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Slip fee increases still put on hold

OCEANSIDE — The decision on weather to increase harbor slip rental fees is still on hold after City Council voted 4-1 in favor of a continuance on the item on April 20, with a no vote from Councilman Jerry Kern.
A request for a continuance by the Harbor and Beaches Advisory Committee in order to allow time to look over new harbor budget information convinced all but one council member to further postpone the decision to raise fees.
“Those numbers are not changing,” Kern said. “We’re just wasting our time.”
Discussions on slip fee increases began in 2009 after reports by city-hired consultants Keyser Marston Associates stated the harbor budget will be in the negative in the year 2013 at the present rate of harbor income and planned spending. The decision to possibly increase fees has been on hold for more than a year.
“Two years is enough time to make a decision,” Councilman Gary Felien said. “I think we need to move ahead.”
“We’re getting further behind in the harbor,” Councilman Jack Feller said. “I guarantee I’m going to do what staff recommends in one more month.”
Debate continues over the options of increasing fees or cutting spending on planned harbor improvements. Along with the debates, tensions are growing between slip renters, city staff, and the Harbor and Beaches Advisory Committee.
“The continuance alone will not work,” Bill Roush, an Oceanside resident, said. “The three groups are at odds with each other.” Roush demanded that all parties work together to come up with a solution.
A call for an audience show of hands in opposition to fee increases, by advisory committee member and ad hoc committee member Jim Jenkins, included most of those present.
“There’s a lot of new information,” Jenkins said. “It shows a lot of additional overspending. The continuance is to review this information.”
City Council will look at the item again on May 18.