Poulsbo port commissioner: Revenue would be used to replace creosoted pilings, improve other facilities

POULSBO — Port of Poulsbo Commissioner Steve Swann, a longtime advocate for the expansion of the port district’s boundaries, says property taxes paid by district property owners will decrease in 2017.

“Because real estate property values have increased in 2016, port taxes are going down approximately 6 percent,” he wrote in his latest Scuttlebutt column. “For example, for a $360,000 home, the 2016 tax of $108 will be reduced to $101.69 next year. The formula for this and the district’s rate is complicated, and ultimately, the Kitsap County Assessor’s office sets the tax rate for port district residents.

“There is more good news. The marina’s fuel barge, with an estimated replacement cost of around $1 million, is good for another 10-15 years. An extensive inspection followed by needed maintenance by Foss in Seattle will only cost about $200,000, substantially less than first estimated. The port will be back in the business of selling fuel in early November. Importantly, profits from selling fuel to boaters serves as a significant revenue generator for the Port District. While we’re discussing ‘good news,’ we can report that the new replacement sewage pump-out station is up and properly running.”

Swann writes this argument for the proposed port district boundary expansion (Prop. 1 on Poulsbo ballots):

“Removal of creosote – the poison leaching into Liberty Bay – remains as one of the port’s greatest goals for the next few years. Currently, there are over 1,100 creosote-coated piles forming the aged and rotting breakwater. In August and September editions of The Scuttlebutt, I discussed plans and funding needs for the marina.

“In the August edition of The Scuttlebutt, I explored several funding options for the next major capital expenditure for the Port District … removal of the creosote-coated breakwater and its replacement with an environmentally-friendly, floating breakwater.

“Voting ‘yes’ in November to enlarge the Port District to more closely match Poulsbo city limits will increase available bond funding by an additional $1.3 million. Also, annual tax revenue will increase by approximately $114,000. While this new revenue may not sound significant, it will go a long way in making our payments on the money the port will need to borrow for the breakwater and creosote removal project …

“I often am asked ‘who’ benefits from our soundly-run, well-managed marina at the Port of Poulsbo. Here are a few thoughts: Poulsbo merchants, from Front Street to Highway 305 to Olhava, and beyond; families in the community, and out-of-towners, who visit Waterfront Park for picnics, concerts, paddle boarding, sailing, and kayaking; Poulsbo Police and North Kitsap Fire District, receiving moorage from the port for the police boat and the newly-arriving fire boat; Western Washington University, with its popular Marine Lab, located in a marina boathouse; environmentally alert Liberty Bay community members, hoping to avoid pollution damage from derelict boats which the port has actively worked to eliminate; North Kitsap residents, involved in disaster and earthquake planning, who appreciate the port’s efforts to coordinate emergency water-oriented transportation with other local marinas; property owners, both shoreline and inland, eager to preserve land values while keeping port taxes low; new businesses looking to relocate to a scenic waterfront and marina community.

“Bottom line? All beneficiaries of our Port District should share the current, though modest, financial responsibility of maintaining the port’s first-class marina.”

Here’s what the North Kitsap Herald wrote in supporting enlargement of the port district’s boundaries.