doesnât appear to be a win for us.â
Grams said he hopes that if the boats do moor in the marina over winter, the owners will offer the cruises to residents.