Boat ramp fees dominant

A motorist prepares to launch his pontoon boat at the county boat ramp at MacRae's of Homosassa. The county commission on Tuesday will discuss use fees at county boat ramps.

Citrus County commissioners will dive once again into a discussion on whether to charge boat-ramp fees to raise money for expanded parking and other ramp improvements.

Commissioners have a 9 a.m. workshop Tuesday at the county courthouse.

County Administrator Randy Oliver’s proposal is to charge fees at four boat ramps: MacRae’s in Homosassa, Fort Island Trail Park and Fort Island Gulf Beach in Crystal River, and Hernando Beach.

Proposed charges are: $10 per day or a $50 annual pass for motorized boats; and $5 per day or a $25 annual pass for kayaks with a car carrier.

While there would be no discount for Citrus County residents, board Chairman Jeff Kinnard is recommending a one-day-a-year discounted rate for the annual pass.

jeff kinnard mug 0318

Citrus County Commissioner Jeff Kinnard.

“It would be open to everybody but very convenient to county residents,” Kinnard said.

The staff report estimates boat ramp fees will bring in about $400,000 annually with a net of $260,000 the first year and $311,000 for each year after that.

Costs include $72,000 for four pay stations and $88,000 in administration, including hiring two employees and buying a single-cab truck.

Kinnard said he thinks the county can reduce the operating costs.

He also said it's time for commissioners to decide whether this is the route they want to go, or not.

“If we want to expand parking, expand launch facilities, we have to have a funding mechanism,” he said.

The fees would take effect Feb. 1 if approved. No final decisions are made during a workshop, but commissioners can give staff direction to proceed.

The board’s regular meeting follows the workshop at 1 p.m. The agenda includes:

- Voting on a settlement offer by businessman Greg Williams, who owns Lakeside Ranches wedding and reception venue between Inverness and Hernando. Williams sued to stop the county from enforcing ordinances on his agricultural property; the county filed a separate case asking a judge to stop Williams from using buildings for receptions that are not permitted.

Williams voluntarily annexed 382 acres into the city of Inverness, which the county opposes. Williams offered to drop the lawsuit if the county ends its objection to the annexation.

The Williams offer was a later addition to the board agenda. County Attorney Denise Dymond Lyn has also on the agenda a request for a shade meeting with commissioners to discuss a settlement offer in the Williams case.

- Discussion on setting the perimeters for the next workshop on universal garbage collection.

- A vote on proceeding with the 2019-20 residential road resurfacing projects. Oliver is offering commissioners two choices: One would concentrate much of the work in Beverly Hills; the other spreads the work throughout the county.

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Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com.

(1) comment

Miuke Nelson

"While there would be no discount for Citrus County residents, board Chairman Jeff Kinnard is recommending a one-day-a-year discounted rate for the annual pass." What the heck does that mean? Also how about pickup trucks (or cars) with boats or kayaks/canoes (or inflatable/foldable kayaks) in the bed of the truck or on the roof or trunk of the car, but no racks? We are back to is it a launch fee or a parking fee? What about people who park and swim or fish?

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