The Berkeley Marina's financial status

March 2006 update:

The City's 5-year Marina Fund Projection
as distributed at the Finance Committee meeting on January 25 2006.

Comments to the Waterfront Commission for the February 8 meeting

Comments to the Waterfront Commission for the March 8 meeting

January 2006 update:

Selected pages from the City's adopted budget for FY 06-07

The complete document is available on the City's website at

The rationale for a progressive berth rate structure:

Letter from the President of the Marina Recreation Association on square foot pricing "Small boats are our entry level boats, we can't afford to price them out of the market."

Graphs of yacht cost as a function of size The price of boats varies by length to the fourth power. Small boats can easily pay up to half their value per year in berth fees, large boats are down to one or two percent.

Spreadsheet showing berth revenue per acre as a function of berth size Showing that when the berthing resource is limited by the size of the marina, the small boats are subsidizing the large ones, even with the current progressive rate structure.

April 2004 Update:

The upcoming increase in berth fees is now being driven by several factors:

1: The need to service the new loans from California Dept. of Boating and Waterways.

2: Reduced hotel and restaurant revenue.

3: Significant increases in employee costs, especially retirement benefits.

New loans from Boating and Waterways will finance the reconstruction of docks A-E and H-I, new bathrooms (with laundry) on the north side, and various parking and landscaping improvements. The Marina has little choice but to proceed with these upgrades in order to avoid serious deterioration, if not safety issues. Most of the wood docks were designed for a 30 year life, and they are now almost 40 years old. Total cost of the project is $9 million.

There is some hope that lagging hotel and restaurant revenue will turn around if the new Korean BBQ in the old "Dock of the Bay" building is a success. Also, a new ferry service from a terminal near Hs. Lordships might have a very positive effect on commercial lease revenues throughout the Marina, especially from Hs. Lordships. But hotel and restaurant revenue remains primarily dependent on the overall business cycle, and no relief can be projected with any certainty.

Public employee retirement costs are driven by state-wide legislation and completely out of the control of the Marina Fund.

Spreadsheets showing possible rate structures that would achieve the necessary revenue increase

January 2004 Update:

All City of Berkeley departments have been directed to reduce their expenditures by 20%.

Since the Marina Fund generates its own revenue and is isolated from the General Fund by statute and contract (as per conditions of inital financing by the State, Tidelands Public Trust, etc.) this has been interpreted as a requirement to improve the Marina Fund's revenue/expenditure balance by 20%.

The main impact on Marina berthers will be a 15% increase in berth fees for FY 2005, followed by 5% increases for each succeeding year.

This makes little sense, because the Marina Fund was already essentially solvent. Even conservative projections show that the proposed 15% initial increase in berthing fees is well in excess of what is required to keep the Marina adequately funded.

Here is the January 27 Budget Proposal. See page 36 for the changes to the Marian Fund.

Summary: after raising $220,000/year in additional berthing revenue, the City's General Fund will only benefit by about $3,500. The non-waterfront-related Parks Fund will gain about $50,000/year by shifting charges to the Marina Fund. These revenue streams are likely to be challenged as illegal by Marina berthers.

Reducing Waterfront Commission meetings from 11 per year to 4 per year will have no impact on the General Fund because all of the Commission-related staff expenses are borne by the Marina Fund. (Even the Marina Fund is unlikely to save anything, because the number of special meetings and subcommittee meetings will increase to accommodate the same work load. The net effect will be reduced participation by the public because of the irregular schedule.)

November 2003:

Marina Priorities as stated in a response to a letter by Norman La Force of the Sierra Club.

February 2003 update:

"Market Rate" revenue spreadsheet.

This is an estimate of the revenue potential of a market rate berth structure. It would represent the largest single rate increase ever for the Berkeley Marina, and is not necessarily being proposed at this time.

February 2002 Update:

The following Marina Fund analysis was developed by Commissioner Brad Smith in conjunction with City staff. He has agreed to field questions relating to this analysis, and can be reached at or 510-524-1938.

20-Year Marina Fund Analysis Revenue and expense spreadsheet including projections to 2020.

Capital Improvement Projects summarized to 2010 and 2020.

Long range revenue strategies Report from the Chair for the October 2002 Waterfront Commisison meeting.