We first brought you news of the hiring of a “Part-Time Pier Construction Observer” over the summer. This temporary employee has an 11-month contract (July 23, 2009 – June 23, 2010), working 20 hours per week at an hourly rate of $44.03 (roughly $38,000 total). Main duties of this State-funded position include giving guided tours for elected officials and informing stakeholders if a crisis should arise (or if the crane falls down). Essentially, taxpayer funds are being used to have someone sit around and wait for Sen. Basnight show up and want a tour.
Funny, that’s not what I was thinking when legislators argued “job creation” in favor of this project.
The authorizing legislation (House Bill 628) claimed the creation of 555 on-site jobs, yet it seems no more than 30 men are working on an average afternoon.
The Aquariums Division have proposed the creation of 11 full-time year-round pier staff positions including a Pier Manager, Aquarist/Exhibits Tech, Rental & Events Coordinator, Admissions Manager and Housekeeper. Funding of these positions will cost $557,064 according to a drafted budget.
Aquarium officials believe these positions will be funded by revenue from pier walk-ons, fishing passes and equipment rentals. Yet, quick math indicates that the Pier would need at least 153 visitors paying at least the $10 per day average for a fishing pass all 365 days of a year to break-even. Any budget shortfalls will be covered by the Aquarium’s Admissions fund, supported by your tax-dollars.
It’s becoming clear that this $25 million pier will end up costing taxpayers much, much more.
Be sure to check out the live web-cam of construction here.