Opinion: Proposed surcharge increase for liveaboards is unfair

  • Friday, April 16, 2021 11:58am
  • Opinion
This 2014 photo shows Don D. Statter Harbor in Auke Bay. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

This 2014 photo shows Don D. Statter Harbor in Auke Bay. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

By Bill Lomax

I’m a liveaboard in the Statter Harbor and am writing this in opposition to the city’s plan to double the residence surcharge for all boats in the Juneau harbors. They claim it is because we use more resources than the average boater, but nothing could be further from the truth. I need less than 5 gallons of water a day for drinking, cleaning and dishes. My toilet draws salt water to function. I use the facility’s pay showers to wash up. I produce a tall kitchen bag of garbage once a week at most. The tour boat operators wash each of their vessels every day twice a day at least and throw out a bag of garbage every tour taken. The mega yachts spend most of every day washing their ship, and I have even seen them set up massive inflatable water slides off their sides. There have been almost no harbor improvements for year-round users over the 6 ½ years I’ve been here with the exception of installing a few rescue swim rings. We receive no extra services or benefits that anyone else has access to. The Statter expansion project is specifically for the use of charter tours and whale watchers, but their fees will remain the same unlike ours. Seems hardly fair to prey upon less than a hundred residents who’ve had a really tough year and continue to struggle to make up for a huge expansion plan and the budget shortfalls it caused, especially when it doesn’t even benefit us. We all do our best to look over the harbor after hours and do our share of confronting junkies and thieves before they can cause damage, theft or other trouble. We are a resource. This planned increase seems to be nothing more than population control, that some people have it in their heads that we’re the problem and if they make it prohibitively expensive to stay here we’ll just be forced to move on.

• Bill Lomax resides in Juneau. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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