PORT TOWNSEND — A study to determine the effect of the maritime industry on the economics of Jefferson County was discussed Monday at the Jefferson commissioners’ regular meeting.
The report is scheduled to be presented to the public at a meeting tentatively scheduled for July 12 at the Northwest Maritime Center.
Port Townsend Marine Trades Association (PTMTA) trustees Pam Petranek and John Simpson, who is a co-owner of Sea Marine Yacht Service located at the Point Hudson campus, told commissioners the group contracted with Martin Associates, an internationally-recognized consulting firm, to conduct an economic analysis of the impacts and value the marine trades brings to the local economy.
John Martin will personally present the study and be available for discussions with governmental officials and other stakeholders.
The study was done without financial or direct involvement from the Port of Port Townsend.
“We thought it was essential to get the facts and we decided to go ahead and do it ourselves,” said Petranek.
“We are aware there are a lot of tensions, public sides,” noted Commissioner Kathleen Kler. “We need to be supportive of our maritime. It’s part of our character and our economic drivers.”
“There are many who feel that business is made more difficult and in jeopardy because of the ways the port conducts some of its business and carries out some of its policies,” said Simpson.
“Number one is the failure to get completed the rehabilitation of the breakwater at Point Hudson. This is of special concern to me because our business is located adjacent to the marina. There is a conversation that’s been ongoing of, I’ll put it, some difficulties between the Marine Trades Association principals, individuals, as well as businesses with respect to the port and how it conducts its business practices.”
The PTMTA believed it would be valuable get the facts about what the marine trades in general and the maritime economy in particular are in Jefferson County. They felt that scientifically-proven data would provide the basis for the conversation going forward.
“We were lucky to get the very best that we can,” said Simpson. “[The port has] not completed an economic impact study. I think that demonstrates clearly, among other things, the marine trades and maritime economy is very important to the present, and I think about the region, and the future of Jefferson County.”
Simpson said the study is embargoed until the July rollout but offered some insight into the findings.
“The study shows the maritime trades are extremely important to Jefferson county’s economy,” he emphasized.
“This is in the obvious primary direction of people who are paid salaries and businesses that earn income from their activities. But as well, almost as significant and as large in terms of numbers, indirect or secondary effects which are the jobs produced and the revenue and taxes produced by individuals employed by the businesses as they spend in the community. And the businesses themselves who not only purchase material but hire services and provide goods for the work that they do in the maritime trades.”
Members of the county, the city, the port, and the state, especially Gov. Jay Inslee’s office, will be invited to the presentation.
The information contained in the study may be used to help direct and prioritize efforts and policies in land use and economic development that impact the marine trades and environment.
“Our maritime industry a wonderful asset, something that should be cherished, sheltered and encouraged,” said Simpson.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected].com.