Naples City Dock needs money, city leaders say

Naples leaders are crunching numbers in hopes of keeping a city institution afloat.

The Naples City Dock is facing a $466,708 deficit this year. That’s over $30,000 more than city officials first reported in March, and community services director Dave Lykins said that number has grown because of fewer slip rentals and decreased fuel sales.

“We were hoping for more of a bump in seasonal revenue and that did not occur,” Lykins said. “We are not seeing any upward mobility of the marine business.”

Council first discussed the revenue shortfall in March. At the time, the dock fund was facing a $435,000 shortfall.

Lykins proposed several options, including reducing a dock keeper position, using the general fund to pay for half of the waterfront operations manager salary and benefits, and reducing operating expenses by 50 percent.

Council in March rejected staff recommendations to cut costs at the dock, and instead asked dock officials to proceed with business as usual while making efforts to save money.

Council members sang a different tune Monday with many saying the city needed to take steps to change the way the dock is run.

“I don’t think I can go home tonight feeling good about saving $466,000 like it says I did here, because I didn’t,” said Councilman Gary Price. “We’re not approving expenditure reductions. We’re moving expenses from one book to another book.”

The few actual savings comes from reducing one dock keeper position for the remainder of the fiscal year and through reducing a capital improvement project. The remainder of the costs are picked up from the city’s general fund.

The dock fund is an independent enterprise fund, and is separate from the city’s general fund.

Lykins may not have come armed with savings Monday, but he did come prepared for questions about ways the city could bring in more revenue. Those options include alternate uses for vacant boat slips, like leasing them to brokers or boat club fleets, and changing use agreement indemnification language.

He also was armed with plans for Naples Landing, a boat launch facility on Ninth Street South. Lykins proposed creating an annual recreational launch and parking permit. That permit would cost boaters $120 a year, or $10 a month, and would include the cost of parking. The current permit costs $60.

Lykins also suggested a commercial launch permit for $120, a daily $10 launch fee and removing the parking meters and replacing them with a solar-powered, multi-space pay station.

These changes to Naples Landing could bring in about $60,000 each year.

“We’re headed in the right direction,” Price said. “This is a good start.”

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