PORT TOWNSEND — Port commissioners have established a reserve fund specifically for property tax levy funds that will be collected throughout Jefferson County for the industrial development district starting next year.
The three Port of Port Townsend commissioners approved the resolution Wednesday and solidified separate leases for spaces occupied by the Schooner Martha Foundation and Revision Marine.
Wednesday also marked the final meeting for Commissioner Steve Tucker, who chose not to run for re-election following two four-year terms.
“To be chosen by your community to help lead the port had been something that I have not taken lightly,” Tucker said. “It’s been really difficult at times, but it’s always been fulfilling.”
Pam Petranek, elected in November to replace Tucker, will be sworn in Jan. 2.
“I want to thank Steve for your years of being a public servant, and now that I’m going to be taking that role on, I understand how much you have to set aside your own things to learn as much as you can,” Petranek said during the public comment session.
Voters approved the industrial development district (IDD) levy in November after a citizen petition forced a county-wide vote. Port commissioners approved the process in March for the second levy, and state law did not require them to ask voters for the funds.
The IDD levy will allow the port to collect property tax for capital improvements for 20 years or until the total amount collected is $16,809,660, the resolution stated.
Wednesday’s unanimous vote created a dedicated reserve fund where those tax dollars will be kept, said Abigail Berg, the port’s director of finance.
“This will be an IDD Capital Reserve Fund with the county treasurer and tracked separately in the port’s accounting system,” the document said.
The funds can be carried over from year to year, and any excess could be used only to retire general obligation debts, Berg said.
Commissioners don’t see that as a likely occurrence given a previously itemized list of capital projects that would cost $14.6 million in today’s dollars, Chair Bill Putney said.
The new lease for the Schooner Martha Foundation was approved for five years with one five-year option at its current location at Point Hudson. It will become effective on Jan. 1.
The foundation had been on holdover status as a tenant in good standing with the port since Nov. 30, 2010, said Eric Toews, the port’s deputy director.
“We’re pleased to be able to continue to accommodate the Schooner Martha Foundation,” Toews said.
“It’s a unique property, really sort of a glorified shed, with a partial dirt floor, no plumbing and no heat,” he said. “They have a small office space, but it’s primarily used for material storage and work related to the foundation’s mission.”
The lease is for 1,600 square feet of marine-related light industrial building shop space and 150 square feet of ground space to be used for storage, port documents said.
The separate lease with Revision Marine, LLC is for a 2,400-square-foot shop and warehouse in the Boat Haven Industrial Park as well as 1,800 square feet of land to be used for storing materials, Toews said.
“They’re doing some cutting-edge propulsion, trying to find zero emissions,” he said. “They were occupying this space as a sub-tenant, and they are seeking to become the lessee.”
Commissioners approved a five-year lease with no additional options.
“We are pleased to offer what amounts to an incubator space for a new business,” Toews said. “They are in a very nascent stage here, so hopefully over the coming two to three years they can build a solid foundation, and they’re hopefully in a position to hire employees.”
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].