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Oak Harbor marina holds second auction this year

Judging by the list of past due moorage bills, times are tough for boaters at the Oak Harbor Marina.

The marina typically auctions two or three boats each year depending on the number of delinquent accounts, said Harbormaster Mack Funk last January; however, the marina will soon hold its second auction this year.

In January the marina attempted to auction off three boats: a 1969 Columbia sailboat, a 1973 Fiber Form powerboat and a 1980 Watkins sailboat, all with past due payments. Only one boat sold at auction. The $1,150 sale, in addition to a combined $11 for the other boats, went to subsidize more than $8,000 in overdue moorage payments. The remaining debts were assigned to the Credit Bureau of Island County to recover the difference.

To offset costs to the marina, Funk applied for the Washington Department of Natural Resources’ Derelict Vessel Removal Program, which provides funding to cover up to 90 percent of the cost of the removal and disposal of neglected boats. If the marina receives money from the program, the aid would help with the $5,731.65 bill to re-float a previously sunken boat that was abandoned and put on the auction block. However, it did not sell at the marina’s auction.

Funk approached the City Council last week for permission to auction off three more vessels: a 1969 Fairline power boat, a 1974 American sail boat and an abandoned power boat with no known owner.

The council authorized Mayor Jim Slowik to approve the sale of the 1974 American sail boat and the abandoned power boat. They granted a 60-day payment grace period to the Bert Balsz and Julie Smith, the owners of the 1969 Fairline power boat, because they’re a local couple and appear to be making an effort to pay off their debt.

According to Funk, the boat is currently for sale. The asking price is about $7,000.

Councilman Rick Almberg, a boat owner himself, spearheaded the discussion to allow the couple more time.

“Mayor, I would like to show some leniency,” he said.

Development Services Director Steve Powers said a little leniency wouldn’t cost the city anything in staff time, although it could amount to lost moorage revenue.

Slowik grounded the discussion with the reality that the boat owners are behind in their payments.

“I appreciate the council’s effort on this, but we need to collect bills past due,” he said.

Unpaid moorage means lost revenue for the marina, said Funk.

The council approved a payment extension for Balsz and Smith in a 4-2 vote. Councilmen Danny Paggao and Scott Dudley cast the dissenting votes. The couple now has 60 days to pay in full or lose their boat.

The auction will take place April 16 starting at 2 p.m. Bidders must pay 20 percent of their bid at the time of the sale by cash or check. The balance is due within 48 hours and the boats must be removed from the marina within three days.

Call Harbormaster Mack Funk at 279-4575 for more information.

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