The proposal to stick Santa Barbara City’s Waterfront Department with the full cost of beach maintenance and waterfront parking lot landscaping–about $186,000 per year–won the unanimous support of the City Council Finance Committee, despite vehement opposition from boat owners who will see their harbor slip fees increase by 5 percent to cover the increased costs. These expenses are currently born by the Parks and Recreation Department, but Councilmember Das Williams pushed for the change, arguing that Parks and Recreation should not subsidize slip fees. Williams and Councilmember Helene Schneider hope to use the saved money to hire groundskeepers to oversee pesticide-free weed control in city parks. The plan proceeds to the City Council next Monday, where its fate is anything but certain. Boat owners and the harbor commission are expected to show up en masse to argue that the extra costs will push middle-class boat owners out of the harbor.

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