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Indianola dock needs could spur property tax hike

An assessment of the Indianola dock will determine what improvements need to be made. Creosoted pilings will need to be replaced. A property tax increase may be required in order to pay for the increase.  - Megan Stephenson / Herald
An assessment of the Indianola dock will determine what improvements need to be made. Creosoted pilings will need to be replaced. A property tax increase may be required in order to pay for the increase.
— image credit: Megan Stephenson / Herald

INDIANOLA — The Port of Indianola may have to raise property taxes to pay for improvements to the Indianola dock, depending on the outcome of an assessment of the dock.

The assessment, being done by an engineering firm, is about 75 percent complete, Port Commissioner Judith Frank said Wednesday. Some of the dock’s pilings, for example, are close to 100 years old, Frank said. Pilings have been repaired or replaced as needed. There are other pilings that still need attention.

There is no present risk to people on or around the dock. However, there is concern over how well the aging pilings will hold up against severe storms, she said.

Almost all of the dock’s pilings are creosoted as well. There are two metal pilings holding the swim float in place. New pilings will be non-creosoted, Frank said.

The port has options to pay for piling replacement, which include raising taxes and finding grants. Property levies, Frank said, will be the first option considered.

“If we’re going to keep this wonderful icon … we’re going to have to have the funding for it,” Frank said.

The 775-foot dock was built when the Mosquito Fleet supplied the majority of transportation on Puget Sound in the first half of the 20th century. It is a local landmark and juts hundreds of feet out over the water.

The Port of Indianola collects the fourth-lowest amount of taxes in Kitsap County, behind ports of Eglon, Tracyton and Keyport. The port will collect $42,103 in taxes in 2013. The Port of Bremerton will collect $3,410,403 in 2013, the most out of Kitsap’s ports.

The Port of Indianola collects 15 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value. If property taxes are raised, the lowest-increment increase could be to 20 cents per $1,000. The commissioners are considering increasing the levy enough to get about $14,000 more in property taxes, Frank said.

An assessment of the dock has not been done in years, Frank said; port commissioners do not remember the last time one was completed, she said.

The assessment will show what work needs to be done to the dock and the priority of that work.

Port commissioners will focus their energy on the assessment, permitting and funding this year. For now, however, commissioners are playing a waiting game. The engineering assessment will not be done until the tide is far enough out to finish, which will be a few months out.

The dock assessment is part of the port’s Comprehensive Scheme’s Capital Improvement Plan. The scheme was approved Feb. 8.

The scheme outlines other capital improvement projects and port goals.

Included in the capital projects are enhancing current and building new boat and kayak storage, upgrading electrical utilities to the dock and adding lighting at the end, and helping to promote special events. Some projects are to be done with the Indianola Beach Improvement Club.

The port commissioners are also considering adding compensation to their positions. Compensation was on the agenda for the March 5 port meeting, however, the meeting was cancelled because not all port members would be available. The meeting will be rescheduled in April.

Port commissioners are elected to six-year terms. The two other commissioners are Jeff Henderson and Joan Wald.

The Comprehensive Scheme can be found on the port’s website, portofindianola.com, under the “Resources” tab.

At A Glance
There are 12 port districts in Kitsap County. Indianola’s property tax levy is the fourth-lowest of those port districts. Indianola will collect $42,103 in property taxes in 2013.

The others:
— Port of Eglon, $19,405.
— Port of Keyport, $30,016.
— Port of Tracyton, $29,719.

 

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