City Council votes to increase fees for marina boat dwellers

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The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve an increase in fees for boat dwellers in the Berkeley Marina.

The increases include a 6 percent boost in berth fees plus a $20-per-month surcharge for houseboat owners, meaning some people will be paying about $700 per month to live in the marina - which is self-funded through revenues from berth fees and leases.

According to the proposal, berth fees are the single largest source of revenue for the marina, followed by licenses and leases, which cannot be changed until at least 2014. The increase in berth fees will contribute $188,800 in new annual revenue and the $20 surcharge will offset $3,120 of an annual $3,600 fee the marina pays in sewer fees, according to the proposal.

However, many residents of the marina have expressed concern over the increasing fees, which have nearly doubled over the last 10 years in part due to the fact that houseboats are not subject to the city's rent control laws, which govern changes to existing rent levels.

Marina resident Roger Boyvey, who has lived on his houseboat since 1967, told the San Francisco Chronicle that if houseboats were subject to rent control laws, fees would have increased by only 18 percent over the past 10 years, as opposed to the 94 percent he calculates that they have.

In 2001, the monthly base berth rate per foot for berths 25 to 29 feet was $5. Under the new fee rates, the price for the same size will be $8.20.

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