Marinas and campgrounds across East Tennessee are preparing for a new fee system that will affect businesses that operate on its shorelines.
Under TVA's new system, about 170 commercial marinas and campgrounds will have to pay either the fair market value of the their property or a gross percentage of revenue to TVA. The gross percentage revenue totals 4 percent. It goes into effect January 1, 2013.
More Information: TVA Commercial Recreation Management Fee
TVA said it decided to implement the new plan after it found inconsistencies under the old system.
"TVA wants to be very fair and consistent as to how we administer these fees across the valley," said James Adams, TVA senior manager of commercial and public recreation.
He said under the old agreement, many marinas and campgrounds had payment plans that were disimilar to one another. Adams said the new system would be fair in that it provides the same options to everyone.
"We looked across the valley and realized we had some inconsistencies," he said.
But, many reservoir businesses do not approve of the forthcoming change.
"Well, dreadfully, I think a lot of marinas are going to have to pass it down to their customers," said Justin Noah, general manager of Hickory Star Marina in Maynardville.
Noah said his marina will see a one-thousand percent increase in the amount of money it owes TVA for residing on Norris Lake. He would not release just how much money that translates to, however, he did say he has heard of marinas on the lake that will now have to pay $60,000 more than they have to in the past.
"It hurts as far as planning for the future of the marina," he said. "We want to invest in the marina and we know that if we have higher bills, it's going to be less that we can invest."
E.L. Morton, the executive director of the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, said he expects the change to have a major impact on Campbell County too.
He said there is concern marinas in the county will be discouraged from making any capital investments.
"These marinas are anywhere from two to seven million properties and we beg people to invest and we beg people to invest that kind of money in our communities," Morton said.
He said he feels TVA needs to focus more on how its projects affect tourism.
"We ask for some recognition, by some very smart public servants in TVA, that tourism gains a place at the table and that we don't seek to extract value out of our tourism business base," Morton said.
Adams said it sought out the help of industry consultants and other agencies who have made similar moves, like the State of Kentucky and Army Corps. of Engineers.
Adams also told 10News the fee increase will likely generate around $2 million. However, TVA will not have a definite figure on that amount until around April 2014.