SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Town funds will be used to pay for the annual mooring fees for the MDI Community Sailing Center, selectmen here voted last week.
The sailing center has nine moorings and a float in the harbor and is subject to paying a $700 annual fee to the town. However, the organization has never paid a mooring fee during its 20 years in Southwest Harbor, according to Town Manager Don Lagrange.
Lagrange discovered the issue last fall and instructed Harbormaster Adam Thurston to bill the sailing center for 2016. Representatives of the center requested that the fee be waived because they are a nonprofit organization.
The town’s coastal waters and harbor ordinance requires all mooring owners to pay a fee. Selectmen have no authority to waive these fees, Lagrange said.
According to Lagrange, Selectman Dan Norwood suggested at the meeting that there should be a method for the town to pay the center’s fees. Norwood’s motion to take $700 from an administrative contingency fund to cover the cost for 2016 was approved 3-1, with David Minctons casting the opposing vote.
Ryan Donahue, a member of the center’s board of directors, was at the meeting and told selectmen that his organization, in the future, would ask for funding from the town at the annual town meeting. Lagrange said he reminded the board that they decided about three years ago not to accept any more funding requests from nonprofit agencies.
Lagrange said Wednesday that the town spends about $204,000 annually to fund nonprofit agencies. The total includes $55,000 for the Southwest Harbor Public Library, $57,500 for the Southwest Harbor-Tremont Nursing Service and $59,640 for Harbor House’s youth and recreation programs.