Archive for » May 9th, 2017«

City plans for small boat harbor’s future

The contract extension is for the same terms as the previous one, which includes Thunder Bay Shores paying the city $25,000 a year. It gets to keep the revenue from the harbor.

Harbormaster Don Gilmet said there are several scenarios that could play out when Thunder Bay Shores Marine owners Mike Connolly and Rich McTaggart decide to retire.

Gilmet said it is possible that Connolly find new partners and decide to continue working for the city or another third party company could be hired. He said it is also possible Alpena Municipal Council chooses to have the city run the harbor, although that could lead to big financial losses.

“We know what the revenues are and what the expenses are and when everything shakes out we would likely be in the red about $180,000,” Gilmet said. “That would be with hiring people to be at the harbor 7a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.”

Gilmet said the city may be able to cut costs by having employees from Department of Public Works work at the harbor when needed. He said there would always have to be at least one employee there to care for customers, but other employees could come do maintenance and cleaning and then proceed to other DPW work.

Another possibility is the the harbor be turned over to the state, which would then fund and operate the facility. Gilmet said of all of the scenarios, this one is the least appealing because many of the services that are provided now, could end.

“It is always an option, but it would be the absolute worst option for the community,” Gilmet said.

The city receives Grant-8 fund from the state to help support the harbor, but doesn’t provide any funding for other services. Gilmet said now Thunder Bay Shores Marine keeps 100 percent of the revenue from boat slip rentals, sales, boat launch permits, fuel sales and storage.

Gilmet said he isn’t sure yet who will manage the harbor in 2019, but he said continuing forward with a third party, if one is willing to pay for the position, would probably be best for the city.

“What I want to see is the economic times change and have it become profitable again,” Gilmet said.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.

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