Does your money actually go to the Harbor? Sort of.
Unlike some City assets, our Port and Harbor is managed as an “Enterprise Fund”. Simply put, an enterprise fund is a separate accounting system used when a fee is charged in exchange for services. By state law, an enterprise fund may be established for a utility, health care, recreation, or transportation facility. As an enterprise fund, Port and Harbor revenues are separated from other city government services. This allows the City to be able to demonstrate to the public that are Port and Harbor facilities are self-sustaining.
What it means for Cordova residents is that “we” do not pay the Harbormaster’s salary – nor do “we” pay for the Harbormaster’s office, the docks, floats, or ramps. Who does? The users. Okay, as a fishing town, most of us are both part of “we” and “the users”, however, it is an important distinction to make. Property taxes, sales taxes, and other City revenue that all of us as residents generally contribute do not impact our Port and Harbor. The only revenue that funds our Port and Harbor are Port and Harbor fees. That’s it. Moorage, launch, TravelLift, parking – the user fees are what keep our Port and Harbor staffed, maintained, and operating. Any improvements made in the Port and Harbor are paid for by those same user fees. On good years, when collected user fees are greater than the cost of operating the Port and Harbor, we have opportunities to grow.
A self-sustaining entity, it is our Port and Harbor users that keep it running day-to-day and position Cordova for the future by funding harbor-related economic development initiatives with their user fees.