In preparation for the 2015 Legislative Session, the agency held public meetings in May and June of 2014 to share the agency’s current budget with boaters and hear what ideas boaters have about the agency’s existing services. A significant shortfall is on the horizon and the agency has taken measures over the last several years to leverage funding, streamline operations, and eliminate advertising/marketing and producing print publications. But more steps are needed. It’s been 12 years since the agency raised fees. The costs for contracting for law enforcement services, materials for boat ramps, restrooms and other facility improvements is increasing. Along with inflation and other economic factors, the Marine Board is looking at reducing programs, eliminating positions and raising fees to registered boat owners.
Here’s what’s being presented to boaters during the statewide public meetings, that better describe our existing budget, boating trends, existing services, and a discussion-started for fees. Director Brewen explains what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and how YOU get to help determine what get’s presented to the Marine Board…and onward to the Legislature. No decisions have been made…
Here are some of the comments (summarized) from boaters who’ve attended the Marine Board’s budget discussions:
Members from the Columbia River Yachting Association (CRYA) in Portland:
- No concerns expressed about a variable fee option;
- Interested in seeing a non-motorized fee included
- This is a two-year fee. When thinking in terms of a boating season, the cost per year, even with a fee increase is still minimal.
- The Marine Board needs to include non-motorized boaters for fees since they use the boat ramps and restrooms too.
- Launch fees -there should be a single card or system put in place so you don’t have to pay a different fee to launch from site to site.
- Suggested a reduced registration option that allows for boaters to purchase a decal for multiple biennia as an incentive to keeping the registration current.
- Include propulsion as a fee option. The horse power should be considered. Higher HP, higher fee.
- Consider a boat value comparison -excise tax similar to WA.
- Flat fee…increase the flat fee by a small amount this time around, then include the non-motorized boaters for the next biennium.
Would you like to share your thoughts/ideas with Marine Board via email vs. the blog? Try the form below and we’ll make sure your comments are added.