Port of Port Townsend commissioners have approved staff to proceed with issuing a bond to help fund the replacement of the Point Hudson south jetty. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Port of Port Townsend commissioners have approved staff to proceed with issuing a bond to help fund the replacement of the Point Hudson south jetty. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Port of Port Townsend eyes adding debt to fund replacement of Point Hudson breakwater

PORT TOWNSEND — Port of Port Townsend commissioners have agreed to incur debt up to the agency’s capacity, if necessary, to fix the Point Hudson jetty.

Commissioners unanimously approved Wednesday directing staff to move forward on the process of issuing a limited tax general obligation municipal bond to fund replacement of the south breakwater at the Point Hudson Marina.

The south jetty project is estimated to cost $3,067,000. Construction is scheduled for July 2018, according to the port’s capital projects plan.

The port has received a $1,059,173 grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Staff figures the port will need an estimated $2.7 million to $3.2 million bond to cover the rest of the project costs.

Director of Finance Abigail Berg recommended a $3.2 million bond because it will be easier to lower the bond amount during the bonding process rather than raise it later if the project runs over its projected budget.

A limited tax general obligation bond is a type of municipal bond that is guaranteed by the agency’s pledge to use all legal resources, including the levying of property taxes up to a set statutory limit.

Commissioners looked over options provided by Northwest Municipal Advisors on Wednesday.

The project is now in the design phase. A more accurate estimate of construction costs is expected by late November.

A $3.2 million bond will max out the port’s debt capacity, according to the plan Berg presented Wednesday.

Berg added that the port could use the bond money to replenish the $500,000 that will go to the work yard resurfacing and stormwater upgrades in the Boat Haven marina.

The port also will have to tackle the north breakwater at Point Hudson, a project that is estimated to cost $2,253,000. That project will not start until 2019 and the project is funded through a revenue bond, according to the port’s capital projects budget.

The two Point Hudson breakwaters are failing and in need of replacement. Point Hudson serves as the hub of the maritime center’s biggest annual events, such as the Wooden Boat Festival and Race to Alaska, which bring in tourists and community members.

But the project is only one of more than $9 million in capital projects scheduled until 2020.

Port officials have reached out to the city of Port Townsend and the Northwest Maritime Center to help create a collaborative solution that will keep the Point Hudson marina afloat.

Officials also have reached out to the community. At the Wooden Boat Festival earlier this month, members of the public were asked to complete surveys about what they would like to see in Point Hudson.

That survey has since been posted to the port’s website and can be filled out at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-pointhudson.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected]

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