City Hall braces for a fall in wharfage revenue
City of Hamilton Mayor Charles Gosling believes wharfage fees will be down $1.5 million due to the economy.
While Mr Gosling said the City was happy Government has allowed it to continue levying the fee for 2010, they still expected lower revenues.
On Wednesday Government confirmed the corporation would be allowed to levy wharfage fees for the next year, but said no further decision had been made.
Premier Paula Cox said the decision had been made to “stabilise the situation in the short term”.
Earlier this year Government overhauled the Municipalities Act. This included removing revenue streams, such as wharfage fees, from the corporations and requiring both the City of Hamilton and Corporation of St. George to pay land tax. The amendments to legislation also abolished the property vote and allowed anyone living in the areas to vote.
In previous years about $7.5 million was raised from wharfage fees, accounting for 35 percent of the City's budget.
Yesterday Mr Gosling said: “Retaining wharfage will guarantee, if you can guarantee an estimate, about $6 million to our revenue stream.
“This is well below about 16 percent the wharfage revenue recorded in prior years and simply reflects the downturn in business in all sectors on the Island. Hopefully the other fees associated with the docks will also be retained.
“Obviously costs have continued to increase, albeit at a lower percentage rate, and we will be challenged to make up for the shortfall between our operational budget and revenue whilst still trying to engage in necessary capital improvements.”
Prior to the amendments to legislation the City had warned reduced revenues would mean reduced services. They cited a list of 22 services that could be downsized or cancelled, including the May 24 parade, Harbour Nights, and security X-ray machines at the docks.