Port of PA eyes 4.9% rate hike in new year

PORT ANGELES — The Port of Port Angeles will look at raising most of its rates in 2009 according to the inflation rate — about 4.9 percent, port commissioners were told Monday.

The inflation rate is determined by the Consumer Price Index by the federal Department of Labor.

Additionally, the port expects to raise dockage fees by about 2.5 percent at the marine terminal.

More specific budget numbers are expected at the next port meeting on Oct. 27.

Other expenses expected in the 2009 budget as highlighted at the port commissioners’ meeting Monday was the $175,000 severance that must be paid to the fired former deputy director, David Hagiwara.

The port also expects to have a loss of revenue of about $156,000 in rent, about $120,000 in utilities that must be paid and about $300,000 in improvements which must be made to the shuttered KPly plywood mill.

“One thing we must remember is that it is entirely possible that this mill could be up and running,” Executive Director Bob McChesney said.

“But we can’t depend on that.”

The lost revenue and the improvements could be passed on if the mill finds a new owner, McChesney said.

Former KPly millworker Josh Renshaw of Port Angeles has approached the port about purchasing the mill and bringing it back under its former Peninsula Plywood name.

But no agreement has been reached among the port, Renshaw and his unnamed investors.

Priortizing projects

The commissioners also discussed the prioritization of capital projects.

A total of $3.735 million is available for projects next year.

The projects, as outlined by staff, include

âñ  Airport master plan — $15,000

âñ  Airport taxiway reconstruction phase II — $85,000

âñ  Port Angeles Boat Haven west parking lot paving –$280,000

âñ  Enhancement of the ship repair facility — $250,000

âñ  Cargo berth, crane and equipment — $1.25 million

âñ  Capital projects for Port Angeles Harbor-Works — $400,000

âñ  John Wayne Marina floats and improvements — $350,000

âñ  KPly redevelopment — $300,000

âñ  Obstruction removal at William G. Fairchild International Airport — $10,000

âñ  Travelift sheet pile at the boat yard — $200,000

âñ  Airport Industrial Park space building — $250,000

âñ  Roof repair on several rental properties — $350,000

All of the projects could be re¬­priori¬­tized or removed, or new projects added by the commissioners.

The list developed by port staff included more than $8.6 in capital projects, but only the top goals would be done in the coming year, port financial director Bill James said.

At Monday’s meeting, the commissioners also formally approved a loan agreement between the port and the Harbor-Works Public Development Authority.

The port had already agreed to loan Harbor-Works $150,000, but the loan agreement had not been worked out.

The public development authority was created in May to “re-energize” the cleanup of Port Angeles Harbor and spur action on the dormant Rayonier Inc. property that once housed a pulp mill.

The property cleanup has been stalled for more than seven years.

The agreement states that the port and the city of Port Angeles — which also loaned the group $150,000 — have equal importance and must be paid back on the same priority schedule.

“As long as we are on par with the city and they are not superior to us and we are not superior to them, I’m in agreement with this,” Commissioner Jim McEntire said.

McChesney said that the groups were on par.

__________

Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at paige.dickerson@peninsuladailynews.com.

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