As they observed social distancing practices, the Port of Port Townsend commissioners hosted their meeting via Zoom video conference. The public could participate through the platform or by emailing public comments.

As they observed social distancing practices, the Port of Port Townsend commissioners hosted their meeting via Zoom video conference. The public could participate through the platform or by emailing public comments.

Port of Port Townsend considers ways to ease strain on tenants

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port of Port Townsend has announced it will extend boat yard discounts and is considering other ways to help its tenants.

The discounted work yard rates that began in October are being extended until the end of April to help customers who are in the yard and may remain there longer than originally planned as a result of Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay home order issued last week.

The standard daily rate of the dry dock is 77 cents per foot per day. The discounted rate is 36 cents per foot per day. To get the discount, other fees must be paid by Tuesday.

“By extending the discounted rates, we hope to help our customers and our tenants who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Port Executive Director Eron Berg said in a press release issued Friday.

During its Wednesday meeting, conducted through Zoom, commissioners heard public comment that urged them to ease moorage payments.

“The IRS just pushed back tax filing deadlines to July 15, Washington state is offering concessions to property tax payments, school loan interest has been deferred and the Port Townsend Mainstreet Program is recommending that commercial landlords provide rent leniency, wrote Jeff Kelety in a public comment.

“In the port’s case, late fees could be eliminated over the next three months. Additionally, the port’s boater receivership policy could be relaxed over this period if the tenant were to lose their boat, specifically due to impacts from the virus,” he continued.

“Policies such as this could help in sustaining the vibrant boating environment through this crisis.”

Commissioners are considering deferring rent for tenants who rely on tourism for up to three months. Deferred rent would then be repaid over a 12-month period. This offer might be extended to other tenants depending on how the economic crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds.

The port has waived late fees and cancellation fees for moorage tenants but commissioners will discuss waiving the fees altogether for a specified amount of time at the April 8 and April 22 port meetings.

The port also has taken steps to restrict its spending.

Berg has instructed port managers to scrutinize their budgets and eliminate or delay any expenditures where they can.

Deferred are a nearly $300,000 dredging project near Quilcene and the purchase of a $250,000 self-propelled boat handler.

Port officials are considering using some $432,000 of the more than $800,000 Industrial Development District (IDD) levy funds to move other projects along.

Among these would be the pilot center at the Jefferson County International Airport, electrical improvements at the Boat Haven Work Yard, electrical pedestal replacement at two docks in at the Boat Haven and the renovation of D-dock.

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Ken Park can be reached at kpark@soundpublishing.com.

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