An Alma city ordinance charging a $5 launch fee for use of public boat landings doesn't apply to a ramp at a city-owned harbor leased to Lockport Marine, Inc.
That was the unanimous ruling of a 3-member panel in an arbitration decision settling a dispute between the City of Alma and Lockport Marine.
Language of a lease agreement between Alma and Lockport Marine was "clear, simple and unambiguous" that users of the marina landing could not be charged fees, arbitrators agreed.
The Alma City Council passed an ordinance in March that set fees for using public boat landings. The city argued that the fee also applied to the boat launch ramp at the marina.
Lockport Marine argued that its lease exempted the marina ramp from fees and took its case to arbitration as allowed under the lease agreement.
Alma is collecting boat launch fees at two other public landings on the north and south sides of the city. The ordinance allowing fees for those landings was not challenged.