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Port Washington


Marina complaint sent to Port council PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 19:00

 

Harbor Commission declines to act on allegation that tenant improperly used slip for charter fishing service

The Port Washington Harbor Commission on Monday referred a complaint issued by Harbormaster Dennis Cherny against a marina tenant to the Common Council.

The commission’s decision came after City Attorney Eric Eberhardt told members that attorney Steve Cain, who is representing marina tenant Vern Forman, had serious concerns about the process used to hear the complaint.

To eliminate these concerns, Eberhardt recommended the commission stop its proceedings and refer the matter to the council.

“It is an effort to afford Mr. Forman a full and fair hearing,” Eberhardt said.

This is the first time that the Harbor Commission has been asked to take up a complaint against a marina tenant, officials said as they tried to sort through the matter.

Cherny has alleged that Forman conducted a charter fishing service in the main marina in violation of the marina rules. Because of that, the harbormaster said, he decided not to rent Forman a slip in the marina for 2011.

Cherny told the commission he had confronted four men leaving Forman’s boat on May 22 and they admitted paying for their fishing trip.

Forman and Cain told the commission last week that Forman was not providing charter fishing trips.

Eberhardt told the commission that the due process concerns expressed by Cain relate back to Oct. 11, when Cherny initially told the commission about the alleged rule violation and his recommendation not to lease a slip to Forman.

According to the minutes for the meeting, “The commission agreed,” he said.

Eight days later, Cherny sent Forman a letter outlining his allegations and decision not to renew his slip for 2011, Eberhardt said. That letter also outlined the procedure to appeal the matter to the Harbor Commission.

Last week, the commission held a hearing in the case, during which Forman and Cain denied the allegations. The commission held the matter over to Monday so members could review a Department of Natural Resources report on the matter.

After last week’s hearing, Cain e-mailed him a list of concerns about the case, Eberhardt said. Among those is the fact that, based on the Oct. 11 minutes, the commission appeared to have made a decision to back Cherny before holding a hearing, he said.

That same entry could indicate that the commission was not an impartial body when hearing Forman’s appeal, Eberhardt said.

Eberhardt told the Common Council on Tuesday that it may be called on to hear a complaint referred by the Harbor Commission, but did not go into detail about the matter.
He did, however, caution aldermen not to discuss the matter with each other or constituents.

 
City officials sour on excursion boat deal PDF Print E-mail
Community
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 ships’ owners, Harbormaster Dennis Cherny said.

“People are asking, ‘Where are these boats?’” 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 didn’t 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.

“I saw them go by on Sunday,” he said. “I’m thinking this deal has fallen through.

“I don’t have a clue what’s happening. I don’t know if they’re anticipating coming here on the 12th of December. There’s nothing on the Web site about Port Washington.”

He noted that, in return for mooring here, the boats were to offer three community cruises between Oct. 15 and April 15 — with the city receiving $2 of each ticket sold — 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.

“When are we going to get those free charters?” Cherny asked. “They had three or four nice weekends when they could have offered them here.”

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.

“Their attitude stinks,” Commission Chairman Gerald Gruen said.

City Administrator Mark Grams said, “The time for them to come would have been in October. Spring cruises are questionable because the weather is more questionable then.

“They went to Milwaukee instead to extend their season. I think they’re just looking for free storage from Port Washington.”

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.

“It sounded like a nice thing,” Cherny lamented, adding he will contact the boat owners again to see what is happening. “This was going to be a win-win for both of us. It doesn’t appear to be a win for us.”

Grams said he hopes that if the boats do moor in the marina over winter, the owners will offer the cruises to residents.
 
City starts reviewing budget with no tax hike PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 03 November 2010 21:41
The Port Washington Common Council was expected to review the proposed 2011 budget for the first time Wednesday night.

The $8.7 million proposed general fund budget reflects an increase of 2.38% from this year’s budget, City Administrator Mark Grams said.

To support the budget, the tax levy would be $4.89 million, an increase of .37%, he said. The tax rate needed to raise the levy would be virtually the same as this year — $6.03 per $1,000 assessed valuation.

“People shouldn’t see an increase in taxes from the city,” Grams said. “If they do, it should only be a cent or two.”
That’s because the difference in tax rates amounts to hundredths of a cent per $1,000 valuation, he said.

If the proposed budget is adopted as recommended, a house assessed at $200,000 will pay $1,205.56 in city taxes for next year. This year, taxes on that house were $1,205.67, Grams said.

Although he doesn’t have all the figures in yet, Grams estimated that city taxpayers will see their overall property tax bill increasing by about 15 cents per $1,000.

The tax rate for the Port Washington-Saukville School District is expected to increase by about 22 cents per $1,000, Grams said, while the rate for Milwaukee Area Technical College will decrease about seven cents.

