By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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The commission approved a $629,831.53 bid from Olympic Electric Co. Inc. of Port Angeles to install a new visual-approach slope-indicator system and to replace gate access systems at William R. Fairchild International Airport.
The work will be funded at 90 percent by a Federal Aviation Administration grant, with 10 percent coming from the port, said Jerry Ludke, airport and marina manager.
There were two other bidders: Colvico Electrical Contractor of Spokane and Tactical Constructors Corp. of Fife.
Olympic Electric’s low bid came in well under the engineer’s estimate of $791,418, Ludke said.
Work is expected to begin in September as soon as the grant is received from the FAA, he said.
Ludke said the new gate control system will replace a failing 10-year-old system and be managed from a single computer system, increasing security at the airport.
Commissioner Colleen McAleer said she was happy to see a local contractor win the bid and that she would like to see whether there is a legal way to give some kind of preference or consideration to local businesses.
Commissioners interviewed three firms to help the port create a five-year strategic plan to replace the expired 2009-13 plan.
A budget of $30,000 was set by the port for the plan’s planning and creation.
The firms interviewed were AECOM Technology Corp., a large Los Angeles firm; Beckett Group, a small firm from Gig Harbor; and Maul Foster & Alongi, a medium-sized firm from Bellingham.
Each firm was given 45 minutes for a presentation and to answer commissioner and port staff questions about the firm’s approaches to the process.
Commissioners established to the presenters that they were looking for a firm that can create a plan that looks beyond five years to 30 or 50 years in the future.
All three presentations included an analysis of the port’s previous strategic plan, and each agreed the port had a strong plan in place but said it lacked a metric to measure the progress or success of those plans.
That metric and identifying what type of business interests the port ought to be pursuing to create more jobs in the 21st century are what commissioners said they are pursuing.
They also said they are seeking a backup plan for what the port will do if the current market changes.
“One-third of port revenues are based on the China log market,” McAleer said.
No vote was taken to select a firm Tuesday. Selection will be scheduled for a later date.
In other business, the port commission reviewed a draft of a proposed leasing policy update.
The draft policy is 13 pages long and is the first update to the port’s leasing policy since a three-page policy was approved in 1994.
It details how port staff are to manage, negotiate and set prices for leases of port property.
The port manages some unique properties that aren’t duplicated in privately owned commercial properties, noted Ken O’Hollaren, port executive director.
“We make the market in some places,” he said.
The port began revising its leasing policies by turning month-to-month leases into longer-term leases following a whistleblower complaint last year by McAleer, who was then port director of business development.
The state Auditor’s Office subsequently cited several leases that were out of compliance with port policies.
On Tuesday, McAleer said she would like to see leases based not on the real estate value of port properties, as it is currently measured, but on commercial lease market values.
No vote was taken on the leasing policy, and it was returned to staff for additional work.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.