Letters to the Editor

Port of Poulsbo should get back to basics

The recent ambitious attempt by the commissioners of the Port of Poulsbo to get voters to approve a massive new annexation to enlarge the port district by reaching around Liberty Bay was soundly defeated by an alert and vigilant public.

Voters are becoming aware of the extraordinary powers granted by statute to what may seem at first to be small and insignificant public offices. Costly decisions can be made that leave voters to pay the bill. The recent election may serve as an informal referendum on whether the voters approve of the radical development policies pursued by the port in recent years and the even larger projections for future expenditures.

Many have viewed with dismay the decline of cash reserves to maintain the port as a favored tourist destination and to satisfy the port tenants whose mooring fees provide the largest part of the port’s operating funds. Many port improvements have been deferred in order to allow for an expansive reading of the power of the commission to engage in various real estate ventures that might better be pursued by the City of Poulsbo or by private investors.

The simple running of an adequate and properly maintained marina may seem boring and mundane, but that is what port commissioners are elected to do. Over most of the history of the Port of Poulsbo, this was a function performed by commissioners who realized the way that a marina and its facilities are run — which, after all, are what being a port entails  —could best enhance the community by providing an attractive destination for boaters, whether permanent tenants or visiting boaters.

It is time to return to these time-honored policies and to stop the current star-gazing and expenditure of essential port funds that can only lead to the attrition of disillusioned boaters. It is time to restore the cash reserves by other means than by asking the public to consent to be taxed to restore the port to its formerly more secure position as a favored public port among the boating community by having their needs met by an ever more attractive and secure marina facility.

Sheila Mengert

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