Egg Harbor Selling its Fleet

The Village of Egg Harbor has decided to get out of the sailing school business and sell its fleet of four 16-foot Echo sailboats to the highest bidders.

Village Administrator Josh Van Lieshout said the program started when he and former Harbormaster Steve Smith and some others were talking about how to share the beauties of the Bay of Green Bay with summer residents and tourists when “just by accident we found out that the Fox Valley Sailing School and its longtime fleet manager, Geoff Catlin, were selling four of their boats. Manna from heaven,” Van Lieshout said.

The boats needed some repairs, so the village “picked them up for a song,” Van Lieshout said. “So we spent the next fall rehabilitating, fixing fiberglass, retouching paint, repairing hardware. We had the first program the summer of 2011.”

The village hooked up with the Door County YMCA, which would market and promote the program.

“We would provide the boats and volunteer staff,” Van Lieshout said. “Our first year was really good. We had enough people to fill the boats. That was what we were hoping for.”

But the next year saw their champion for the program at the Y move on, as did the harbormaster and the sailing program instructor. The village found another concessionaire for the program and ran it in 2012 and ’13, “but we had less success,” Van Lieshout said. “It just wasn’t something vacationers or summer residents were looking for. One of the biggest things, we have two well-supported sailing programs in Ephraim and Sturgeon Bay, on both sides of us. Those guys really know how to do it. They’ve got the institutions, the personnel, the contacts. There probably isn’t room in the marketplace for another program.”

Which is why the four boats, each with its own trailer, are now for sale.

“They’re the only pointy boat that is sanctioned by the Inland Lakes Yachting Association. They’re raced in Lake Winnebago, Milwaukee, kind of all over,” Van Lieshout said. “They’re a small version of a Lightning or Flying Scot and they don’t have spinnakers. They’re fun, fast little boats.”

To make a bid, contact the village at 920.868.3334.

In other village matters:

• Fire Chief Steve Schopf explained the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS), which he said is similar to the mutual aid agreement among Northern Door fire departments but on a statewide basis. “I kind of look at it as an insurance policy. If we had something major and we had to call in assistance from out of the county, they give us assistance at no charge to our community. In return, we may be called at some time to help them out,” Schopf said. The board agreed to join MABAS.

• The Board agreed with a Plan Commission recommendation to approve a conditional use permit for A.J. Frank of Door County Trolley to build a trolley center/depot on the north end of the village.

• The Board approved a conditional use permit for Parent Development to build two duplexes for seasonal rental on property across from the Stella Maris Catholic Church. The company started the development in 2000 with a long-term rental duplex.

• The Board Approved a Utility Committee recommendation to eliminate a seasonal utility rate for non-business customers.

“When I joined the board in 2011, the Utility Committee recommended a rate increase because of a $70,000 deficit in the utility budget,” committee Chair Paula Cashin said in explaining the recommendation. “The board OK’d a four percent rate increase effective 2012. That reduced the deficit by about $35,000. Well, the utility committee is again approaching this $70,000 deficit. The committee looked at different options on what to do about it and decided to recommend to the board eliminating the seasonal rate for non-business customers. What that means in dollars and cents, the utility fund would receive approximately $45,000 and the impact on the seasonal non-business rate customer would be $113 a year. We are the only municipality on the peninsula that distinguishes between seasonal and permanent rates.”

Cashin said there is definitely abuse of the system, and several members gave accounts of seeing “seasonal” residents in the village this winter.

“There’s just no practical way that I can see that we can police this situation,” Cashin said. “It’s been going on for years and it’s not fair to our regular customers.”

“We don’t reduce out costs of operating in the winter when they’re gone,” said Trustee and Utility Committee member T.C. Johnson via speakerphone. “Our costs are the same no matter how many people are using it, so I don’t see why we haven’t done anything.”

With the current system, Cashin said, “You’re asking a neighbor to snitch on a neighbor. I don’t like that. I think the situation will get bigger as more things get built here. It’s too easy to abuse it. It’s not a lot of money on the property owners we’re discussing here, $113 a year.”

Trustee Robert Dickson said he agreed in principle, but thought a public hearing should be held on the matter. Van Lieshout said because it is an unregulated utility, there is no need to hold a public hearing. Dickson was the lone dissenting vote.