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Poulsbo Port won’t hike rates ... much

POULSBO — Monthly moorage rates at the Port of Poulsbo will most likely increase next year, but not by as much as first planned.

Rates are scheduled to go up 9 cents per linear foot next March. The hike, in conjunction with a recent fee raise from $4.25 to $4.50 per linear foot, will put the total increase at about 8 percent, meaning boaters will pay $4.59 cents per linear foot to moor at the Liberty Bay marina.

In comparison, the Port of Kingston charges $4.20 per foot while moorage at the Port Orchard Marina costs between $4.69 and $7.19 depending on slip size and type of moorage, according to the ports’ Web sites.

The decision was made after discussion last week involving the Port of Poulsbo’s three commissioners and port tenants. Previously, commissioners had planned to raise fees in a square-foot fashion, upping the cost of moorage by about 30 percent with incremental fee increases based on a boat’s size.

Commissioner Arne Bockus said keeping with a linear measurement means boaters won’t be paying for unusable space, as vessel’s aren’t squarely shaped.

Bockus said a “good turnout” of 25-30 port tenants, from commercial fishermen to live-aboards to private pleasure boaters, attended the Dec. 15 meeting to address the money issue, which teeters especially in rough economic times as the port faces some much needed upgrades.

“We listened to their input and then we went into discussion. We decided to rewrite our decision,” Bockus said. “Historically we’ve had it where it has been the same rate for the smaller boats up to the larger boats, there was no change between them. We decided to go back to that again.”

This year, the port’s increase will stay in line with the cost of living adjustments for Tacoma/Seattle; next year the port will go by Bremerton’s standard, said Bockus.

And along with next year’s cost of living increase will be an additional 3 percent boost.

“That seemed satisfactory for all,” said Bockus.

The resolution will be up for final approval at the port’s next meeting.

Without the originally expected augmentation to the port’s moorage revenue, Bockus said he and port commissioners Tony DeCarlo and Glenn Gilbert are taking another look at the comprehensive plan.

“What it forces us to do is to go back to our comp plan and reevaluate and put priorities,” Bockus explained. It’s a process that is ongoing. “Some of these things have to get done and with the economy the way it is the chances of getting grants and things like that are pretty hard to come by. We just have to keep exploring those avenues, and we will. If something happens, we will be able to take care of it, we’re just going to have to revaluate our priorities.”

At the top of that priorities list is the port’s breakwater, which is in need of replacement or repair. Bockus said that is a decision the commissioners are now addressing: whether to completely remove the current breakwater or rebuild the current apparatus and extend its usability. Or, he added, any option falling in between those two extremes.

For more information on the Port of Poulsbo’s moorage rates, call (360) 779-3505.

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