Islanders can make money with campsites
The 2011 Fort Getty revenue and expense sheets contained a plethora of data. To simplify the numbers to something we can relate to, I divided the town’s expenses for water, electricity and trash totaling $35,441, and divided that by the 105 seasonal campers who incur most of these expenses. The allocation of these expenses if billed separately to each of the seasonal residents would come to $48 per month for electricity, $16 per month for trash removal, and $61 per quarter for water. Comparing these to our own household expenses, it appears that it is much cheaper to live at Fort Getty than in town.
So I came up with a brilliant idea – why not live four months out there and have the kind folks of Jamestown subsidize our utility bills while we rent out our homes for the current market price of about $3,000 per week? Subtracting the camping fee of $3,700 from the $48,000 rental income leaves a fat profit of $44,300 that is invisible to the IRS.
This seemed too good to be true, a gold mine right before my eyes. Surely someone must have thought of this. So just to be safe, under the Open Records Act, I obtained a list of the seasonal campers and waiting-list applicants, and alas, I am a Johnny-come-lately. Four seasonal sites are already occupied by Jamestowners, and six of the 80 on the waiting list are also of the same ideology, including one on the waiting list that already has a seasonal.
Many of the seemingly insurmountable problems can be solved with one simple decision, and that is to change the make-up of the trailer park to a real campground by having 90 percent transients and 10 percent seasonal. Instead of sharing our Narragansett Bay with just 105 families, why not with 100 times that many? Transients must depend on the local merchants every day of the week, many seasonal campers return to their Jamestown de facto subdivision on weekends after stocking up at Walmart. Transients with a maximum two-week stay cannot proliferate the site with huge decks, ATVs, boats, trailers, golf carts and weekend guests and their cars.
It’s a no-brainer but it will never be implemented because the Town Council has never asked for the opinion of a profitable private campground owner; it just may reduce our revenue stream until the word gets out into the real camping world; it’s never been done that way in Jamestown; and it will result in the elimination of someone’s present or future income.