Kingston Port finalizes budget; SoundRunner subsidy will continue through 2012

KINGSTON — After a tumultuous restart to the Port of Kingston’s passenger ferry, SoundRunner, commissioners are still willing to subsidize the service next year.

Commissioners will vote on the preliminary 2012 budget at their next meeting, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. at the port offices, 25864 Washington Blvd., Kingston. Commissioner Pete DeBoer said the port’s two budgets — operating and capital, and SoundRunner — will be presented. He said the port’s healthy budget will fund planned projects, including a security system upgrade, completion of the piling project, and beginning an engineering study to improve water circulation inside Apple Tree Cove.

“We’re not in debt, to start with,” DeBoer said of the port’s monetary health. “We pay good, fair wages but not exorbitant ones. We do a lot of work in-house ... and hire local people.”

The operating budget is $1.2 million, with $811,000 in expenses. SoundRunner’s budgeted guaranteed revenue is $210,000, including $200,000 from the port’s operating budget. But the ferry’s expenses are estimated at $701,000. DeBoer said the port hopes grants, charters and tickets will make up the remaining budget.

Port Executive Director Kori Henry said about 32 to 35 people use SoundRunner daily, and about six use the new ORCA, or “One Regional Card for All,” system. SoundRunner adopted the inter-transit discount card Nov. 1, which can be used in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, and is managed by seven transportation systems, including Kitsap Transit.

Henry said she expects to see an increase in ORCA use in the next few months.


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