Steelaway is not leaving Part One

Steelaway is not leaving Part One

Posted in the St. Marys Forum

John Fazzio Anne Stone

Cordele, GA

#1 Apr 20, 2013
Tommy Weaver, Gene Hope and your associates:

First may we say we're sorry you don't like us, there's a lot of people we don't care for either, yet we try not to badmouth them behind their backs, nor slander them in public.

We arrived in St. Marys September, 2009 and anchored up the the river, past Lang' west and on the eastern edge where there was deep water. During a visit to shore, we were asked by the city manager, Bill Shanahan, if we would consider extending our stay. He felt, along with other city officials, we would be a great tourist attraction and good asset to the community. We agreed to stay. In the presence of Bilaal Muhammad, the City Marshal at the time, Bill Shanahan the City Manger and a department head whose name we will not disclose as he still holds that position, on September 30, 2009, we requested to pay for water, even though we were informed it was free. Bill Shannahan agreed and in the referred to company above, called Ms. Jennifer Brown and set it up such that we could pay for water. We made our first payment that day. After this, you all continued to instigate and aggravate all sailing vessels use of water at the waterfront and you all continue to do so with your slander about us not paying for water.
Diagnosis and treatment for cancer took up the year, 2010 and the first third of 2011.
In July of 2011, we approached the City Council for permission to host Free, Open to the Public Educational Tours of our traditional sailing vessel, Schooner Steelaway. A motion was made and unanimously approved for us to conduct these tours, using city docking spaces for 'Maritime Related Activities'. Go pull the minutes and see for your selves. We were asked to purchase an Occupational Tax Certificate, which we did and continue to do each year. Nothing else was asked of us.
In mid-April 2012, due to interest to take rides on a traditional sailing vessel, we tested the waters for possibly setting up a business using our vessel for Scenic, Pleasure Cruises. At this time we purchased a comprehensive insurance policy with oil pollution liability, protection and indemnity, uninsured watercraft, medical payments, longshore and harbor workers' compensation and an attachment that covers sinking of the vessel at city owned properties. The additional insured name is “City of St. Marys”. This policy is current, paid in full and due for renewal in September 2013.
Since April, 2012 we have run less than a dozen pleasure cruises. This is not due to lack of interest. Our Free educational tours are just that...FREE. It has been wonderful to see the smiles and thrill the children have when visiting our vessel. We would like to continue doing this.
We do not pollute. We have an Icinolet which electrically burns waste, solid and liquid. We do pump our grey water overboard. This is legal. It consists of dish water and shower water.
We maintain fire, sinking and security watch and 99% of the time someone is on board because we have machinery in operation and running. Because of our size there are different regulations imposed by the USCG, who is our authority. Go read the rules.
We swing on the Fl1 mooring buoy, permitted by and located in Florida, in excess of nine months of the year. The remainder of the time is spent in Georgia.
We are a Federally Documented Vessel and our port of call is in Louisiana. We are still awaiting a ruling from the state officials of Georgia as to what our tax liabilities are. Bureaucracy is not swift.
For over a year we have sought out and pushed for a docking use agreement with the City of St. Marys, GA, involving a fee. We continue to await something we can look over and sign, if it is acceptable. Until there is an ordinance in effect, which requires the City Council approval, we cannot pay any kind of docking fee, we have tried. The one time we managed to get a payment through, it was rescinded. It simply is not legal for us to pay anything until the City Council makes a decision.

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