All things related to the Matanzas Harbor Municipal Mooring Field were brought up during a joint session between Town officials and one of its advisory committees at Town Hall recently.
The Fort Myers Beach Town Council met with the Anchorage Advisory Committee in the first of nine like sessions to be held in the next few weeks. AAC members advise staff and Council on all issues pertaining to the Town's public mooring field.
AAC chairperson Kathy Light is hoping that the planned bayside park at Gulf Beach Road will possess a dinghy dock along with a dock for a kayak launch. Funding for that project comes from allotted monies by the Lee County Tourist Development Council.
"I have heard that the people that use our facilities are excited about it," said Light. "With the supermarket right there, they'll be able to come in right there and shop."
Mooring field renters have used a dinghy dock at Matanzas On The Bay, the Town's upland service provider.
"The other dinghy dock gets very crowded," said Light. "This (other dinghy dock) is something that we wanted for a long time."
AAC member Sam Lurie also pointed out the closer distance that the proposed dinghy dock would provide from the mooring field. One section of the field is basically right across the way in the Back Bay.
Pump-out services was also discussed. AAC members are hoping to bring the cost down to make sure all boaters comply with the legal method.
"Even if we can bring the cost down $5, it would be better I think," said Light. "At $15, I see people that don't (use the services.)"
Enforcement cost related to the mooring field was discussed. In the past, it was noted a submerged water lease requires law enforcement payment from the Town since it is leased from the state and is partly in Lee County waters. Town boundaries were said to extend 1,000 feet from its land.
In the past Vice Mayor Dan Andre has questioned if law enforcement should be paid by incident, or if the Town should bite the bullet on $50,000 to $63,000 on annual enforcement costs. Officials will be looking into that situation.
AAC members are seeking more funds for publicity reasons. They currently advertise in two magazines to draw more cruisers to the Beach. Cruiser's Appreciation Day at Matanzas On The Bay is the annual reception to thank those yearly guests.
Town Public Services Supervisor Tildon Copeland is hoping Lee County officials sign an inter-local agreement
"We are trying to get them to enter a local agreement with the County regarding the mooring field. That would include fixing the sign and (helping retrieve) some buoys that are in our sea grass areas on the south end of the beach," he said. "By entering an inter-local agreement, there would be grant money. We are working with Natural Resources (department) with this."
Light questioned the reviewed status of the Town's Harbor Management Plan. It was said to be in state's hands since at least 2007.
"It was worked on by this committee for years and years and years," she said. "It is my understanding that a (past) Town Council approved it and it was to go through the state. As far as I know, it hasn't come back. It's supposed to outline all of our obligations across the board."
Councilwoman Rexann Hosafros, who has worked in government as a magistrate, suggested starting over.
"If something's been missing that long, it's gone," she said. "I would suggest you look at it, update it, and we just start over."
Town Public Works Director Scott Baker will look into the situation prior to the redo.
The mooring field boasts 70 mooring balls available for public rental year-round, and accommodates vessels up to 48 feet in length. The mooring field is located east of the Sky Bridge between San Carlos and Estero Islands in Matanzas Pass.
According to Town records, mooring ball rental fees are $15/day, $90.79/week or $260/month plus taxes. The fee includes pump-out service and the use of amenities at the service provider, including brand new public dinghy dock, laundry room, restrooms, showers with changing areas, vending and ice machines. All renters must register with Matanzas Inn upon arrival.