On Tuesday morning, the board of directors of the Steamship Authority unanimously approved an operating budget of $ 119.6 million for 2022. SSA treasurer and comptroller Mark Rozum told the board that the revenues expected operating costs for 2022 are $ 123.7 million. This represents an increase of 2.1% compared to the 2021 budget.
According to Rozum’s staff summary: “Automotive revenues are expected to increase by approximately $ 1,393,000, or 3.3%; freight revenues are expected to increase by approximately $ 1,745,000, or 5%; passenger revenues are expected to decrease by $ 445,000, or 1.5%, while parking revenues are expected to increase by $ 115,000, or 1.9% from [the] Budget 2021. Other revenue, including interest income, grant revenue and license fees, is expected to increase by $ 3,782,000 or 74% over the 2021 budget. ”
Fuel is the biggest cost driver for operating expenses in 2022, Rozum said. He forecasted a 36.5% increase in fuel costs, which will translate to overall costs of $ 8.1 million in 2022, up from just over $ 5.9 million in 2021.
According to its staff report, vessel operating expenses in 2022 are expected to increase by about $ 3.2 million or 12.8%. “During 2022, the Steamship Authority is expected to use approximately 3,441,000 gallons of ship fuel oil,” the staff report said. “Currently, we expect the delivered price of fuel, including hedging premiums, to be between $ 1.81 and $ 2.49 per gallon versus a range of $ 1.75 to $ 1.88 for the 2021 budget. “
In other cases, the board of directors voted unanimously to award a $ 9.6 million contract to NextGrid Inc. and Madison Energy Partners of Bedford for a solar awning rental and construction project. at the Thomas B. Landers car park in Falmouth. SSA chief executive Robert Davis said the project would provide an estimated annual rent of $ 415,000 in the first year of the lease to $ 727,705 in the 20th year of the lease. The project will also allow NextGrid to sell electricity and net metering credits at a current value of $ 654,057.
Davis said the project had been the subject of an earlier feasibility study and that a report from that study showed the site was suitable for a solar canopy project.
The board of directors voted unanimously to authorize a review and overhaul of the $ 1.4 million hull of the Island Home at Senesco Marine in North Kingston, RI. The overhaul will include rudder, propeller and shaft maintenance, coatings application, structural steel renewal, bow thruster overhaul and bow door overhauls and stern.
Of 10 shipyards that received bid packages, two submitted bids, Davis told the board.
Ahead of the vote, New Bedford board member Moira Tierney noted that there was a $ 100,000 gap between the winning bid and the other bidder, Thames Shipyard. She described the Thames as a shipyard with which the SSA “seemed to be very lucky”. Conversely, she said: “We had problems with Senesco”. She asked Davis if Carl Walker, former SSA maintenance and engineering director, worked at Senesco.
“I believe Mr. Walker works for them, yes,” Davis said.
Walker left the SSA in early 2020. SSA and Seneco got into a fight over the hefty $ 18 million overhaul of the Martha’s Vineyard quarantine in 2018. Later, after signing a contract with Senesco for revise the Katama, the SSA quarreled with the Rhode Island Shipyard on this ship and in the end it was sent to the Thames Shipyard instead. A Senesco spokesperson told The Times in 2020 that Senesco was not aware of any procurement or ethics issues related to Walker and the Katama.
Tierney asked if a difference of $ 100,000 when comparing the two shipyards would not make Thames’ offer the more responsible offer of the two.
“Since the issues we had with the Martha’s Vineyard, we have sent other vessels to Senesco for repairs and overhauls,” Davis said. “Their proposal met the requirements for it to be a responsive offer. And so the staff recommend that they get the contract.
“I would like to add as well,” said Mark Amundsen, SSA director of maritime operations, “I think it’s important for us to have several dry dock companies working with us in case we have a situation. We have also amended the contracts and increased the damages to $ 10,000 per day… I feel comfortable going with Senesco Shipyard on that basis as we need to develop another good yard. naval other than Thames Shipyard.