Submitted by The Port of Olympia
Last night the Port of Olympia Commission approved a 2014 Budget and Capital Investment Plan that holds property taxes at 2013 levels. Construction that was new in 2013 will be taxed in 2014.
The Commission chose to forgo the opportunity to take a one percent property tax increase in 2014. The Port may use its tax authority in a future year.
The Port’s five-year plan presented by Finance Director Jeff Smith, CPA, shows a continuing increase in earnings after depreciation. Increased break-bulk cargo activity at the Marine Terminal is driving the growth. Vessel calls have continued to increase from 14 in 2009 to 42 (estimate) in 2014. This is a 300% increase in vessels over the last five years.
Smith said that the challenge will be managing the Port’s environmental remediation costs, all of which are not yet known.
“I support this budget and Capital Investment Plan,” said Commissioner Jeff Davis. “It invests in our local community and our local environment and makes sure we have earnings in the black.” The Port will be working on several significant capital projects in 2014. Project funding is derived from both unspent 2013 and 2014 funds.
The dredge of the Marine Terminal berths and Swantown Boatworks hau-lout area is now underway. The project will enable fully laden vessels to safely utilize all three berths at the terminal, which will increase local jobs and increase tax revenues paid to City of Olympia, Thurston County and State of Washington. Currently, the shallow water depths prevent even two vessels from being fully loaded at the pier.
Currently, the Boatworks must close the haul-out at low tide. The dredge will enable customers to use the haul-out regardless of the tide.
Additionally, the dredge project will help remove contaminated sediments from Budd Inlet.
The Marine Terminal storm water facility is currently in 60 percent design so that it will comply with the new Washington Dept. of Ecology water quality regulations. The Port expects to complete the storm water facility in September 2014. Marine Terminal lessees have agreed to pay their share of the project’s annual costs.
So that the Port can attract regular break-bulk cargoes such as wind turbine blades and heavier equipment, the 2014 budget includes the purchase of a mobile harbor crane that is capable of heavy lifts.
The Port plans to construct a new maintenance facility to repair its equipment on the terminal. This is an approximately $1.3 million investment. The current maintenance facility was determined to be unsafe in the case of fire or earthquake.
Olympia Regional Airport will receive refurbishments to taxi lanes and taxiways, and also hangar repairs. These are necessary maintenance activities which also will contribute to safety.
Over one million dollars in improvements to Tumwater Town Center will include bringing fiber optic internet connection to customers, and renovating and re-purposing the buildings.
Swantown Marina’s marine fueling facility project is going into final design and permitting which are expected to last for several months. At that point, the Commission will be updated on the project and will decide whether to proceed. If the project goes forward, it could be completed by the 2015 boating season.
The Port will renovate Swantown Marina docks A, B and C to ensure safety and quality for customers.
The Boatworks will purchase a new TravelLift with larger capacity to handle a wider variety of customer boats.