Port of Port Townsend executive director Sam Gibboney stands on the boat launch at the Port Townsend boat haven - one of the many Port properties that will benefit from the Port’s 2017 capital projects plan. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Port of Port Townsend executive director Sam Gibboney stands on the boat launch at the Port Townsend boat haven - one of the many Port properties that will benefit from the Port’s 2017 capital projects plan. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Port of Port Townsend facing challenges in 2017 budget due to repairs, projects list

Yhe port is looking at $16 million worth of capital projects — many of which are much-needed repairs.

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port of Port Townsend is preparing its 2017 budget and is still facing some challenges due to a long list of major repairs and projects needed throughout Jefferson County.

“It’s not so much that we’re not being profitable, but that we’re facing a backlog of capital projects,” Port of Port Townsend Executive Director Sam Gibboney said Monday.

“How we’re going to address that backlog is probably the bigger issue.”

The port’s budget is made up of operating revenue along with a property tax levy and a state forest and timber grant.

According to Gibboney, the port is projecting an operating revenue of $5.6 million for 2017 and operating expenses of $4.9 million.

They are also expecting a $48,000 grant and $965,000 from the port levy.

However, the port is currently looking at $16 million worth of capital projects — many of which are much-needed repairs.

“With where we are now, the organization will not be able to make the necessary investments,” said Gibboney.

The port released a statement Sept. 23 explaining that the port was assessing all of its properties in Jefferson County in an effort to find ways to beef up its 2017 budget.

One of the most notable capital projects is the breakwater at Point Hudson in Port Townsend, which is expected to cost between $5 million and $6 million.

Gibboney said the Point Hudson Marina has struggled to operate in the black but does have a lot of historical and cultural significance in the area.

“That makes it an important investment,” Gibboney said.

“We’re hoping to really work with community members, partners, stakeholders and likely a consultant to figure out how to make Point Hudson viable.”

The Boat Haven in Port Townsend also needs an emergency repair on part of the breakwater which Gibboney said the port hopes to deal with this fall.

The Boat Haven is also slotted for a $58,000 bathroom remodel, according to the current draft of the 2017 Capital Improvements plan.

Also on the list for 2017 is the very first steps — permitting and engineering — for a new runway at the Jefferson County International Airport.

That project is estimated to cost more than $1 million and is expected to be continued in 2018.

“We’re seeing increases in revenue from last year, but also increased expenses,” Gibboney said.

“We’re hoping to increase our net operating income.”

The 2016 budget was projected at $5.4 million for operating revenue and $3 million for operating expenses.

However, according to Gibboney, the port has been dealing with a long list of capital projects for years and they aren’t alone in this issue — in fact aging infrastructure has been an issue across the United States in recent years.

“There were big investments made in the 1930s to the 1960s,” Gibboney said.

“Since then, we, as the country, haven’t kept up with infrastructure needs, so the Port of Port Townsend isn’t unusual in this.”

Currently there are no cuts or sales planned for the 2017 budget, however the port has discussed implement new fees — like a possible commercial use fee at the Herb Beck Marina in Quilcene — to help with expenses.

Gibboney and the rest of the Port of Port Townsend commissioners will be discussing the 2017 budget at a public workshop Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at 333 Benedict St. in Port Townsend.

They will also have a regular meeting Wednesday at 1 p.m at the same location.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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