MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – A few Whitesburg Yacht Club members said since Ditto Landing took over The Madison County Boat Harbor things haven't been going as planned.
"There were several meetings, there were hundreds of people that showed up. There were people who couldn't get into the room. Not a single one of them was for this idea," Customer John Howerton said.
Howerton said he feels like he's being robbed. He said rental costs have jumped tremendously since Ditto took over. He's currently paying $90 a month. He said those rates will increase to more than 200 dollars.
Ditto has given boathouse owners at The Madison County Boat Harbor five different options as to what they can do with their property. They have until Monday May 14, 2017 to make a decision. The full list of options listed below.
Whitesburg Harbor Yacht Club Commodore Theo Galzerano decided to sell his boathouse to Ditto Landing. "I personally just can not afford what they choose to make me pay and the things I need to do to maintain it," Galzerano explained.
Howerton said the price Ditto Landing is offering to buy the boathouse for isn't fair. "If I go with Ditto I either give it to them or I can get a $1.50 a foot, which means I'll get $800 to maybe $1,200 for it," Howerton explained.
Ditto's Executive Director Brandi Quick understands their frustration. She said a transition committee came up with the price and decided it was a fair amount.
Quick said when they were deeded the property last year they slowly increased rates. "There are incremental quarterly increases with the final increase being January 1, 2018," Quick explained.
She said the insurance company is mandating they do improvements; which is one of the reasons why rates are going up. "We have been put on notice that electrical needs work, as well as the dock, and access to the dock needs to be replaced," Quick said. She explained the current rates at The Madison County Boat Harbor are below market price.
Some customers have also accused Ditto of moving the scheduled Ditto Landing Board of Directors meeting because they didn't want to hear complaints. The meeting was scheduled for Monday, May 8th. It was pushed back until Tuesday, May 16th the day after customers have to make a decision on what to do with their property.
Quick said the meeting was pushed back because not all of the volunteer board members were available to have the meeting.