Port of Port Angeles reviews its 2024 final draft budget

Grants funding variety of projects

PORT ANGELES — Port of Port Angeles commissioners at their meeting Tuesday reviewed the final draft of the 2024 capital budget that included $14.196 million in projects — more than half of which will be funded with federal and state grants.

The largest award, a U.S. Department of Commerce grant of $6.732 million, was dedicated to Phase II site development of the Marine Trades Center. The port will provide $3.5 million in matching funds for that project.

“We’re still currently on schedule for construction from spring to fall,” said Chris Hart, director of engineering.

Among the other grant-funded port projects slated for 2024 were replacing the launch floats at John Wayne Marina ($343,000) and upgrading its security camera system ($17,600). Upgrades to the security cameras and lighting at the marine terminal ($106,000) and upgrades to the security camera system at Boat Haven ($23,000) were also were planned.

The port received Federal Aviation Administration funds for hangar site design ($100,000) and hangar development ($652,222) that will help it achieve its goal of expanding capacity at William R. Fairchild International Airport.

As is customary with federal and state awards, the port had to meet grant match requirements with its own funds.

The draft budget also looked ahead to the next 20 years when, between 2029 and 2044, the port is anticipated to need $98.934 million in improvements.

Noting that almost all of the line items were for maintenance, Commissioner Steve Burke said he wanted to reach a point where the port could do most of that work itself.

“What I envision us trying to get to is to maintain and repair all of our own stuff,” Burke said. “We take care of our own equipment and that takes some expertise. I’d like to see that with all of our assets.”

Hartman said that while there would always be projects beyond the scope of staff and available equipment, he agreed that the port should maintain its assets in-house as much as possible.

Providing battery charging systems in light of the growing popularity of electric vessels is not in the final draft budget, but it’s something commissioners should be thinking about, said John Nutter, director of finance and administration. Such a project could qualify for state funding, he added.

Among the organizational chart changes being considered for 2024, Nutter said, is splitting the marine and airport terminal manager role, currently held by Jon Picker, into two positions. With Dash Air Shuttle reporting it will start its charter service this month and begin regularly scheduled flights thereafter, it is something commissioners might want to consider, Nutter said.

“I like the idea because it seems like the marina has been getting the short end of the stick because we’ve had so much happening at the airport,” Burke said.

After their meeting concluded, commissioners traveled to the marine terminal to present U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Charles Fosse, commander of the Coast Guard’s 13th District, with a commemorative plaque to thank the crew of the USCG Cutter Alert for providing public tours during the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival on last Friday through Sunday.

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Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at paula.hunt@peninsuladailynews.com.

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