Petersburg’s South Harbor in 2020 (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

Add Petersburg harbor fees to a growing list of local services that may cost more this year.

Petersburg’s harbors and ports advisory board Tuesday heard about a proposed rate increase that’s expected to go before the borough assembly.

“Well it’s time,” said harbor master Glorianne Wollen explaining the need for a rate hike. “I did a unofficial survey of the rest of the communities in Southeast and I like to be the second highest. I don’t like to be the highest but I like to be the second highest and we are down near the bottom for a lot of our rates. So it’s a pretty minimal rate increase, up five percent for stalls.”

Besides the hike to moorage rates, most other fees would also increase, everything from launch permits, to cruise ship docking charges and fees for crane use, waste oil disposal, liveaboards and onland gear storage.

The harbors also would change how larger pleasure craft are charged for transient, or temporary, moorage. The old system aimed to bring in more revenue by charging a higher fee for foreign flagged yachts. The new fee schedule will instead make a distinction for large vessels that are not in the commercial fishing business. Wollen says the harbors can lose moorage space to larger pleasure craft that can’t be doubled up with other boats.

“We can raft commercial boats, you can’t raft yachts,” Wollen said. “And so it turns into us eating up places like C Float. You throw one yacht, you’re done. Whereas the tender fleet comes in, I can double them up. I can get two or three of them. We make that dollar and 50 cents because we’re charging both boats that are tying up together 75 cents. So that’s where we kind of came up with those numbers and we’re going to try it out.”

The new transient fee would be 75 cents a foot per day for boats in commercial fishing, with large pleasure boats over 90 feet paying a daily rate of a $1.50 per foot.

Several board members mentioned a five percent increase would only cover the cost of inflation from the past year. They didn’t take a vote on the rate hike proposal and didn’t suggest any changes to the harbormaster. It will take three readings of an ordinance by the borough assembly before that rate hike takes effect. The borough raised prices for using the harbors in 2012, 2015 and 2018.

The borough has already raised rates for electricity and garbage customers. A consultant has also recommended annual rate hikes for water and sewer customers.

The harbor board did vote to recommend a preliminary budget for the fiscal year that starts in July. It assumes the new rates will be approved.