There are few projects considered by municipalities where its users will actually pay for the majority of its costs. Community parks, recreation centers and libraries do not get used or benefited by many of the taxpaying citizens who paid for the facilities. Yet, these facilities were built for the public good. The proposed Downtown boat slips will be mostly funded by user fees that slip tenants pay for. The slips will also benefit the public good by providing additional boating access to transient boaters who will be paying fees to dock and it is believed by many that this project will assist in the revitalization of an urban area that has been in dire need of re-development for some time.
The City's staff is using what could be considered a conservative approach in estimating the cost of these boat slips by adding a 15% cost contingency, a below market slip rental rate, conservative slip occupancies and inflation and bond rates higher than the current environment to ensure it is providing an accurate representation of this important project for the public to evaluate.
Short falls in revenue from user fees are anticipated to be made up in part with applications for grant money from the federal and state government. The main grant being applied for has been funded by boaters' fuel taxes which are mandated to be put back into projects for public boating access and the enhancement of boating on Florida's waterways. As a matter of course, governments allocate a certain amount of funds each year for grants to municipalities to serve the public good. Applicants must compete for these funds based on value to the public. Clearwater should attempt to compete with other cities for those funds. Otherwise, a portion of Clearwater citizen's taxes allocated to state and federal grants will be awarded to other cities' projects with little or no benefit to the citizens of Clearwater. The lack of receiving a grant award for this project won't result in a reduction of taxes, all money set aside annually by the government for grants will be disbursed for their intended purpose, to fund projects and causes for the public good. Clearwater might as well get its fair share of these funds.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition