OSWEGO, NY- At last week’s committee meeting, DPW Commissioner Mike Smith asked the councilors to consider fees for use of the city’s fish cleaning stations.
“In the recent past we have had vendors run the fish cleaning stations, the one at Wright’s Landing and the one behind the Reitz Diner,” he said. “Two years ago it was OK; last year it was problematic. And, this year, they didn’t have much interest in anybody doing that. So we decided to run them ourselves.”
He asked the councilors if they felt the city should charge any type of fee for use of the stations.
In the past, the vendor paid the city a set fee and then charged anglers to clean their fish. The city also allowed fishermen to use the site to clean their own fish.
“We won’t be receiving any fee from a vendor. So we don’t have any revenue coming in at the moment,” he pointed out. “I’m not proposing that we clean fish. I’m only proposing that we run the stations, maintain them and allow people to clean fish in there.”
The city could charge a per fish fee or a per use fee, Smith said.
There are some local businesses that also provide the service, he added.
Councilor Connie Cosemento pointed out that some fish are larger than other and that would have to be taken into consideration if a per fish fee was adopted.
The city has put several thousand dollars into repairs of the stations, including the grinder, Smith told the councilors.
A dock hand would be available to open the station when someone wanted to clean fish, Smith explained.
“That would have an impact (on the DPW),” Councilor Cathy Santos noted.
“Absolutely, at a busy time of year,” the commissioner agreed. “We’d have to have it manned for several hours at a time, which is a cost.”
“Being a city resident, I would have to pay to have my fish cleaned?” asked Councilor Mike Myers. “Fishing is one of the biggest things we have going on here in Oswego. I can understand a vendor being in their, which is probably a good idea. I am just afraid that we’re going to chase people away from here and they’ll some somewhere else, Sodus Point, Mexico. That’s what I’m afraid of.”
“The alternative is they clean their fish, illegally, along the banks,” Cosemento noted.
“That has happened,” Smith agreed. “That can still happen if we have a fee. You’re going to have that certain element that’s going to say, ‘I am not going to pay’ and just clean their fish wherever. We’re going to have to deal with that somehow.”
Cosemento suggested the city maintain the stations, especially the Wright’s Landing station that receives the bulk of the use.
“I would prefer to see us charge something; it would offset the city’s expense for running the station. I think it’s a necessary service for the number of fishermen that we have.”
Council President Ron Kaplewicz suggested giving city residents a break on any possible fee the city might set at the stations.
“Perhaps residents could be exempt from any fee. Give a little something back to people who are already paying (for city services). Or if you have a permanent dock pass at Wright’s Landing this could be included in that fee,” he said.
The councilors took no action on the matter.
Commissioner Smith will talk with other stakeholders, such as transient boaters and charter captains, and bring more information back to the committee level next month.