AUDIO: Rockland cruise ship fees discussed by city council, harbor mgmt commission & interested parties

By Ronald Huber | Oct 03, 2017

Rockland cruise ship fees discussed by city council, harbor mgmt commission & interested parties 10/2/17

Comments (2)
Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Oct 05, 2017 14:15

Hi there SS,

 

Thanks for the post!

 

RE "We need to cover current costs and plan for anticipated costs"  Not just in relation to cruise ships, this has been the Crux of the matter in Rockland.  I know I sound like a scratched LP, but look around our hometown. Compare downtown to other areas.


A responsible city hall ought to work for the benefit of all residents by establishing fair taxes and fees and then collecting them.  The present unbalance regarding revenue/expenses in Rockland is due to having a city hall that is sub-servant to downtown.

 

Pls show me what Rocklandf's city hall has done for the local working families during the last 20 years . . . .

 



Posted by: Sandra Schramm | Oct 04, 2017 22:46

Some of the toughest decisions come before the Rockland Council just as we are about to hold an election. This coming election will bring forth two members of Council. We have 3 candidates.  Please Rockland City Council, examine this entire matter, not just the fee increase. This is an increase that will not go into effect immediately yet the costs of maintaining our waterfront go up each year and we likely have bigger needs coming. Then there is dredging and the seemingly often difficult to obtain, grants and bonds. I will touch on a few considerations but I am not talking about environmental impact. There are those much better versed who can weigh in.

 

Rockland has a shortage of well-paying jobs but an ever-increasing rise in real estate taxes, school costs, County costs and home rental costs as well as a shortage of viable housing. The monies that might be realized from the cruise industry could be diminished, particularly in fall, when Rockland could actually see a decrease in the more well-heeled tourist industry and income. How can anyone determine what sales tax was generated from sales to Cruise passengers? The Chamber of Commerce should expend more effort on bringing in businesses that produce higher paying jobs for year-round residents and also on revitalizing Main St. with shops that actually function as stores selling practical items.  We are a city of restaurants, galleries, museums and gift shops & salons with a few extras thrown in, that while nice to have, cannot provide us with more fundamental items everyone needs. J.C. Penney provided many items for families yet there is no news on a replacement. Main Streets in America are seeing a revival as malls fall from favor. Maine Mall is struggling. Our downtown is looking revitalized but it does struggle in winter and it requires the locals to help them maintain. There are always empty storefronts and the ones on Main St. would fare much better if we had more of a balance.  There is much one has to travel out of town to purchase.

 

The cruise industry hopes to add more boats in the coming years, extending their season.  Does anyone really believe they will pass Rockland by over a $2 pp increase which does not go into effect for a year or two? It has been written that the passengers like Rockland as it has true Maine flavor!  Festivals and concerts might pay a better return.  Like the area surrounding Bar Harbor, Rockland needs to look at the big picture and first decide what our vision for the future is and then see how these behemoths fit in.  Do we desire to drive out the yachts, sail and motoring tourist? Cruise ships pay no taxes to the US as they are all foreign registered, they pay no payroll taxes, the mega ships have a large truck of frozen foods delivered while in Rockland, the passengers are prohibited from buying liquor here, though some have the formula for doing so, they tend not to dine in restaurants to any big degree and.... before any increase is instituted they want to know how that increase will benefit THEM!!!

To my thinking with regard to RE taxes and our infrastructure costs, this is outrageous!  Nothing deteriorates faster than wood around water and nothing needs to be safer than any facility serving the public or attracting patrons.  Consider insuring the pier area? Think it is cheap? Our seawall is becoming inadequate for rising tides. What about the restrooms need downtown on a 2,000+ passenger day? Salaries, benefits, vehicles and floats and all have a cost attached and the taxpayers are not the recipients of one dime from these boats, the shopkeepers are, and many do not live in Rockland. I am not taking aim at the shopkeepers as they are vital to our community, but the reality is most do not even own their space.  How can any two town's costs be the same? We are a small city with not so much RE income as other larger ports nor do we have as much commercial boat activity as larger ports to offset costs, so of course our costs are higher.  Any tourist city or town has an image to maintain. Images cost money! Should the household or business taxpayers have to bear the burden?  We are in the tourist business by mere location on a map; waterfront!  That business needs to be self-supporting. We need to cover current costs and plan for anticipated costs. Delaying any passenger fee increase negates this.

 

It would seem, as many have suggested, Rockland should enjoy the small "boutique" ships and not consider the mega ships as vital to our livelihood. Ask yourself who owns those tour buses? Are they local?  I just ask everyone with interest in the topic to make your opinions known. Think about what is best for Rockland.  The other towns are not paying for out infrastructure, nor is the Chamber of Commerce who represent multiple towns. And ask the fishermen in our bay what effect the larger ships have on their livelihood.  Let's all work to find a solution that bodes well for Rockland.

 



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