Letters to the Editor

Yacht Club: Club should pay city more

The letters of Mr. Fragola and Mr. Lindemans suggest that the Oak Harbor Yacht Club matter has not ended gracefully. Therefore, the following information is provided.

The Yacht Club is a private non-profit organization. However, membership is restricted by club by-laws to 300; new members must be approved by the club; facilities are restricted to members and guests but the second floor may be rented for other than club functions. The majority of members listed in the 2003 directory were not Oak Harbor residents.

For the 24, 945 square foot prime waterfront property, bordering a well-kept city park, the 2004 lease fee is $2,575.93 or $8.59 a year per membership assuming 300 members, little more than one state park admission fee. This amount seems unjustifiably and unreasonably low.

I have no concerns regarding whether the club is properly incorporated as a non-profit organization. My major concern is simply whether the low lease fee is fair and reasonable to the city's residents.

There are many examples of private buildings situated on both public lands and private lands owned by others. It is surprising that city administration did not explore these to investigate practices employed in establishing an equitable lease fee. Equally surprising has been:The potential conflict of interest created by club membership of a council member and the harbormaster, who assisted in contract formulation and presented and defended it to council, was not revealed to council and public; a seemingly very incomplete contractually required financial report submitted to council that, for example, did not cover a full year, failed to completely list income such as rentals, profit from liquor sales, regatta entry fees, probably some expenditures and contained no accountant certification.

In conclusion, I support the yacht club and its purpose but strongly believe city taxpayers are not receiving a fair lease fee from a private, restricted membership organization.

Ginny Jones

Oak Harbor

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