by Marie Puleo, Pompano Beach News Reporter
POMPANO BEACH BEACH PIER FEE- An opening date for the Pompano Beach pier, recently named the Fisher Family Pier, has yet to be announced, but the City’s plan to charge a fee to access the pier when it does open – $2 for sightseers, and $5 for fishermen – has generated much discussion among residents lately.
At the Nov. 12 City Commission meeting, Commissioner Andrea McGee of District 1, where the pier is located, said she has received many phone calls and e-mails from residents concerned about the access fees.
McGee asked the Commission if it would support having City staff look into offering users of the pier the possibility to purchase an annual pass, or some other options that would allow local residents, including some who walk the beach every day, to be able to more cost effectively enjoy the pier.
City Manager Greg Harrison said that during the preparation of the budget for the current fiscal year, City staff projected the annual revenue that would be generated based on a $2 pier entry fee and a $5 fishing fee, which was discussed with the City Commissioners. However, the Pompano Beach pier fee policy has not yet been brought to the Commission for “full-fledged approval.”
Harrison said the Commission is “wide open” to look at different options, and that City staff would have to see what difference it would make in the budget.
Harrison also said that City staff is in conversations with Dania Pier Management Corp. – the firm that the City recently entered into a contract with to operate and manage the pier – regarding possible options for the access fees.
Mayor Rex Hardin noted that he has also gotten a lot of feedback from residents about the proposed fees, and asked Harrison to bring back some ideas for the Commission to consider.
Hardin said he has asked staff to make sure that the City can offer a resident discount on the pier, because it involves submerged land that is subject to state law.
“I’m glad we’re looking into it…and trying to come up with a plan that everyone can live with,” said McGee.
The city’s East CRA Advisory Committee, at its Nov. 7 meeting, voted 7 to 1 to make a recommendation to the City Commission, as well as the CRA Board (which is made up of the City Commissioners), that no fees be charged for the public to access the pier.
One resident told the committee she had written a letter to the City Commission, and was forming a committee to oppose the fees.
Jack Rogerson, chair of the advisory committee, voted in favor of the recommendation that no fees be charged, but noted the proposed fees are consistent with what other fishing piers in the area are charging. The East CRA Advisory Committee is made up of area residents who offer advice to the CRA Board and the City Commission but does not have any formal authority.
The Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier charges $1 for sightseers and $4 for fishing. In Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Anglins Fishing Pier, which is privately owned, charges $2 for sightseers and $7 for fishing.
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