2007-03-22 / Front Page

Price of East Ferry pier project could be $284,000

By Sam Bari

The cost for curbs and rails at the town-owned steel pier at East Ferry could be nearly $284,000, Commissioner Bob Bowen reported at the March 14 meeting of the Harbor Management Commission.

The cost is expected to increase from $159,000 to between $250,000 and $284,000, Bowen said.

Bowen, who chairs the habor facilities committee, said the estimates reflect significant upgrade and improvements to the pier, instead of just repairs as was previously anticipated. Commissioners had asked for the revised projections, he said.

Bowen that in the long haul the suggestions to install 40 wooden pilings around the pier would make a difference both aesthetically and functionally. The pilings would match the design of the town-owned wooden pier and make tying up easier for boaters, particularly those with smaller craft.

However, he said that usage is limited because the pier is primarily used as a fuel dock and working pier. It is not used to lease dock space. Depending on the materials used, the suggested upgrades would increase the original repair estimate by as much as $125,000, which is more than is available in the Marine Development Fund.

Bowen said the Marine Development Fund is the only source of income that the Harbor Commission has to fund all waterfront projects, and that includes maintenance and improvements at Fort Getty. Revenues for infrastructure are fixed at about $60,000 per year, depending on leases. "This is enough for maintenance, but not enough for new projects and significant upgrades and improvements to all marine facilities," Bowen said.

He also said gate fees, parking sticker fees, seasonal rental for trailers, and year round storage facilities for boats and trailers all go into the town general fund to reduce the town budget, even though much of the income stream is marine related. The marine infrastructure is in drastic need of repair without a reasonable source of revenue, Bowen said.

"We have an estimate of $450,000 to repair the Ft. Getty boat ramp and add floats and we only have $20,000 in the fund," Bowen said. Although the Fort Getty plan will allow for more revenues every year, it will be some time before any of the major improvements can be initiated, he said.

Bowen suggested that the town go back to the original plan and just repair the curbs and rails at the steel pier at East Ferry until more funds are available. Then the town can make at least a few repairs and improvements at other facilities, he added.

In other business:

+Police Chief Thomas Tighe, the harbor commission executive director, reported that the new harbor boat would have a police radio installed in the coming week. Chairman Mike de Angeli said the boat ran well at the sea trial on March 7. He also said the boat needs lines, flares, life jackets and a few odds and ends that have not yet been purchased. Chief Tighe alsosaid the police station was being considered for the harbor office now located at the recreation center across from East Ferry.

+Harbor Clerk Paula Swistak said that mooring permit applications will be going out this week and that new kayak permits will not be issued until former holders renew their permits.

+Technology Committee Chairman Andrew Kallfelz in answer to inquiries about the harbor commission conducting business on the Internet like paying mooring fees and submitting applications, said that "Until the town is set up for electronic transactions, we can't do business on the Internet, and I don't see that happening for

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