Local Touring Companies Will Now Find New Streamlined Vehicle Permit Process In Saugatuck
At its Monday night meeting, the Saugatuck City Council amended its regulations to streamline the process of acquiring a “commercial tour vehicle permit” within city boundaries.
The permit allows those businesses offering visitors tours of the Saugatuck area to use the curb cut-out in front of Coghlin Park, a public place, to operate.
The amendment constitutes an addition to existing policy. Besides the $200 per season commercial tour permit, the city now allows a three-year option for a total of $600.
The change will ease what otherwise would be a redundant procedure for city staff and keep administrative costs down, said Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier.
Currently, the City of Saugatuck has only one such commercial tour business: The Harbor Duck Adventures Company, which uses the Coghlin Park street space to pick up and drop off its tour guests.
“We have had other entrepreneurs come to us and say, ‘We would like to try this out,’” Saugatuck Mayor Bill Hess told his colleagues. However, at this time, no other similar business exists in town.
“There was a horse-and-carriage enterprise, but it didn’t have a facility to put their horse,” noted Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier, in explaining why that business has not is not operating.
Council members concurred that the Harbor Duck has been in operation for well over 10 years and the relationship so far has been good.
“The operation (Harbor Duck) has had a good track record,” said Hess.
The Duck is a modified 31-foot World War II amphibious vessel that is used as a vehicle to give tourists a tour of the area on both water and land.
Besides the $200 annual permit to use the cut-out, the Duck also pays the city each time the Duck exits the Spear Street public boat ramp that goes toward offsetting maintenance costs.
In 2013, that arrangement totaled $1,413 and in 2014 the amount came to $1,687, according to Saugatuck City Treasurer Peter Stanislawski.
In other Saugatuck city business, Allegan County Commissioner Dean Kapenga reported before the council Monday that the county is looking into—and, in fact, getting requests—to house prisoners from other counties in the new county jail.
It is a practice that was done before the new jail went up and was lucrative for the county, said the commissioner
“It was like $1 million back in the day,” said Kapenga, referring to the amount collected by the county for providing cells for the out-county inmates prior to the new jail being constructed.