Letter to the Editor: "2013 Rockport Beach Status and Financial Report" via ACND / Tommy Moore

On May 1, 2012 the Aransas County Navigation District reluctantly took over the operations of Rockport Beach. It had been 25 years since Navigation District employees had worked on the Beach and there were a lot of surprises. 1st we couldn’t find any keys; all of the locks were re-keyed or replaced. There were no traffic or regulatory signs anywhere and they all had to be replaced.

The District also encountered numerous deferred maintenance issues that had to be addressed as soon as possible:

-- The entire west wall of the Maintenance Barn at the front of the facility was rotten and crumbling.

-- The Saltwater Pavilion steps were severely rusted beyond the point of repair.

-- The carpet in the Saltwater Pavilion was worn thin and caked with years of celebratory spills.

-- Of the 2 redundant sewage lift station pumps, one was one was out of commission.

-- The pavilion roofs that were damaged in the violent hailstorm of 2011 had not been repaired and leaked profusely.

-- The concrete pilings supporting the pavilions were deteriorating.

Most of these issues have been corrected and the last two items will be corrected soon. In 2012 the initial repairs plus the purchase of the capital equipment necessary to maintain the facility came to $230,000.

 After 20 months of ACND management, the facility is truly in great shape.

2013 revenues from user fees alone were a record $522,000. Expenses have been reduced from $563,000 in 2011 to $492,000 in 2013. I am extremely proud to announce $54,000 of net income after expenses for 2013. This was the first time in 25 years that the facility did not operate in the red and for the first time in 25 years Aransas County taxpayers did not have to make up the losses.

As anticipated, upcoming infrastructure maintenance expenses such as replacement of the boat ramp and replenishment of beach sand have become necessary. The roofs still have leaks because of the insurers insistence on piecemeal repair; they will be replaced this year and we continue to repair the concrete pilings. The District has already secured a Parks and Wildlife grant for a significant portion of the boat ramp expense and we will be pursuing Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue from the entities that the Beach facility serves. By state law only coastal counties may collect this tax.

These additional user generated revenues will allow us to keep the entire facility in top condition while keeping Aransas County residents’ taxes and user fees low.  While the District received no Hotel Occupancy Tax revenues in 2012 or 2013, they have historically been allocated to the facility.

I commend ACND Harbormaster, Keith Barrett and his staff for bringing this jewel of Aransas County back under control. They consistently operate and maintain the boat ramp facilities, parks, beaches, and festival grounds, which make our County such an attractive destination, to the highest standards. This team makes the ACND the absolute best value in government.
(via ACND / Tommy Moore)

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to the WWN.


