29 Oct Commission Meeting Minutes 10-14-19
PORT COMMISSION OF THE PORT OF EDMONDS MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING
October 14, 2019
Steve Johnston, President
Jim Orvis, Vice President
Angela Harris, Secretary
Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Marla Kempf, Deputy Director
Tina Drennan, Finance Manager
Brittany Williams, Manager of Properties and Marketing
Bradford Cattle, Port Attorney
Karin Noyes, Recorder
CALL TO ORDER
President Johnson called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
All those in attendance participated in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
COMMISSIONER FAIRES MOVED THAT THE CONSENT AGENDA BE APPROVED TO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
A. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
B. APPROVAL OF SEPTEMBER 30, 2019 MEETING MINUTES
C. APPROVAL OF PAYMENTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $201,653.39
D. APPROVAL OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CONTRACT AMENDMENT
E. APPROVAL OF TRAVELIFT REPAIRS
F. AUTHORIZATION TO APPROVE EDMONDS YACHT CLUB TO CONDUCT HOLIDAY ON THE DOCKS IN GUEST MOORAGE STARTING DECEMBER 1, 2019 THROUGH DECEMBER 29, 2019
COMMISSIONER ORVIS SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
There were no public comments.
SEA JAZZ STIPEND
Ms. Williams reported that the 8th season of Sea Jazz wrapped up on September 1st. A lot of talented musicians from the Edmonds School District performed throughout the summer and the Port received good feedback from the public. She thanked Scott Barnes, Edmonds School District Music Director, for supporting the program and Pete Bennett for managing the weekly lineup, mentoring the student musicians and organizing the performance logistics. She also thanked Seattle Teen Music for providing supplemental support and Anthony’s Restaurants for serving complimentary meals to each performer. Lastly, she thanked the musicians who performed. She advised that Mr. Barnes was unable to attend the Commission meeting, but he sent an email thanking the Port for its support of the Sea Jazz Program.
Ms. Williams recommended the Commission approve a stipend of $2,000 to the Edmonds School District in recognition of the Sea Jazz Program. Mr. McChesney explained that the Port has always pledged $1,000 per season for Sea Jazz, but last year’s payment slipped through the cracks and was not issued. Staff is now asking that the Commission approve a stipend of $2,000 to cover both the 2018 and 2019 Sea Jazz Programs.
COMMISSIONER FAIRES MOVED THAT THE COMMISSION APPROVE A $2,000 STIPEND TO THE EDMONDS SCHOOL DISTRICT MUSIC PROGRAM FOR THE 2018 AND 2019 SEA JAZZ PERFORMANCES. COMMISSIONER HARRIS SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
2020 PRELIMINARY BUDGET
Ms. Drennan recalled that at their August 26th meeting, the Commission reviewed and discussed the Cash Flow Model, which is the baseline for the budgeting process; the Property Tax Levy; and the Economic Development and Tourism expense budget. She referred the Commission to the 2020 Preliminary Budget Packet, which includes the marina budget, rental property budget, overhead budget, capital budget and projected cash flow schedule. It also outlines the proposed moorage rates, dry storage rates and marina operations fees. She advised that the Finance Committee met on October 1st to discuss the 2020 Preliminary Budget, and their recommended changes were incorporated into the documents.
Ms. Drennan emphasized that this is the first time the 2020 Budget has been presented to the Commission and the public. The documents have been available in the Port’s administrative office and on the Port’s web site since October 9th. Following the workshop, the Commission may accept public comment about the budget. A public hearing will be held on October 28th, and updated budget packets will be available on the website no later than the Friday prior to the Commission meeting. The final budget is scheduled for approval on November 12th, and the budget is due to the County on November 30th.
Commissioner Faires commented that there has been a change to the process. Primarily because of Ms. Drennan’s efforts, the cash flow forecasting has gotten good enough that the Port can rely on it when projecting future financial health. The Finance Committee will review the assumptions and the basis for the forecast each year and submit a budget that is based on the assumptions to the Commission for approval. However, the Commission has the authority to take exception to the Finance Committee’s work.
