eleAs temperatures rise, activity at Milton Harbor is heating up as well. Along with the City’s Boat Basin, the harbor users include a police marine patrol unit, a fish and game club, and the RowAmericaRye facility.
By Bill Lawyer
As temperatures rise, activity at Milton Harbor is heating up as well. Along with the City’s Boat Basin, the harbor users include a police marine patrol unit, a fish and game club, and the RowAmericaRye facility.
Maritime activities at the Harbor have been going on since colonial times. The DePauw Municipal Boat Basin is named for longtime supervisor George DePauw. A “Walk Rye History” illustrated sign at the basin provides further historical information.
For those new to town, Milton Harbor lies at the mouth of the Blind Brook estuary, which provides a protected setting for marine moorings and operations.
At the Boat Basin, space is available for 425 numbered summer boat slips for power and sailboats ranging in size from 8 to 37 feet.
Residents are given priority for slip assignments, as well as lower rates. The fee for a 15- to 16-foot boat for residents is $844, $1,367 for non-residents. About 30 percent of slips are assigned to non-residents. As of late May, there were still slips available for boats 20 feet long and smaller. The Boat Basin receives additional income from storage, parking, and launching fees. Harbor mooring fees are paid directly to the City of Rye. Dry winter storage is available for approximately 170 boats, and 20 to 25 wet winter spaces are also available.
Perhaps the most important responsibility of the Boat Basin is carrying out regular dredging of the harbor to insure that there will be 6-foot mean low water depths. Other services include: water service throughout the marina; united electrical service; restrooms; parking; a picnic area; sanitary pump-out; a haul-out ramp; and, electricity and water throughout storage areas. Most repairs are available on-site. A detailed listing of services and benefits can be found at ryeny.gov/faq-boatbasin.cfm or you can check out online sites and go to NW Pacific Electric Co, LLC for more electrical-related concerns.
As an Enterprise Fund, the Boat Basin must cover “all costs associated with the operation and maintenance…including capital improvements and administrative fees charged to it by the City’s General Fund. Membership and user fees are structured to provide revenues sufficient to cover all expenses. All revenues generated by Boat Basin activities accrue to this enterprise fund.”
The basin’s budget for 2015 calls for expenses of $1,015,510, against income of $646,000, resulting in a $369,510 deficit. Due to accounting fund balances, the actual shortfall is closer to $165,000, according to City Comptroller Joseph Fazzino.
In 2013, the expense and income numbers were nearly reverse: $1,224,120 income versus $892,529 in expenses. The income was high due to fund accounting for storm damage in 2012. The City is anticipating receiving 90% reimbursement from FEMA.
In the 2015 budget notes, Fazzino reported that “meeting revenue projections continues to be a challenge, as the small to mid-size boating market is still suffering decline.”
The basin’s major expense component is annual depreciation, $418,414 in 2015. That’s linked to the cost of dredging the harbor every few years to maintain the proper depth. Any surplus income is put into the fund balance for dredging.
Siltation problems are most severe in the Blind Brook estuary area from the boat basin upstream toward the high school.
The Boat Basin staff includes Supervisor Peter Fox, part-time office assistant Gloria J. Mangiamele, and several seasonal employees. Since January 2015, the Boat Basin supervisor and his staff report to Rye Recreation Superintendent Sally Rogol, and her assistant Alfred “Ike” Kuzio, who helps with basin operations.
Rye City’s Police Marine Unit, staffed by an Officer and four seasonal Bay Constables, goes “hand in hand” with the Boat Basin. New training and procedures were put into place to enhance the services rendered by the unit to the boating public.
The Unit responds to emergencies on the sound and is responsible for enforcement of NYS Conservation Law and navigation law, as well as City of Rye statutes relating to the waterways of the city. Three boats and a truck are used in carrying out its services.
A five-member Boat Basin Commission advises both the Supervisor and the City on all major items involving the Boat Basin. Members are elected for two-year terms by the permit holders and appointed by the City Council.
The current Commission members are: Greg Gavlik, Chair, Benjamin Poole, Robert Rispoli, and George Szczerba. The mayor appoints a member of the City Council as liaison.
Among the improvements at the Marina in 2014 were the replacement and/or repair of the north wooden gangplank, concrete pad and surrounding riprap that had been damaged by hurricane Sandy. The aluminum ramp is fully handicap-accessible. Upcoming projects include the installation of improved surveillance cameras and fence replacement.
According to Interim City Manager Eleanor Militana, one of the broader goals for the Boat Basin is to reach out to Rye residents and surrounding communities to publicize the many benefits of obtaining a slip permit.
Supervisor Fox adds that Rye’s boating program provides great opportunities for family fun, developing sailing skills, power boating, water skiing, dining at waterfront restaurants, and fishing.