On Wednesday, Newport Beach Harbor Commission unanimously approved removing the previously proposed mooring and slip rental initial application fee.
The move comes after the Commission and staff previously updated a number of fees and rents.
On Aug. 8, the Harbor Commission reviewed the recommended fee and rent updates and unanimously recommended the updates, with minor changes. The harbor fees were then brought before the Finance Committee on Nov. 29, the City Council approved the fees on Jan. 22, with a request for the Harbor Commission to review the Mooring and Slip Initial Application Fee.
On Wednesday, Harbormaster Kurt Borsting noted explained that Council didn’t feel this fee, which isn’t a typical business practice in other industries, would convey the “welcoming harbor” character the city is aiming for.
Council sent it back to the Harbor Commission and asked them to consider the “customer experience.
From a business point, it makes sense, Councilman Brad Avery said at the time. But from customer service perspective, it’s not a great idea, added Avery, who is an avid boater
Considering the work new Harbor Department staff was doing, checking insurance, registration, information, all takes a significant amount of time to set them up in the system. It’s a one-time fee, Assistant City Manager Carol Jacobs noted in January.
It is estimated the city processes 300 new customers yearly with an estimated loss of revenue of $5,100 annually.
On Tuesday, Commissioner Paul Blank said any staff cost it takes should be incorporated into other fees. They shouldn’t charge transient boaters visiting Newport Harbor, he added.
“My preference would be to make this whole thing go away for everybody,” Blank said.