Ms. Drennan explained that the annual budget process kicked off in June with a thorough review of the Cash Flow Model, which was implemented in 2012 as a method of determining moorage and dry storage rates and planning for future large capital expenditures such as replacing major marina structures. The Cash Flow Model estimates future cash flow and investments based upon projected revenues and expenses and known major capital improvements. 2020 is the 9th year of the Cash Flow Model.
Ms. Drennan further explained that, because the Cash Flow Model relies on historical averages to make revenue, expense and interest income projections, and these macro factors drive budget baseline conditions for operating revenues, expenses and capital requirements, the Finance Committee conducted a summary sensitivity analysis and confidence test for the 2020 Budget. The analysis confirmed the direct relationship between the assumed expense escalator and anticipated interest income. These two macro factors work in tandem. Consequently, the timeframe used is a critical variable for determining the most accurate revenue, expense and interest income escalators. Further, the Finance Committee considered that using an average Consumer Price Index (CPI) factor for the previous years was not reflective of what might actually occur in reality. Instead, staff presented escalators based on historical Port results in increments of 5, 10 and 18 years. The Finance Committee decided that the 10-year range best represents a realistic average for forecasting revenue, expense and interest income.
Ms. Drennan advised that the introduction on Page 3 was provided to help people who are unfamiliar with the Port get a better understanding of its operations. The graphs on Page 5 illustrate the anticipated total revenues ($10,002,500) and expenses ($7,692,500) for the operating budget. Pages 7 and 8 provide direction on how to use the budget and outline what is included in each of the budgets. Contact information is also provided. She explained that three budgets (marina, rental properties and overhead) flow into the main budget. For each of the three budgets, staff provided actual numbers for 2016, 2017 and 2018, projected numbers for 2019 and budget numbers for 2020. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) that was used for budgeting purposes was the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue CPI for All Urban Consumers.
Ms. Drennan referred to the Proposed 2020 Marina Operating Budget, which starts on Page 9, and highlighted the following:
• There is not a good pattern for Fuel Sales. She has tried to budget fuel a number of ways, but it never comes out quite right because it is dependent on a number of factors (fishing, weather, economy, etc.). The difference between fuel sales and the cost of goods sold is approximately 79% of the fuel sales number. It is designed to come close to what they actually do.
• Permanent Moorage Revenue is presented with a rate increase of CPI + 1%, with a 3% vacancy. CPI is 2.3%. The total increase over 2019 projected revenue is $83,000, and the average increase per slip per month is $10.50. Moorage rates are listed on Pages 36 and 37.
• Passenger Fees are budgeted at $33,000 based on an estimate of 23,000 passengers at $1.43 each.
• Dry Storage Revenue is presented with a rate increase of CPI + 1%, with an 11% vacancy. CPI is 2.3%. The total increase over 2019 projected revenue is $15,000, and the average increase per space is $6.00. Dry storage rates are listed on Page 38.
• Employee Benefits are budgeted at $434,000 for 2020, which includes an increase to the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) contributions from 12.83% to 12.86% and a medical insurance premium increase of 1%. It also includes all changes in medical premiums due to changes in dependent coverage. Commissioner Preston asked what is the main driver of the 40% employee benefit increase since 2015. Ms. Drennan answered that the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) rates have increased dramatically and the medical premiums have consistently increased, and the Port has added more employees.
• Insurance costs increased by 12% as the market has tightened due to a variety of natural disasters. The insurance cycle runs from September through August. She budgeted a 10% increase for the last four months of 2020, too.
• Payroll Taxes are expected to be the same rate as in 2019, but they did add the family leave tax as required by State Law.
• Salaries and Wages were calculated based on a 2.3% CPI increase, as well as merit increases per Port policy. Through July 31, 2019, salaries and wages were reported and recorded as follows: Marina – 62%, Properties – 7%, Overhead – 31% and Capital Projects – less than 1%. The 2020 Salaries and Wages budget will be allocated the same way.
