Bob Haase’s Another Can of Worms

Boat Launch Fees and How the Money is Spent

It is becoming more popular for municipalities to “TAX”, charge for maintaining boat launches.  It might seem like a good idea for those that use the facilities or services to pay for all or a share of the cost of maintaining them.  The trouble is that often the fees collected are not used for the purpose they are collected for.


An example of this is the boat launch fees for launching your boat at the Fond du Lac launch sites.  You don’t have to pay to use Lakeside Park, but you have to pay to use the boat launches.  It cost more to maintain the park than it does the boat landings, so why do just the boaters have to pay?


I don’t think boaters would mind this as much if the money collected were used for improving or expanding the launch sites, but this is not the case. If I am wrong I would like the city to correct me by providing an accounting of the total amount of money collected since the fees were started and how much of this was used specifically for the launch facilities for maintenance or expansion.


I was at the boat landing at the Big Hole on Sunday and there was a steady stream of boaters launching and taking out their boats.  In fact there was never a break of more than 5 minutes during the two hours that I was there that there wasn’t someone putting in or taking out their boats.  It was so congested that tempers were starting to flare about who’s turn it was to put in or take out. 


Fond du Lac has a tremendous resource in Lake Winnebago and the boat launches get used so heavily that more launch facilities are needed.  I know people that take their boat to Oshkosh because they have better launch facilities than Fond du Lac.  If you want tourism coming here, provide the necessary resources by using the income collected from launch fees to make the improvement.


If you are a boater that uses Fond du Lac boat launch facilities, maybe you would like to voice your concerns about the need for additional launch facilities and how the money you pay for launching your boats is used. The phone number for the Parks Office is 920-322-3460 and the city manager’s office is 920-322-3407.


Bob Haase is the host of “Outdoors Thursday” heard Thursday mornings at 9:10 a.m. on News-Talk 1450 KFIZ.