Port of Poulsbo mulls 7.5% rate increase

The Port of Poulsbo is proposing a rate increase of 7.5 percent in 2019 to help meet current operation costs and to prepare for plans to replace an aging, creosote breakwater at the downtown Poulsbo marina.

Port of Poulsbo commissioner Mark DeSalvo said 5 percent of the increase would go toward meeting previously budgeted operations costs and 2.5 percent will be earmarked for use on the breakwater replacement project. A breakwater fund was started in the 2018 budgeting process and saw 2.5 percent of revenue being dedicated to the future payment of the project. The additional 2.5 percent increase in 2019 would see a total of 5 percent of the port’s revenue going toward the breakwater replacement.

“No decisions were made, but everyone seemed to be kind of agreeable [to the proposal],” DeSalvo said. “I hate increases as much as anyone, but we’ve got capital improvements. We got that wall that’s going to fall down, and I got a marina to protect.”

DeSalvo said he hoped that with the replacement of the breakwater at the marina with a floating dock, set to be donated by Elliott Bay, the port might mitigate some of the costs of the project, and possibly even develop new revenue sources.

“We’re going to be making a huge improvement to public access,” DeSalvo said. ”Essentially we’re making a Poulsbo public pier, or a floating park in a sense. These piers are 12 feet wide. We can put picnic tables on them. When you do that, you start doing it not just for the boaters. That’s when some grant money starts becoming available.”

A message sent out by the Poulsbo Boaters Association — a nongovernmental group that seeks to represent the interests of boaters in Liberty Bay and residents in the Poulsbo Port District — said claims by port officials that rates were much lower than other marinas nearby wasn’t reasonable, given the state of the port.

“This is very shaky rationale due to the myriad differences among the marinas,” the email reads. “Differences such as: condition, facilities, options, accessibilities, services, parking, etc.”

DeSalvo was keen to point out that the commission has not yet voted on the proposal to raise rates at the port. The next meeting of the Poulsbo Port Commission will be on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Poulsbo City Hall council chambers.

—Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter for the North Kitsap Herald. Nick can be reached at ntwietmeyer@soundpublishing.com

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