Bremerton port budget approved by commissioners

A 2014 preliminary budget of $14.4 million was approved Tuesday by Bremerton Port commissioners.

A 2014 preliminary budget of $14.4 million was approved Tuesday by Bremerton Port commissioners.

The budget calls for $5.1 million to be spent on operations in 2014 and another $8.7 in capital projects.

Commissioners spent the last month looking at both the capital and operating expenditures in the draft budget which was put together by Port CFO Becky Swanson.

Some of the recommendations of the port staff in the preliminary budget which garnered the most discussion were a $200,000 WiFi system and $175,000 for more security cameras at the Bremerton Marina.

Also questioned were the suggestions of purchases of a minivan at $20,000 for use as a shuttle at the Bremerton Marina and a truck and snowplow at $25,000 for the airport operations.

Ultimately, in the budget passed Tuesday, all of those things were funded, except for a second small pickup truck at $19,000.

Swanson said the budget was based on no increase in the current property tax rate.

She said the port’s allowable tax rate is 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, but that for the fifth year in a row, the port was choosing not to increase its tax rate and was keeping it at 39 cents, the same as last year.

She also said the the budget calls for the same staffing levels and has little to no “contingency fall back” funds in the event of a weather or environmental catastrophe. The port, however, does have reserves.

In this year’s budget, just 26 percent of it is based on the property tax income that the port receives.

“We’re down from 46 percent in 2008, and that’s something for which we are really proud,” Swanson said.

Indeed all the commissioners said they were pleased with that, and with the fact that the proposed budget did not include any property tax increases to residents of the port district.

“This commissioners has no intentions of raising taxes in 2014,” said Axel Strakeljahn.

On the income side of things, the port will receive $3.4 in general tax levy dollars and another $3.6 in facility revenues. Bonds and grants (mostly from the FAA) income is estimated to be $7.3 million, with another $19,486 in non-operating income. That income equals the $14.4 million in expenditures that the port anticipates, thus creating a balance budget as required by law.

On the expense side, the port predicts $7.3 million in cost to run the airport and another $1.2 million for the airport-industrial park expenses. The Bremerton Marina’s budget is set at $1.1 million, while the Port Orchard Marina is expected to cost $1.1 million to operate in 2014.

Other marina/parks costs are set at $1.6 million and the general fund is set at $720,000. Another $60,000 is planned to be spent on Chico and Seabeck properties, while the is an anticipated $459,126 that will be paid out on loans and bond payments.

Costs for the business park at set at $$394,015 and there is $168,250 listed in fund transfers to reserves.

The budget now goes to a final vote of commissioners at the port meeting on Nov. 12. Prior to that vote, there will be a time for public comment on the budget, which can be viewed at the port’s website,

Commissioners also approved a lease with the Hagerman Pre Cast company of Poulsbo for 1.21 acres and a building in Olympic View Industrial Park, a port property. The lease terms include a monthly rent of $800 and the lease is for five years.

The building previously used by another pre-cast company and was recently re-roofed by the port at a cost of more than $70,000.

Commissioner Roger Zabinski pointed out that the roof will pay for itself in eight years.

Commissioners also approved a contract with Bob Wise, of Marsh Anderson LLC, Bainbridge Island, for marketing services for the Bremerton Marina.

Wise was previously under contract with the port but that contract expired and the port staff sought approval from commissioners of an extension. This contract will pay Wise $4,300 per month through May 31, 2014. Previously, Wise was paid $9,000 a month for five months which ended in mid September.

Commissioners were scheduled to discussed changing the port commission from three to five members during a work session at the meeting, but that was postponed to December.