• Repair and Maintenance costs are estimated to be $176,000 in 2020. Large items include gutter replacement on the docks ($75,000), float repairs ($20,000), and destruction of abandoned vessels ($15,000).
• Other Post-Employment Benefits are currently at $0 because the number is not determinable at budget time. Government Account Standards Board (GASB) 68 was implemented in 2017. However, after implementation, the net change to employee benefits was a negative number.
• Property Tax Carry amount is $50,000 and will be allocated to the public launch to cover launcher expenses that exceed revenues.
• The Overhead allocation was based on the percentage of marina revenues less fuel costs to total revenues less fuel costs (66%).
Next, Ms. Drennan referred to the Proposed 2020 Rental Properties Operating Budget, which starts on Page 17, and highlighted the following:
• The Harbor Square Revenue number is $1,845,000, which represents a slight decrease from 2019. A tenant who currently holds a large space will be downsizing in 2020. Part of the space will be rented out, but the remaining area will be held vacant for at least the 1st half of 2020. Mr. McChesney said the Port anticipates using the vacant space as flexible space during construction of the Harbor Square Building 3 Project. They need to keep some space open to help manage the disruptions that will for sure happen.
• Effective in August 2019, The Landing’s rate was adjusted per CPI. This resulted in an annual rent increase from $106,834 to $120,400 plus parking. The next rate adjustment in 2024 will be based on fair market value, and the lease expires in 2029.
• Credit Card and Automated Clearing House (ACH) fees are estimated to be $500 in 2020. A lot of Harbor Square tenants enjoy the ability to pay via ACH and there are some costs associated with that option.
• Interest Expenses are estimated to be low in 2020 as the Port will make the final payment on the bonds on January 31, 2020. At that time, the Harbor Square bank account will be closed and the funds will all be moved to the Port’s account. Commissioner Faires recalled that, at one point, the Port was loaning money to Harbor Square through some financial manipulation. He asked where they are in that process now. Ms. Drennan answered that she stopped doing it because they will be combining it all back together when the bond is paid off.
• Some site work and curb repair will be done in house, and new carpet will be installed in Building 3 after the major repairs have been completed.
• The Overhead allocation is based on the percentage of property revenues to total revenues (34%).
Lastly, Ms. Drennan referred to the Proposed 2020 Overhead Operating Budget, which starts on Page 22, and highlighted the following:
• The 2020 Budget includes an audit expense of $30,000. The Port is audited every year, but this year the State Auditor’s Office surprised the Port with a petty cash audit. The audit resulted in the same results and recommendations as last year’s audit, and the Port’s response was the same, as well.
• There will be no elections costs in 2020.
• Repairs and Maintenance Expenses include $50,000 to implement the Public Access Improvement Plan, which is anticipated to be completed soon. The intent is to implement some of the easier items first. This line item also includes $40,000 for the new crosswalk on Admiral Way, but this project is currently underway and will be completed and billed in 2019. Some parking lot repairs will also need to be done.
• The Supplies budget includes $50,000 for Administration Building outside repairs and $10,000 for directional sign replacement. The intent is to do a portion of the sign replacement project annually. Commissioner Orvis noted that the sign at Marina Beach Park calls the Port’s boardwalk a promenade. He suggested that the sign should be updated with the correct name.
• The Overhead Budget includes a Property Tax Allocation of $150,000 for Commission costs plus $30,000 for public records requests and training.
Ms. Drennan advised that the Combined Operating Budget is located on Pages 28 and 29, and the final combined number is estimated to be $2,310,000 for 2020.
Commissioner Orvis asked if the $1,200 allocated for tire replacement would pay for tires on more than one vehicle, and Mr. McChesney answered that it would only pay for new tires on one truck.
Commissioner Harris asked if the Preliminary 2020 Operating Budget includes funding to implement the Public Access Improvement Plan. Ms. Drennan referred to Note O27 and answered that the budget includes $50,000 for implementation of the plan.
