MANCHESTER — Pending added suggestions from selectmen and the Harbor Advisory Committee, Harbormaster and Police Chief Glenn McKiel's own plan for reconstructing the harbor's management system will be part of the budgeting process for the next fiscal.
McKiel met last week with members of the town's Harbor Advisory Committee to review plans and the chief's presentation he discussed Aug. 16 before the Board of Selectmen and general public.
"My plan is not the only plan," he said, "I want to work with the committee to define the plan moving forward."
Committee member John Lopresti raised concerns about the recollection process for the 105 unbilled moorings, resulting a revenue shortfall of $31,000 between the 2007-2009 billing season. He asked of any resident who did not receive a bill during those years.
"We've not had anyone come forward," said McKiel, "we are still in the forensic reconstruction process."
According to McKiel, the Harbor Department is now working on a complete package to collect the unbilled mooring fees for the two years. At the Aug.16 Board of Selectmen's meeting, he said the process included a letter mailed out to those who were not billed for the years 2007-2009. He said there is no missing money, but that the discrepancy came from funds the department had not billed.
Currently, according to McKiel, the waiting list of more than 400 names is now housed on the town Web site, with an online mooring system, powered by the company Fandotech, to be up and running in the next 10 days.
The committee and chief agreed during a meeting last week that making harbor management more effective will require more time and more resources.
"(Harbor stakeholders) are not confident the wait list is accurate," said Chair Karen Smith-Crawley, "but nobody could do it with the (current) resources."
McKiel said that constructing a more effective harbor would be a multi-year process, and suggested getting "our own house in order" as a focus for the coming year.
The committee is also looking to work on the current dredging project, using maps constructed by former chair Jim Starkey.
Committee members and McKiel are also looking to construct a series of new harbor regulations, a master plan, and a capital plan for the town harbor.
Committee member Gordon Abbot Jr. proposed an appeals process for the town waiting list, which would, if implemented, provide those on the wait list a way to challenge their position if they feel its not correct.
McKiel said he wants to look to start creating next year's harbor budget this week.
The review of a wide variety of harbor issues comes after a Harbor Advisory Committee report submitted to the Selectmen in June outlined widespread concerns regarding the unaccounted loss of $31,000 in mooring fees — the fees McKiel has traced to the unbilled accounts in the wake of a software change — and alleged irregularities regarding the mooring list and waiting list.
The committee also recommended that the town seek an outside audit of Harbor Department, and urged that the department be separated from the Police Department, with a full-time harbormaster.
The selectmen have not specifically addressed those committee recommendations.