Six companies currently leasing the Commonwealth Ports Authority’s Seaplane Ramps and adjacent properties have offered to spend for the additional dredging work in these areas in exchange for longer term leases as well as credit for future payments.
In a letter sent to board chairman Roman S. Palacios, the six companies that are also operating boats for tourists requested the ports authority to consider dredging the existing channels because the shallow waters may damage the vessels especially during low tide.
The companies include Pacific Subsea, BSEA Inc. Connie B. Charters, Island Fresh, Saipan Sunset Cruise and JM& Associates. Originally, the companies were hoping to tap the Samsung dredging machine before it is sent back to Seoul considering the high cost of mobilizing the equipment.
Earlier, the companies using the seaplane ramps and nearby properties have sought a lower rental because these areas do not have the same facilities available in the commercial port.
The request was made as the ports authority is set to charge the new rates amounting to $4.50 per passenger fee in July. According to the tenants, they are paying rates which are equal or over the appraised value of the property they occupy.
For example, Pacific Subsea pays three percent of its gross revenues which averages approximately $3,000 per month. However, the appraised value of the space made by the Division of Public Lands said it only cost $7,368 per year or $614 per month which means the company is already paying almost five times the value of the property it is leasing.
To assess an additional passenger fee to the tenants occupying the Seaplane ramp in an amount equal to that assessed at the newly renovated commercial port would be incredibly inequitable and unjust given the present dilapidated conditions at the area and the high rents already paid, the tenants said.
Considering the current slump in tourism economy, it cannot pass on the new charges to their customers and it is also difficult for the tenants to absorb these additional fees, they added.
As a result, the board has asked the seaport facilities committee to study the request of its tenants so that it can make the proper recommendations.