At last week’s Marlborough Town Board meeting, Councilman Howard Baker said the town has been speaking with ship lines that are seeking to dock at the new Milton pier.
“They are very interested in what we have to offer in our town,” Baker said. “The one most interested now is Seastreak.”
Baker said this company has an issue with the pier because their boats are from 160 ft to 200 ft in length. He reminded the board that because the old wooden pylons were in bad shape, the board approved installing new steel pylons.
“That meant we had to drop out the fender pylons that sit on the river edge of the Milton pier so boats can bump up against them when they dock and we need something like that and we don’t have that now,” he said.
Baker said the original plans called for 6 fender piles, three on each side of the pier at an estimated cost of about $100,000. He said the reason this was dropped is because the town did not want to go too far over budget, given that the change to steel pylons tacked on an additional $75,000 to the budget, which the board approved.
Baker said Seastreak is now proposing a 3 fender pylon solution that would accommodate their ships and other companies that have longer boats. The company said they would pay for the purchase and installation in exchange for the town waiving any docking fees, “for a long time.”
Baker acknowledged that the company would not install the pylons to the specifications that were in the original plans by the design firm of Tighe & Bond.
“This would be a modified configuration and not as robust as what Tighe and Bond had,” he said, adding that this plan would cost $60,000 less.
Baker said this plan would be, “for three steel piles 80 or 90 feet in length, 24 to 36 inches in diameter; certainly sturdy steel piles that would act as fender piles, not the 6 that were in the original design.”
The board questioned if this solution would be able to accommodate ships longer than 200 feet. They also want to find out what the typical port fees, often called touch fees, are for ships docking in the Hudson Valley. These fees could reach $1,000 each time a ship docks.
Councilman Allan Koenig said at this time the board has to be the most responsible in the way they manage the pier moving forward. He questioned if it was even possible for the pylons to be installed and ready by the end of September when Seastreak indicated they want to dock in Milton.
“We have to have a pretty solid number on what it will cost to maintain this pier; nothing is cheap that is on or in the water,” he said.
Koenig said working out the details concerning the pier is critical.
“I don’t want to discourage anything but I would really like to see the town set itself up properly for the future and not look at a decision we made in a year with regret. We really have to think this through,” he said.
Supervisor Al Lanzetta said the board has to know what they would be giving up for the installation of the two fender pylons and any agreement has to be put into a legal document.
Councilman Scott Corcoran urged caution at this stage.
“We’re all in favor of these boats coming in here and doing these tours but we literally just cut the tape a few days ago. So for us to jump in and tell them we’re going to give you a lifetime subscription to docking on our pier for putting in three bumpers I think is a knee-jerk reaction because we want to get something done very quickly. In the long run, if we don’t do our due diligence I think we’re going to regret it.”