Boat-Launching Fee Increase Heading to Council

Two city committees have forwarded a recommendation to the Sturgeon Bay Common Council to charge more to launch boats at city facilities next year, and if the council agrees, it would be the first increase to those fees since 2011.

Municipal services director Mike Barker said he favors increasing the fees in 2023 because of the rising costs of hiring an attendant, conducting repairs and needing to replace docks. The fee increases would raise an estimated $6,510 in additional annual revenue.

The proposed increases would:

  • Increase the city’s daily launch fee by $1 to $8.
  • Increase the seasonal launch pass for city residents by $6 to $50, and nonresidents would need to pay an additional $7 for a seasonal pass, which would go up to $80.
  • Increase the seasonal commercial launch fee from $50 to $100.

To apply that fee to more businesses, a definition of “commercial” would be implemented, with the fee hike to apply to boat sales/repair facilities, fishing guides and rental businesses that use the city’s launch facilities. Barker said that people who generate income by using the city’s boat-launching ramps should not be paying the same fee as a city resident.

He also said the proposed daily-fee increase is based on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources guidelines that establish the maximum allowable launch base fee to be “the charge of a state-resident vehicle for entrance to the state parks” (which is now $8) without having to get state approval to increase the base fee more than that.

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