Wharfage fees waived for birthday passengers

The Avalon City Council extended the waiver of wharfage fees for passengers participating in the Catalina Express free birthday ride program at the agency’s Tuesday, June 4, meeting.

According to the staff report by Interim City Manager/City Clerk Denise Radde, the council has waived the wharfage fee for the Catalina Express program for two years. The current fee is $2.50. Radde’s report said the fee waiver applies only to those individuals who travel on their birthdays.

The Avalon City Council extended the waiver of wharfage fees for passengers participating in the Catalina Express free birthday ride program at the agency’s Tuesday, June 4, meeting.

According to the staff report by Interim City Manager/City Clerk Denise Radde, the council has waived the wharfage fee for the Catalina Express program for two years. The current fee is $2.50. Radde’s report said the fee waiver applies only to those individuals who travel on their birthdays.

According to the staff report, Catalina Express officials believe the program is a successful marketing tool. Council Member Ralph Morrow agreed.

He said it was the best public relations program he had seen in the years he had been on Catalina Island. Radde’s report said Catalina Express officials would like to extend the free birthday ride promotion and had asked Avalon to waive the fee for another year.

“Since May 2012 through March 2013 the Catalina Express has provided over 53,948 free birthday rides,” said Radde in her report. “Staff agrees that the special birthday promotion has provided a public benefit for all entities in town and has served as an enticement for first-time and returning visitors to Avalon and the city’s participation in this program should be extended.”

According to her report, the waiver costs Avalon $134,870 in uncollected fees. The report said the fees were offset by the collection of sales tax and harbor use fees generated by visitors, but the amount of that offset is not known.

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