The village of Masset voted Monday night (April 11) to hire a customs officer for the summer, after reading a letter from Omega Packing Company Limited.
Omega general manager Bob Jongewaard wrote that the loss of the customs position would be “disastrous” for the company, which just last year started buying Alaskan salmon to process.
Mr. Jongewaard said last year Omega processed 500,000 pounds of Alaskan fish, and this year expects to process a whopping 3.5 million pounds. But this opportunity and the jobs it would create – a payroll worth $750,000 – would be lost without the customs position, his letter stated.
Council members had previously been thinking about the possibility of not hiring a customs officer this year, because the economic benefits were not completely clear. But after reading the Omega letter, they voted to approve the position.
Administrator Trevor Jarvis said the village hopes to have the customs position in place between mid-June and mid-September, at a cost of approximately $17,000 to $19,000.
Some of that expense will be offset by a docking fee which the village plans to start charging Omega, Mr. Jarvis said. The dock is currently being refurbished, and once that work is done, there will be a fee (in the range of $100, he suggested) to use the dock.
Mr. Jarvis said he had informed Omega that there would probably be a docking fee in place this summer. The company expects to have about three vessels a week coming in for 10 to 12 weeks, he said.
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