Operators do great job at Erie Basin Marina
It appears to me that City Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder has singled out the operators of the Erie Basin Marina to further his own personal and political agenda. Schroeder released the findings of his audit to the media first, without giving Brand-On Services the opportunity to review it. This action was grossly unfair, because it wrongly created the impression that there was possible wrongdoing on the part of Brand-On Services and the Wolasz family.
The Erie Basin Marina has been the catalyst of downtown waterfront development, aided by the continuing public-private partnership between the city and dedicated, hardworking vendors such as the Wolasz family. Together they made the Erie Basin Marina into the premier tourist destination in Buffalo. It has been suggested that separate operators for the Hatch restaurant and the marina should be considered. This would make perfect sense if it would generate additional revenue. I don’t believe that this is the case. Marina revenues for the city have increased exponentially over the years since Brand-On Services entered into the lease agreement, all while “out of pocket” expenses for the city to maintain it have decreased.
As a city resident, marina user and former slip holder, I believe that Brand-On Services has done an exceptional job in maintaining and running the property. If the city is looking for additional revenues, it should consider other options. An example would be to charge a nominal park entrance fee to visitors or to charge for parking within the marina property. It will be very interesting to see what parties emerge as bidders. An audit should never be used as a political tool. Conducted fairly, an audit will highlight discrepancies between two parties and will serve to equitably settle its findings. This audit has accomplished none of that.
Martin H. Forero