Ms. Drennan advised that Pages 30 and 31 illustrate how the 2020 budget compares with previous years, and Page 32 shows the revenue and expense trends. Page 33 shows the capital budget for 2020, as well as the 2019 actual and anticipated Capital Budget. She advised that the 2020 Capital Budget includes $11,000 to replace the server that was purchased in 2013, $28,000 to purchase a taller scissor lift, $15,000 to purchase a new trailer air compressor, $100,000 to replace the feeders between the esplanade and docks, $150,000 to repair the C Dock west wall, $100,000 for engineering and permitting work for the mid-marina breakwater repairs, $150,000 to replace the Travelift/Puget Sound Express ramp with one that is less steep, $50,000 to replace the Dry Storage Office trailer that is about 20 years old and in disrepair, $180,000 to replace 12 HVAC units at Harbor Square (Note: an additional 12 HVAC units will be replaced in 2021, as well.), $10,000 for Harbor Square capitalized tenant improvements as needed, and $750,000 for the Harbor Square Building 3 repairs.
Mr. McChesney advised that the $750,000 allocated to Harbor Square Building 3 repairs is a solid estimate, but there is no way to know exactly what the costs will be until all of the cladding has been removed. Commissioner Orvis questioned if they should budget a larger amount, and Mr. McChesney recommended leaving it at $750,000. Commissioner Johnston asked the value of the building, and Mr. McChesney said he didn’t know the value of the building, but the revenue stream is about $20,000 per month. Commissioner Preston asked how much it would cost to replace the building, and Mr. McChesney answered that staff hasn’t seriously considered this option, as economics would not support it.
Ms. Drennan advised that Page 34 shows information from the Projected Cash Flow Schedule, and Page 35 is a CPI Table. Pages 36 and 37 show 2020 Open and Covered Moorage Rates, and Page 38 shows 2020 Dry Storage Seasonal Rates. Page 39 provides the results of the Moorage Rate Survey as of September 2019, showing that the Port of Edmonds’ rates are higher than those of Everett, La Conner and Cap Sante, but lower than Elliott Bay and Shilshole. Commissioner Preston asked why Kingston was not included in the survey, and Ms. Drennan answered that they are not considered a direct competitor.
Ms. Drennan said Page 40 reviews the Boatyard and Travelift fees. In addition to minor adjustments, the more major changes include increasing the fee for roundtrip Travelift to market rate and increasing the fee for one-way trips with sling time and pressure wash to be more than half of the roundtrip cost. The monthly environmental fee would also increase by $10.
Next, Ms. Drennan referred to Page 41, which outlines minor adjustments to Guest Moorage, Loan-a-Slip, Launcher and Parking fees. Page 42 shows the proposed increases to a variety of other services. Most notably, is the proposed increase to the monthly storage fee for impounded boats. Staff completed an analysis and realized the Port charges less for the storage of impounded boats than for guest moorage or the workyard. Staff is recommending that the fee be increased to be the same as the guest moorage rate to provide greater incentive for people to take care of business.
Ms. Drennan said Pages 45 through 47 summarize the results of the Travelift and Workyard Rate Survey that staff conducted, comparing 32-foot boats with a pressure wash and 5 paid lay days and 50-foot boats with a pressure wash and 5 paid lay days. The Port’s rates are typically at the lower end of the market so staff is proposing some small increases.
Ms. Drennan said Page 48 outlines the proposed 2020 Pay Scale, showing a 2.3% increase, and Page 49 lists the Tourism and Economic Development Expenses for 2020, as discussed previously by the Commission. Pages 50 through 55 are related to the tax discussion the Commission held in August.
Ms. Drennan reviewed the schedule for the remainder of the budget process (Page 5), noting that a public hearing on the Preliminary 2020 Budget will be on October 28th, and the Commission will be asked to approve the 2020 Tax Levy, Bank Excess Levy Capacity, 2020 Budget, 2020 Moorage and Dry Storage rates, and 2020 Marina Operations fees on November 12th. She advised that prepared ads for the public hearing will be published once a week for two consecutive weeks, with the first publication not less than nine and no more than 20 days before the meeting. The Budget must be submitted to Snohomish County no later than November 30th, but she would like to submit it within a few days after Commission approval on November 12th.
