Despite the fact the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is looking for a buyer for its 1,004-slip Small Boat Harbor, the authority has decided to slightly raise the rates it charges for its seasonal rentals.
Driving the increase, the first since 2000, is rising operational costs that are plaguing the NFTA.
The increases range from $2 a season for its 30-foot slips to $93 for its pair of larger, 50-foot slips. Even with the increases, the NFTA still has the lowest slip rates in the region. The increases, if every slip is leased, may produce an additional $40,000 in revenues of the authority.
The Small Boat Harbor is the largest in New York and offers boaters direct access to Lake Erie along with a picturesque view of Canada and the Buffalo skyline. This past season, the NFTA leased out approximately 90 percent of the slips.
Meanwhile, the NFTA staff and board of commissioners are reviewing a pair of bids that came in late last month for the Small Boat Harbor property. Citing confidentiality clauses, the NFTA has declined to identify the bidders.
The NFTA, earlier this year, sought separate bids for the Small Boat Harbor and the adjoining Port Terminal A and B buildings. No bids were submitted for the two Port Terminal buildings.
Henry Sloma, NFTA interim chairman, said even with the dual bids for the Small Boat Harbor, the authority will be operating the slips this season. The board may vote on the potential winning bid for the slips in February.
"The board is not simply looking for an exit plan (for the Small Boat Harbor)," Sloma said. "This is not a grab the money and run scenario, We fully understand it is a community asset that needs to be protected."