But, he said, he expects Ozaukee County’s tax rate to be stable or to decrease slightly. He’s not sure what will happen with the state tax rate or the state school tax credit.

The proposed 2011 City of Port Washington budget meets the city’s goal of keeping the tax rate stable while providing residents with the same level of services as in the past, Grams said.

As agreed earlier this year, the budget maintains the city’s shared-ride taxi service and other municipal services at their current levels, he said.

The only exception is for the ambulance, which will become a paramedic service, Grams said. The increased level of service is expected to cost the city $33,000, but that will be paid through increased fees.

“Other than that, what you’ve got now is what you’re getting next year,” Grams said. “To be able to do that and keep the tax rate stable is quite an accomplishment.”

A public hearing on the proposed 2011 budget will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, during the Common Council meeting.
 
Tax rate climbs 6.1% in PW-S school budget PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by Bill Schanen IV   
Friday, 29 October 2010 18:17

But drop in district’s equalized valuation expected to hold increase on most residents’ bills to $40

Most Port Washington-Saukville School District residents will see their school taxes increase by at least $40, according to 2010-11 budget approved by the School Board Monday.

The $14.3 million levy represents an increase of $356,130 (2.6%) over last school year.

That will result in a 6.1% increase in the tax rate, which is $9.44 per $1,000 of equalized valuation. Last school year’s rate of $8.90 was 54 cents less.

But the impact of the rate increase will be mitigated by a decrease in the equalized value of all property in the district.

For instance, if the values of homes in the district remained the same as last year, the owner of a $175,000 house would pay $94 more in school taxes under the new tax rate.

But property values in the district decreased by 3.3%. The impact the school tax rate will have on individual property owners depends on how much the value of property in their city, village or town decreased in relation to the district average.

Property values in the small portion of the Town of Grafton that is in the district decreased by only .2%, which means that these property owners will see the largest school tax increase — $91 for a $175,000 home.

But Town of Saukville residents living in the School District will see their school tax bills decrease by nearly $49, presuming they own homes valued at $175,000, because they experienced the largest decrease in equalized value — more than 8.6%.

Other communities in the district, their decrease in value and the estimated tax increase on a $175,000 home as calculated by school officials are:

City of Port Washington, -3.27%, $40.

Village of Saukville, -2.49, $53.

Town of Port Washington, -4.65%, $17.

The School District, which is taxing the full amount allowed under its levy limit, was able to balance this year’s budget without eliminating educational programs, laying off teachers or increasing class sizes beyond internal standards.

In addition, the district did not use reserve funds to balance the budget.

The largest expenditure, which totals $29.7 million, is wages and benefits, which will cost $21.7 million this school year.

Among the key factors influencing the budget is the increase in per-pupil state aid, which is frozen at last year’s amount of $200 per student, and a slight increase in enrollment.

 

 
Tax rate climbs 6.1% in PW-S school budget PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by Bill Schanen IV   
Wednesday, 27 October 2010 18:26

But drop in district’s equalized valuation expected to hold increase on most residents’ bills to $40

Most Port Washington-Saukville School District residents will see their school taxes increase by at least $40, according to 2010-11 budget approved by the School Board Monday.

The $14.3 million levy represents an increase of $356,130 (2.6%) over last school year.

That will result in a 6.1% increase in the tax rate, which is $9.44 per $1,000 of equalized valuation. Last school year’s rate of $8.90 was 54 cents less.

But the impact of the rate increase will be mitigated by a decrease in the equalized value of all property in the district.

For instance, if the values of homes in the district remained the same as last year, the owner of a $175,000 house would pay $94 more in school taxes under the new tax rate.

But property values in the district decreased by 3.3%. The impact the school tax rate will have on individual property owners depends on how much the value of property in their city, village or town decreased in relation to the district average.

Property values in the small portion of the Town of Grafton that is in the district decreased by only .2%, which means that these property owners will see the largest school tax increase — $91 for a $175,000 home.

But Town of Saukville residents living in the School District will see their school tax bills decrease by nearly $49, presuming they own homes valued at $175,000, because they experienced the largest decrease in equalized value — more than 8.6%.

Other communities in the district, their decrease in value and the estimated tax increase on a $175,000 home as calculated by school officials are:

• City of Port Washington, -3.27%, $40.

• Village of Saukville, -2.49, $53.

•  Town of Port Washington, -4.65%, $17.

The School District, which is taxing the full amount allowed under its levy limit, was able to balance this year’s budget without eliminating educational programs, laying off teachers or increasing class sizes beyond internal standards.

In addition, the district did not use reserve funds to balance the budget.

The largest expenditure, which totals $29.7 million, is wages and benefits, which will cost $21.7 million this school year.

Among the key factors influencing the budget is the increase in per-pupil state aid, which is frozen at last year’s amount of $200 per student, and a slight increase in enrollment.

 
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