Commissioner Preston requested additional information about the summary sensitive analysis and confidence test that was discussed on Page 3. Mr. McChesney explained that the Finance Committee tested some of the macro escalators to identify the anticipate interest income on cash reserves and what escalator should be anticipated for expenses. The Finance Committee spent a lot of time trying to figure out what would be the most accurate and their results are represented in the table on Page 4.
Commissioner Preston referred to the statement that “revenues are reflective of what might actually occur and not reality.” Commissioner Orvis explained that this is a disclaimer statement because they don’t know what the future will be. The budget is intended to identify the best estimate.
HARBOR SQUARE BUILDING 3 PROJECT UPDATE
Mr. McChesney reported that staff intends to submit applications for building permits on October 16th, and most of the structural engineering and cladding design has been completed. However, staff would like to explore opportunities to increase the energy efficiency of the building as part of the update. To accomplish this, he has asked the consultant, Building Envelope Engineering (BEE) to conduct an energy efficiency and upgrade analysis at a cost of $4,600. The analysis will evaluate the costs and benefits of adding an additional layer of rigid insultation, upgrading windows to tri-pane glass, and converting to solar. However, he cautioned that challenges related to solar conversion include roof structure support, the position of the building relative to sun exposure, and local tree shading.
Mr. McChesney shared several drawings to illustrate what the building might look like when finished. He said staff prefers lap siding as opposed to panels, and the intent is to use Hardie plank that can be painted any color. Although no decisions as to color need to be made now, staff will seek feedback from the Commission at some point in the future. The goal is to create some uniformity with the other buildings at Harbor Square and not change the appearance too much.
Commissioner Faires recalled that two previous Commissioners spent considerable time working with a consultant to come up with the existing color scheme. Rather than discussing a color scheme for just Building 3, it would be more appropriate to consider a color scheme for the entire complex. Commissioner Johnston asked how often the buildings are repainted, and Ms. Williams estimated that the other buildings will need to be painted in a few years. Commissioner Johnston suggested that this may be an opportunity to change the color scheme for the entire complex since the other buildings will need to be painted again soon.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Mr. McChesney announced that the new Travelift is scheduled to be on site the week after Thanksgiving, and a crane will be needed to facilitate its assembly. He also reported that the Dry Storage south launcher’s hydraulic motor has failed and they are now operating with just one machine. The new motor will cost about $8,000, and it will cost about $1,000 to install it. They expect this to occur within the next two weeks.
Ms. Kempf reported on her attendance at the Pacific Coast Congress (PCC) of Harbor Masters Semi-Annual Conference on October 9th through 11th at the Indigo Hotel in Everett. The Port of Everett did a good job of hosting the event, which was the first held in the new hotel Indigo. The Port of Everett provided an overview of their facility to open the event, pointing out that their port does $29 billion in trade each year, with $51 million at the new cargo terminal. They discussed the new Waterfront Place and the types of events that are hosted there, such as the Everett Coho Derby, Wheels on the Water, Fresh Paint Artists Exhibition, Food Truck Fridays and a sail-in cinema with a 40-foot screen for people to sail into the marina and watch a movie. They are currently at 85% capacity in their marina. Also discussed at the conference were derelict boats and marketing.
Commissioner Johnston said he also attended the PCC Conference where Ms. Kempf gave a presentation on the Port of Edmonds because the Port was the “Port in the Spotlight.” Paul Sorenson from BST and George Harris from Pacific Trade provided a great overview on the state of boating, which appears to be strong.
Ms. Kempf announced that she would attend the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) Marina and Boatyard Conference in Bremerton on October 17th and 18th. She also announced that Annie Crawley and her team of divers would conduct the second annual Dive Against Marina Debris on October 19th at B, C and D Docks. Commissioner Johnston said the dive drew a lot of interest at the PCC Conference, and some were concerned that laying out all of the debris might send a negative message about the impacts that ports have on the ocean. However, that has not been the Port of Edmonds’ experience. Most see it as cleaning up the marina, which is a good thing.
