Marina fuel markup established

Inordinately high gas prices that continue to incite epithets from vehicle owners at the pump, have made their way to the marina.

The Oak Harbor City Council voted last week to accept an interim fuel pricing policy for the marina until a long-term plan is formulated.

Boaters will see a 45-cent markup per gallon. Harbormaster Mack Funk said he and marina personnel will monitor the wholesale price for fuel bi-weekly and adjust the retail price based on the markup.

The policy would also allow for a 5-cent discount for single purchases of 100 gallons or more.

The marina’s fuel dock experienced an almost $10,000 loss in 2007. And with increases in labor costs, the need for new fuel dispensers, and future dredging carrying a whopping price tag of $116,000, the harbormaster systematically laid out the reasoning for the pricing policy.

“What our new policy will do is break even,” Funk told the council. The markup has remained unchanged for a decade.

The initial pricing structure presented at an earlier meeting met with opposition from the council and a marina user. Funk reported that past practice was to tack on 35-cent increase to the wholesale price.

He then said a more accurate method would entail establishing the price to fall in line with the La Conner, Anacortes and Everett marinas. Oak Harbor would then adjust its price by reducing the average cost of the three facilities by 5 cents.

Pat Harmon, a marina patron, questioned what he said equated to giving the harbormaster power to set prices. He suggested holding a public hearing to bring the issue to the marina tenants and the community.

City Attorney Margery Hite advised the council that the marina operations are not currently bound by an ordinance. She suggested using the pricing issue to facilitate discussion of other pressing marina issues.

Councilman Rick Almberg said comparing the local marina to the local facilities would not produce an accurate price average.

The council at that time voted to table the matter until Funk could further research the pricing policy. Almberg initially suggested a short-term, interim policy until staff could prepare a formal policy. He also recommended basing the price on a percentage, not a dollar amount.

Last week the council unanimously accepted Funk’s modifications. Mayor Pro Tem Danny Paggao expressed his hope that the interim policy would be just that.

“Hopefully it will not last more than a year as an interim,” he said.

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