Port of PT floats moderate recovery plan

PORT TOWNSEND — Commissioners expect the Port of Port Townsend to lose $1,037,895 in 2020 under a plan mapped by staff members.

Port commissioners agreed Wednesday to follow one of three recovery plans outlined by staff to address revenue mitigation in the wake of the financial impacts of COVID-19.

The moderate recovery plan chosen by commissioners balances what is known now with a conservative outlook for the remainder of 2020.

It assumes that Gov. Jay Inslee will extend his stay-home order past May 4 and that will affect the entire month of June, the traditional starting time of tourist activities at the port.

The plan predicts a 50 percent recovery of the tourist economy through the last six months of the year. Lease revenue at the Boat Haven and Point Hudson will be reduced by 25 percent to address deferred rent payments, storage agreements and loss of tenants.

The port currently has five requests for deferrals on rent for lease tenants and two notices of intent to terminate the lease, one of which is a tenant that has switched to a month to month storage agreement.

“I guess our thinking at the staff level is that the moderate seems pretty bad and that seems like a reasonable scenario based upon the facts as we know it,” said Executive Director Eron Berg.

“Our suggestion is that if that is comfortable for the board, that we will update at least monthly so you would see it the second meeting in May, as well as any updates based on the governor’s roll-out of getting Washington started again.”

The moderate plan considered longer-term effects than the quick recovery plan, which expected Inslee to lift the stay-home order on May 4 — which Inslee said later last week he doesn’t plan to do — and so the effects of the economic slow-down would be limited to April and May, with business returning to normal by June 1.

Under that scenario, the port would see a revenue dip of $406,441. Staff admitted that this was an unlikely scenario.

The extended recovery plan is the worst-case scenario in that the stay-home order remains in effect through the summer season or that effects of the order last through the season. The potential loss in revenue would be about $1.5 million, staff said.

Said Commissioner Pam Patranek: “I think this moderate recovery assumption is very realistic and we’re just going to have to wait and see month by month, week by week.

“I think moderate recovery is an excellent starting place and goal for us and we have a lot of what ifs and I feel like we have good plans in place and we’re being flexible and we will continue to be.”

The staff’s target for end-of-the year cash was $1.9 million, to match the start of the year’s cash balance.

Port staff also outlined adjustments that have been made to address the financial shortfall, while also identifying priority projects that can be funded using Industrial Development District (IDD) funds.

The port expects to have a little over $809,000 in IDD funds, $326,4000 of which would go to the renovation of D-Dock, $55,050 to the linear dock electrical upgrades, $25,000 to Quilcene dredging design and $97,396 for Boat Haven reserve use, leaving about $500,000 left in funds.

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Ken Park can be reached at [email protected]

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