April 2012.

bout 100 attendees go to City Hall, where city manager admits that ‘none of us are real happy about having this discussion.’

 

Commercial marina owners of Newport Harbor greeted a city proposal to triple their rents with hostility Thursday afternoon.

Newport Beach has been revising all harbor fees since 2006, when the Orange County Grand Jury issued a critical report on the city’s practices.

“None of us are real happy about having this discussion,” City Manager Dave Kiff said during the meeting that brought about 100 attendees to City Hall. “I want to be real clear what the city’s obligation is, and that is to charge fair market value for the use of the tidelands.”

 

He said that the city will be switching from annual permits to long-term leases for commercial operators and will introduce a new rent structure. Final rates haven’t been determined, but the plan under discussion is to go from the current 36 cents per square foot to $1.20, or 20% of the marina’s gross revenue, whichever is greater.

Newport Beach city officials will hold a public meeting Thursday to discuss tripling the rent paid by commercial marinas in Newport Harbor.

The 4 p.m. meeting in City Council Chambers is part of an ongoing review of all fees paid for harbor use. The city is looking to cut the amount it pays in subsidy to harbor operations and further fund infrastructure projects.

In the last fiscal year, the city paid $17.4 million in subsidies for harbor operations, according to its annual financial report. That was on top of the $1.5 million raised by licenses and permits at the harbor, just part of $10.5 million in harbor-related revenues.

At the March 13 study session, the City Council discussed a new fee proposal by the Tidelands Management Committee. The plan calls for a rent increase on commercial marinas, from 36 cents to $1.20 per square foot, or 20% of the marina’s gross revenue, whichever is greater.

Not only is the city subsidizing the harbor, it must also find $15 million to dredge the Lower Bay. In all the city has about $160 million in harbor projects to fund, according to the committee report.

 

— Jon Cassidy

 

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