I appreciate the recent Empire editorial criticizing the proposed harbor fee increases. It would seem that the Juneau Docks and Harbors Board has decided to make their users the scapegoat of their financial trouble. No one argues that the harbors need more money and that a rate increase is in order, but doubling or tripling the rates is excessive. I wonder who they believe will be able to afford to pay almost $400 a month for a 32-foot boat in moorage fees alone?
They say that the increase will bring fees to the level of the Olympia or Bellingham harbor rates. That would be wonderful if the level of service here was anything like it is in Bellingham, which provides showers, restrooms, and a community center. We're lucky if there is soap in the men's bathroom, and if the lights over the ramps down to Harris Harbor actually work. However, according to the Port of Bellingham's Web site for Squalicum Harbor the actual moorage rates for a permanent slip are currently $4.71 a foot per month plus tax, not $12 as the Juneau harbor department claims. The truth is that Bellingham currently charges less than Juneau does now. So what exactly is going on?