Private Investigator: Dock Taxes
Q: The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) is lobbying government to implement a new dock tax to be collected yearly by the SPTC. This tax will run anywhere from $5,000 for a residential dock up to $25,000 for a commercial dock. I think homeowners and business owners have a right to know what is going on and was thinking maybe you could find out the details and print it in your paper. Although, I have numerous concerns about this, the top problems I see is:
1. How is the town going to spend this new revenue of 100’s of thousands of dollars? They are saying to reverse environmental damage. Really?
2. Dive and tour companies with docks will have to increase their rates to make up for the astronomical 25K every year. Tour rates are already very expensive and tour companies with docks on the front of the island will have a disadvantage to companies that dock on the back side (the town is suggesting little or no tax for lagoon docks probably because they are all owned by locals with not much money).
/s/ Via Email
A: You are right, on April 4th, 2008, the San Pedro Town Council sent a letter to Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Honorable Gaspar Vega. “For many years, San Pedro Town has had to cope with all the abuse and exploitation of our natural resources. The excess of piers and structures on crown land are causing beach erosions, damages to the reef and even pollution by those restaurants and spas that are constructed on these piers. In an effort to alleviate, control and possibly discontinue this practice, the San Pedro Town Council under recommendation of our Local Building Authority proposes that an impact fee be implemented. This impact fee is in an effort to not only discourage any new requests for piers but also to discourage the existing piers to be reconstructed after a natural disaster.
Therefore, the San Pedro Town Council cordially requests your Ministry’s assistance to authorizing the Council to charge this impact fees. The rates being proposed are as follows:
*Piers – between $5,000 and $15,000
*Structure – between $15,000 and $20,000
The exact rate will be determined by the size of the pier or the structure and on the damage it causes. The Council and the Local Building Authority both believe that the fee is minimal considering the damage and risks our natural resources are experiencing.”
Once approved, the monies garnered will be collected by the offices of the SPTC and will be used for a Beach Nourishment Project which is scheduled to begin as soon as possible. This project is aimed at reclaiming our beaches in the Town Core (Boca del Rio to Victoria House), as well as to curb the erosion presently occurring.
The Nourishment Project will use Geotubes which have been successfully used in over 50 countries. The Geotube technology has been used to stop storm damage, protect the environment, build custom structures, and even build islands where they didn’t exist before. Geotube containment technology is a proven, cost-effective method for a variety of shoreline protection and marine construction projects and was developed using input from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Once installed, it is the Council’s hope that the Boca del Rio Park beach, an area that has seen massive damage in the last few months, will be extended up to three times what it is now.
According to Chairman of the Ambergris Caye Local Building Authority Deputy Mayor Juan Alamilla, pier owners to the west side of San Pedro Town will be charged minimal fees. However, the priority lies on the east side and the effects that piers are having there. “Once we have established the fees for the East, we will move on to the West and begin processing them accordingly,” he ended.
For further information, kindly contact Chairman Juan Alamilla at number (602) 3859.