FOI Request Harbour Berthing Dues

Request 101001427079

1. Could you please forward to me in some detail the breakdown of the some of £135000 quoted at length without detail as being, the deficit the main reason for the increase in Moray harbour berthing dues.
2. Could you please also correct my maths with reference to the web cam broadcast and the vote taken on quote -  - 15 percent increase in harbour dues giving the council £2000 of gross increase then it was said 50 percent increase would give £26500 perhaps my numerical skills are lacking but to me this was false accounting to sway the vote.
3. Also could you confirm if I am incorrect that John Cowe published the figure of 15 percent was now £3000 while publishing his figures and statement on SMS where he confirmed he was a concerned councillor.
4. Also the members referring to the SNP leads us to believe the whole situation is of political motive to get at the SMP not giving real consideration to the job in hand the harbours.
5. Also could you please forward me a copy of the running costs for MV Selkie as a council tax payer I have the right to see this.

Response 13-03-2017

1. The quoted £135,000 gap between income and expenditure relates to the financial year 2015/16, and can be broken down as follows:

Employee costs                                £289K

Property costs                                   £273K

Supplies & Services                         £16K

Transportation & Plant costs       £12K

Total                                                      £590K

Less income                                       £455K

Balance                                                £135K

This is a link to the webcast where the item was discussed:  The written minutes of the meeting will shortly be available on our website.

2. In relation to questions 2 and 3:

When harbour charges were discussed at the Economic Development & Infrastructure Committee in November 2016, Councillor McDonald made a proposal to make in an increase in fees which generated in the region of £10,000 per annum – a 13% overall increase. This was calculated as follows:

  • £45/£43/£38 per metre for pontoon/other/hardstanding ex VAT
  • This was worked using current charging calculation – per metre or part thereof ie rounding UP to the next whole metre figure (banding)
  • A reduced over-60s discount of 10% was also proposed.
  • This gave a total income per annum of £79,470 – just under £10,000 more than the current £69,598k annual income

When the harbour charges were further considered by Committee in January 2017, Councillor McDonald made a similar proposal, but made some changes. In committee officers were asked for the financial impact of these revised proposals. This was stated to be an increase in annual income of approximately £2,000. When stating this figure I gave a health warning to councillors that given the impact had been calculated very quickly during a recess there may be changes when done thoroughly, but that the broad impact was correct. Going through more thoroughly the following day meant that the financial impact was revised a little to an overall increase in income of £3,000 per annum compared to current income.

The reason this is significantly different to the figure stated in November is as follows:

  • £45/£43/£38 per metre for pontoon/other/hardstanding ex VAT
  • This was worked using an exact multiplier – ie a boat of 5.25 metres is calculated at 5.25 x £xx
  • The 25% over-60s discount for current beneficiaries was applied as Cllr McDonald had stated he agreed with this proposal
  • This gave a total income per annum of £72,709 – just over £3,000 more than the current £69,598 annual income.

This is a difference between the two figures of about £7,000 – around £3,000 of which relates to the change in the over 60s discount and the remainder to the change in application of metre rate.

This was immediately communicated to elected members and the senior management team of the council.

The difference between the £2,000 / £3,000 as a yearly increase in income, when compared to the other option being considered by the councillors which increased income by £26,000 per year does not in any way invalidate the decision made by the councillors on 31 January 2017, especially as the risk that the figures may not be completely accurate was highlighted to the councillors before they took any decision.

3. Please see the information above and refer directly to Councillor Cowe for comment on this.

4. This is not a question that can be answered under FOI. You would need to ask it of the elected members.

5. This Information is exempt under Section 33 (1) (b) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002- Commercial Interest. This information is commercially sensitive. The MV Selkie operates and trades commercially. As such matters relating to costs and income could be used to influence its market position and in particular by other suppliers. On this basis all matters relating to the costs and income of the dredger MV Selkie have been heard and held in confidence by the council, including committee reports. Operational aspects are discussed in the public domain, and a report on the operational position of MV Selkie was prepared for the Council’s Audit & Scrutiny Committee meeting of 8 February 2017. This paper can be found by following this link:

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