The annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade might be a little dimmer this year if the City Council approves an increase to tidelands fees for residential docks.
On Tuesday the group Stop the Dock Tax issued a news release asking homeowners who line the route of the annual boat parade in Newport Harbor to turn off Christmas decorations and pull their boats out of the parade. The group plans to protest at 6 p.m. Wednesday at a special City Council meeting. The council is expected to vote on changes to hike 970 residential dock rents from a flat $100 yearly fee to 52.5 cents per square foot per year, according to a staff report.
"We don’t want to hurt our businesses or residents by advocating for this boycott. But this city council is out of control," Bob McCaffrey, the group's chairman, said in the statement.
“The city already receives a percentage of the property tax we pay on the docks value," Bob McCaffrey added. "This is an unnecessary money grab and we can’t take it anymore. The money we use to decorate our homes will have to be used to pay the new tax.”
According to a staff report, the hikes are rents, not taxes, and are needed to establish a fair market rent charge for the for residential piers located over tidelands. The money collected will pay for improvements to the harbor, city officials say.
Under the proposal, the fee hikes will be phased in over five years through 2017 as opposed to the previous recommendation to have them phased in through 2015. The rent will apply to the float area, waters of the internal slip and dockable or useable waters around the float, according to the staff report.
Properties in the areas of Dover Shores, Linda Isle, Promontory Bay, Harbor Island will not be subject to the rent hikes.
The special meeting will be at council chambers, 3300 Newport Blvd.