Anonymous said…
WOW! That was a great report and really makes me wonder about all the controversy that surrounded the Navigation District taking it over in the first place. I am really wondering how the Nav District was able to fix all the deferred maintenance issues, ( why were they deferred and not taken care of all along when the City was in control?), run the beach , lower operating costs and manage to make a profit for the first time in 25 years? Where did all the money go before? It seems to make one seriously consider why the City tried so hard to make the Nav District " the evil bad guy" when it seems quite the opposite. Again, where did all that money go? Which brings one to question the management skills of those who manage our city. In business, a manager who consistently operates over budget and loses money year after year is fired. Also, why was this report not reported in the newspaper?
Johnny said…
Job well done! Thanks for keeping this Rockport center-piece alive!
Anonymous said…
Could be it wasn't in the paper because either 1) it wasn't submitted or 2) it isn't entirely factual and the paper didn't see fit to print it as is
Anonymous said…
Not factual because you think this is more of an opinion piece by Tommy Moore?
Anonymous said…
I think facts are facts and can easily be confirmed...let's look at the facts before we start throwing stones at Tommy Moore. Seems we should all be happy that the beach is going so well now and we should be asking questions as to where our tax dollars went. Anyway, great job Nav District!
Anonymous said…
Why don't they take of anything else, ran aground in channel by Key Allegro Yacht Club, in middle of channel. Ski basin u can walk across. Look at Cove Harbor, junk yard. Beach, how much did they go up on access fee? Now going up another 5 bucks, 30%. Quite a joke. Nice beach yes, new sand coming from state. Employees do a GREAT job. And after raging city and county, do u think they will go out of way to pass hot funds to nav. u got to be kidding. Now nav going to take over Paws and Taws?? By By Fulton, Tommy World coming to town.
Anonymous said…
Some of the facts, the beach is going great, user fees were $12 for an annual when nav took over, for 2014 they are $20 is that a 75% increase. No expense of a police presence as there was with the city. What happens when a drunken fight breaks out? Who is liable? And the chart of account in accounting are wonderful and can do what u want.
Anonymous said…
Im so happy that the beach is being straightened out, but let's be real: the fee to get on the beach is ridiculous. I am a year-round resident, and as a local, I earn the pittance that people call wages here. I paid for the pass in October, but it ran out in December. Why isnt this pass prorated? I cannot afford a new one at the price charged. Going to the beach is one of the few things I can enjoy as an underpaid local, but I guess even that isnt affordable anymore. so enjoy your trip to the beach that my 3-month pass paid for! Doesnt look like I will be able to afford it anytime soon. Very sad.
Anonymous said…
suggest you dig deeper
Anonymous said…
Exactly that!
Anonymous said…
Yes, sad. And, the first part is not highly questionable
Anonymous said…
Of course.
Janie Jones Carroll said…
Thank you WWN for providing this information.
Anonymous said…
WOW, if that is what they are thinking of doing, I think it is time for another change. Who is up for election this year? Enough of going crazy in what they are charging! Poor folks like to go out too.
Anonymous said…
Let's start with a slice of truth here. The beach park is property owned by the Nav. District, and they leased the land to the city to run as a PARK for 25 years. The city wanted to keep it, but the Nav. wanted it back despite what you read. Why? They viewed as a profit center. Time will tell.
Anonymous said…
The way they are going up on park permits, can't help but make lots of money. Then if they could control their mouths, could get HOT funds to help pay for rest. Why they want Paws and Taws. Tommy World as some have said.
Anonymous said…
The current price for the Yearly pass is $15 not $20. And which would you rather have, a slight increase in cost or a higher tax to cover the expenses? Majority of the passes are purchased by out of town guests so why not have them pay for the maintenance/clean up rather than the residents?
Anonymous said…
If you don't think it's factual, CHECK THE FACTS, this is all public record!
Anonymous said…
No one has said that the Nav Dist is taking over Paws N Taws. The property is coming up for lease again. Instead of griping on here maybe you should attend the meetings and find out the facts or ASK QUESTIONS!
Anonymous said…
Could have been that the City operated at a loss for 25 years and the public had to pick up these costs in taxes. Would you rather continue to have rising taxes? No one at the Nav Dist wants Paws and Taws. It's property lease will come up to be renewed. Why is it no one wants the Rockport Beach to run in the black for the first time in 25 years?
Anonymous said…
I'm sure some of the people commenting DO attend the meetings, person above (I'm guessing is Tommy Moore or another ACND board member). This online forum creates an anonymous space for people to ask questions (and gripe), perhaps ones they are too embarrassed to ask at the meeting in person. You and your cronies can be quite intimidating. Perhaps you should take this banter to heart and publish another document of just facts, minus the 'thank yous'.
Anonymous said…
City expenses in excess of revenues collected were paid with HOT funds that are paid by out of town people staying here and enjoying our town. Not tax money. Expense were higher for the city because of law enforcement presence. Nav district has NO enforcement authority, they cannot make ordinances for the beach. It is not a good substitution. That is why all of the road signs were gone from beach. City ordinances were no longer in effect. Nav district knew they were on their own and think they want to be in the entertainment business. That is why the will not renew Paws and Taws lease, am sure it will be Fultons' fault though. As was said before, Tommy World is coming. Didn't he try some kind of music thing that fell through? He is in the entertainment business and does a great job there. Different rules at nav.
j brown said…
1. The fee to enter the Beach Park is vehicular. One can walk into the Beach free. That darn open Beaches Act getting in the way again.
2. Norma...I mean Annonymous, why did this not make it into the Pilot? You were at the ACND meeting.
3. Whatever reason/excuse the City and County uses to not provide police protection on the beach should be used for all persons getting nailed by the speed traps on the bypass. Both the bypass and beach are owned by the citizens of Texas, inside the Rockport City limits and not maintained by the City.
4.Public information folks: 2010 city budget on beach park:
Revenue: $590,482.00 of which county/acnd monies: $45000, Rockport general fund:$112,535.02 , HOT: 51,854.00, fees: $379,029.02. So the overage was not HOT funds but from the local taxpayers in the past.
5. Police protection in the budget? For 2010 the city paid $115,564.29 for base pay/part time pay/overtime. Either a. the park workers worked for minimum wages or the police protection was in another budget.

