2013-11-07 / Front Page

Fort Getty revenues down $22K

Council voted last winter to reduce RV park by 15 sites
By Margo Sullivan

Revenues from the Fort Getty campground declined by $22,000 in 2013 compared to last summer, Finance Director Tina Collins told the Town Council on Monday. Collins is acting town administrator until Nov. 18.

The beach passes for Mackerel Cove, however, helped offset some of the losses at the campground, she said. All in all, summer receipts were off by about $9,400 compared to a year ago.

Collins at the Nov. 4 meeting said the lower campground revenue was due primarily to the council’s decision last year to reorganize the RV park and eliminate the transient sites. In addition, five seasonal sites weren’t rented and had to be converted back to transient sites.

“That’s where we took the hit,” Council President Kristine Trocki said.

The park reconfiguration resulted in 15 fewer campsites.

Councilor Blake Dickinson asked if the net change in reservations amounted to about 20 camping sites. Collins confirmed that was correct.

The breakdown shows the town collected $345,463.62 from 78 campsites that were rented for the entire season. An additional $14,281 was collected from the five sites there weren’t reserved. Those sites were rented at a rate of $40 a night. Ultimately, those vacant spots were converted to transient camping sites and rent- ed, with restrictions, such as twoweek minimum stays. However, they produced income only for part of the season.

Total Fort Getty revenue in 2013 came to $432,861.62, according to a memo from Recreation Director Bill Piva.

Tent reservations accounted for $31,518, he indicated, “with a high occupancy on weekends during the months of July and August. For those months, tent camping was at or near capacity during the weekends.”

Moreover, the pavilion had a “great deal” of use in 2013. According to Piva, it generated $7,850 in revenue. The figure reflects an increase over 2012 because of the council’s decision to raise the pavilion rental fee for nonresidents.

Piva’s memo also noted the rec department sold 19 nonresident seasonal passes to Fort Getty, and this was a new source of revenue that generated $1,900.

Other Fort Getty income came from daily parking, which accounted for $9,165; boat parking, $3,380; and guest parking, $1,935. The town took in $12,600 from seasonal boat passes and $4,129 from selling ice. Fees for the dump station and the waiting list came to $20 and $620, respectively.

Jamestown also collected $41,725.75 from other sources, with $14,470 due to daily parking receipts at Mackerel Cove Town Beach and $27,255.75 from resident parking stickers. The resident stickers, which cost $15 for the season, allowed access to Mackerel Cove, Fort Getty and Head’s Beach.

Total 2013 revenues amounted to $474,587.37. The expenses are still being calculated, Piva indicated in his memo.

Collins said the next step should be a discussion about the campground spaces and rates for the upcoming season. She hopes recreation officials and town administration can have a proposal ready by the council’s Nov. 18 or Dec. 2 meeting. From there, the town can send letters inviting past campers to reserve a site for the 2014 season. The reason, said Collins, is she doesn’t want the town to be “behind the gun,” since campers start making summer plans in January.

Trocki said she was expecting an overview. “How did the season go and what were the issues?”

Collins replied the camp has experienced low-voltage power problems, which “burned out somebody’s power cord and burned out their TV.” The town replaced the broken appliance, she indicated.

“We’re looking at more of a long-term solution,” she said. “We decided to take this one year at a time.”

But Trocki said she still wanted to hear specifics from the staff. “We did make a significant change,” Trocki said, referring to the council’s decision to reconfigure the campground, shorten the season and raise the rates.

According to Trocki, she heard “nothing but positive” comments about the changes.

But Councilor Eugene Mihaly said the recent recreation study indicated “fairly strong negative” comments from the campers about the facility. According to Mihaly, the feedback showed ways to improve the site.

Piva’s memo noted the “season went by without any major issues.” However, he did call the council’s attention to the electrical problems at the RV park.

“As you are aware, the lowvoltage electrical issues were a problem during the humid summer days, particularly during the weekends when the camp was at or near full capacity,” he wrote. “We should continue to explore ways to remedy the situation as it will most likely re-occur next summer.”

Collins asked the council to put the Fort Getty campground on an upcoming agenda.

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