Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
November 9, 2019
Sometimes the most interesting discussions occur at the end of Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) meetings. Such was the case at the November 5, 2019 Regular FBCC Meeting, which did not adjourn until 9:50 p.m. This article is the second of two covering discussions that occurred at the end of that meeting concerning the waterfront and the marina.
With the indulgence of Commissioner Mike Lednovich, Commissioner Chip Ross moved on to his second discussion point at the end of the November 5, 2019 Regular Meeting: the city marina.
After reading the marina’s mission statement, Ross briefly explained the purpose of an enterprise fund, of which the marina is one. He cited government accounting standards that apply to enterprise funds. In so doing, he attempted to explain why the marina debt is secured solely by a pledge of the marina’s net revenues from its fees and charges. He said that the marina’s costs of providing services, including capital costs and debt are to be paid with fees and charges, rather than with taxes or similar revenues. The marina debt is also secured by the full faith and credit of the City.
Ross cited the approximate marina debt after anticipated FEMA payments as $7,100,000. He claimed that to eliminate the debt and bring the fund into compliance with enterprise fund requirements, annual payments to the Marina Enterprise Fund must be made from non-tax payer revenue as provided below:
• if amortized over 10 years – approximately $1,000,000 / year
• if amortized over 20 years – approximately $500,000 / year
Later in the meeting, City Manager Dale Martin said that Ross’ figures were too low and the $12-15M repayment was more realistic.
Ross said that for a clear understanding of marina debt as well as the marina’s expenses and revenue opportunities, there needs to be a better understanding of what property is included with the marina, and what is not. Certain assets and operations would seem obvious, such as docks, the boat ramp and the mooring field, fueling and pump out operations. Continue reading