I am not trying to beat up on anyone, I am hoping the citizens will take notice and see the Navigation District has saved the local taxpayers $$ by making the beach park pay for itself vs HOT funds, intergovernmental transfers and general fund transfers of which the money comes from the tax payer.

Anonymous said…
No dispute with your numbers, am not going to look them up. U posted fees of $379,029.02 in 2010. Would guess we were just starting out of the recession, so could have been a little down. However above in prepared statement fee revenue was $522,000.
With that amount no one would have needed any tax money and there was discussion a their last meeting of going up to $20, will not need to have as much change since most pay with a twenty dollar bill, What was said. I guess the city did not want to exclude anyone from the beach so you have to walk in if you could not pay. Thanks for the numbers.
Anonymous said…
I guess you are only breaking the law if you get caught, trap or not. Some try to live by the law. Way too many numbers at this hour, but in short it looks like there was $379,029.02 in fees income for 2010. Was most likely down some as we were just coming out of the recession. You stated in your prepared statement above fees were $522,000 for 2013. Would guess number were up as we move forward from recession. It also included the fee increase to $15 annual I think. Understand it was stated in your meeting, fee needed to go to $20 annual, save on making change at gate. Of course one could carry their ice chest,food, drinks, shade and toys in for free as you stated. Don't see that happening. It looks like the taxpayers got a good rate of return of their investment of $112,535.02 in the HOT funds generated for all. Just do not see ACND having all of the tools to be in the entertainment business. Should be fixing some bulkheads and dredging to keep us off the bottom. What fees and taxes pay to do. Where are the sewer lines at Cove Harbor, building one heck of a restaurant down there. Can't wait. Are condos next?
Anonymous said…
It is not prorated because it is much cheaper to buy one color a year (instead of 12) and check the incoming vehicles quicker. Perhaps you should have checked before you purchased.
j brown said…
First I would like to thank the WWN for the forums they present which allow one to express their opinions. I also thank them for helping me realize that even though some prefer to stay "anonymous" which makes it very easy to become sarcastic, these persons who elect to stay "anonymous" are humans which must be treated with dignity and respect.
Back to the issue at hand. I can't comment on the ACND numbers as I haven't seen their actual p/l to verify. I did obtain the City's numbers from City Hall several years ago when I went on a tirade against the TML. However, if you guys would like, I will go to the ACND office and request the ACND's p/l and report back or meet any of you over a cup of coffee and discuss
I was also not at the ACND meeting so I can't respond to whether there was a motion to raise the entry fee to $20. Personally I would be totally against raising the fee as at the end of the day, fees are just another tax. However, fees can be sometimes justified as they are generally levied on the persons using the particular venue. (I can't believe I am justifying a tax) Again I will go to the ACND office and ask for a copy of the minutes to find out if indeed a motion was made to raise fees and report back or meet you over a cup of coffee and discuss.
You say "it looks like the taxpayers got a good rate of return on their investment of $ 112,535.02 in HOT funds" . (actually the HOT contribution was $51,854) Of course the taxpayers did, they didn't pay the HOT tax. But what about the $45000 from the local taxpayers via the County/ACND contribution and the $112,535.02 from the Rockport general fund? Those dollars came directly from confiscation via local property taxes. At the end of the day, one could say the beach park fees are much like HOT taxes as most of the local taxpayers do not pay the tax. A local taxpayer does not pay the HOT tax unless they utilize a local motel and a local taxpayer does not pay the HOT tax unless they drive their car into the beach park.
There were also many references to other ACND properties and duties which truly makes me wonder if this is all about the fees and beach park or just sour apples. If sour apples, there is really no reason to continue to discuss as it is not productive and I suggest you use your efforts on issues of importance as in the grand scheme of things, the ACND is not a substantial enough entity to utilize so much passion and effort. If the issue is indeed the raising of fees and people not being able to afford entry to the beach park via vehicle, there may be a solution. Although I personally would be against it, I would bet the ACND would be willing to lower or eliminate the entry fees if the County contributed the same amount of HOT taxes and the City contributed the same amounts from their general fund as was contributed when the City operated the Beach Park.
I would love to discuss over a cup of coffee any time, I will buy.

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