Letters to the Editor

Reasons to support annexation proposal

Thank you for attending the Herald’s forum on annexation by the Port of Poulsbo on Jan. 24. For me, the comments were helpful in understanding diverse views.

Let me offer several thoughts on port expansion. While the port is fiscally sound, it is operating in break-even mode. Almost every penny of revenue received in 2014 is committed to operations and maintenance. Our creosote breakwater has a limited life — and a $7 million to $12 million replacement cost.

Expanding the district to include the entire city limits and the Liberty Bay shoreline — the real beneficiaries of port stewardship — will add annually to our revenue flow and the port’s ability to obtain grants and loans to cover major capital projects, such as breakwater replacement and dock work.

The port has retained a consulting firm to advise us on purchasing the old city hall property. The city has given the port a three-month option to purchase this property. Many agree that a small, downtown hotel with multi-level parking, shops and even condos might work. With the port’s statutory mandate for economic development in our community, we can make significant contributions to the local economy and the Liberty Bay community.

In the minds of some, the business acumen of the port was tarnished several years ago by its purchase of the old armory property, now converted into a parking lot on Jensen Way. This year, we expect to see more boat trailers and RVs in the port’s lot and away from Anderson Parkway. I am hopeful that, in recognition of the economic turnaround, this property will serve in the next few years as a sound investment for the port and the community. Additionally, prospects for development of the old city hall site will very likely benefit from this well-located parking lot with electric-vehicle charging stations.

The real issue before voters on Feb. 11 is who will lend a hand to support the Port of Poulsbo and our scenic bay. The port is a $5 million asset for the community and returns more than seven times in revenue what it receives in taxes from Port District residents — not bad tax efficiency for a small-town operation.

Currently, only one-half of the city residents and no big-box stores contribute by way of property taxes to running the port. The tax levy of 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation that would be paid in this enlarged Port District would expand key opportunities available to the port to promote tourism, economic development and job creation, cleaner water and updated facilities. I believe this is good for the entire Liberty Bay community.

Stephen Swann
Commissioner
Port of Poulsbo

 

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