COMMISSIONER’S COMMENTS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
Commissioner Harris said she was able to listen to most of Ms. Kempf’s presentation at the PCC Conference, and she did a fabulous job. She also reported that she met with a representative from the Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department to discuss the City’s Integrated Pest Management Program. She advised that she and Commissioner Johnston will meet with Interfaith Climate Action Committee later in the week to discuss ideas related to solar energy. Next week, she plans to attend the WPPA’s Small Ports Seminar and a meeting of the Edmonds Yacht Club.
Commissioner Johnston reported on his attendance at the Commercial Vessel Acoustics Meeting at the Port of Seattle on October 3rd where the discussion focused on the impacts of vessel operations and noise on Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) and what can be done to mitigate the impacts through ship propulsion selection and design, variations in operational speed, and increasing awareness of the presence of whales. The recommendations will be taken to the Vessel Work Group of the SRKW Task Force.
Commissioner Johnston also reported on his attendance at the SRKW Task Force meeting at the University of Washington on October 7th. Additional recommendations to protect SRKWs were developed, including assessing future actions and projects in the context of providing net benefit to Orcas rather than just “no net loss.” The group also discussed the mechanism for continuing the work of the task force through a separate organization that reports directly to the Governor’s Office. Three possible organizational frameworks were considered and remanded for the Governor’s selection and potential implementation. All of the recommendations made in 2018 to protect SRKWs were retained for future consideration and action by the Governor. He advised that the Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) and tribes asked the SRKW Task Force to prioritize the 40+ recommendations in the face of no new funding sources and highly recommended proceeding with the prioritization of salmon recovery projects already identified as funding becomes available. They also reiterated that finding new funding sources is paramount to salmon recovery success.
Commissioner Johnston said he attended the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) of Harbor Master and Port Managers at the new Indigo Hotel at the Port of Everett on October 9th and 10th. Highlights included the recognition of Marla Kemp for her long-time marina management excellence and strong participation in the PCC. She was specifically feted and made an excellent presentation on the Port, its business lines, its activities and its successes. He read the introduction that was given prior to her presentation, which emphasized her example of fine leadership and her contribution to the PCC and the marine industries and applauded her for her many accomplishments at both the Port of Edmonds and the Port of Seattle. Commissioner Johnston commented that Ms. Kempf is a terrific ambassador for the Port of Edmonds. He reported that key takeaways from the conference included the fact that the Port is very well managed and anticipates and responds to marina-related issues well in comparison to most and that it is very easy to fall behind on marina maintenance and repairs and dig a hole that is very hard and expensive to crawl out of.
Commissioner Johnston said he also attended the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC) Elected Officials Reception at the Tulalip Resort on October 10th. Commissioner Orvis was present, as well. He said he had several discussions with other elected officials on the future of the County and its overall economic outlook, which is all positive.
Commissioner Johnston reported that on October 14, he attended a meeting of the Environmental Committee to discuss the use of herbicides at the Port, given the results of the herbicide application pilot test that was done over the summer. The decision was made to cease the use of Roundup and transition to another effective but less noxious herbicide for the next growing season. He said he and Commissioner Harris would meet with the City of Edmonds to learn about their Integrated Pest Management Program.
Commissioner Johnston advised that he and Commissioner Harris and Mr. McChesney would meet with local community solar power proponents to discuss the opportunities and feasibility of incorporating solar power capacity at the Port.
Lastly, Commissioner Johnston advise that he would attend the WPPA Small Ports Seminar on October 24th and 25th and the WPPA Annual Meeting on November 20th through 22nd in Tacoma.
Commissioner Orvis reported that the Finance Committee met on October 1st and the results of the meeting were presented in the Preliminary 2020 Budget. He further reported that he, Mr. McChesney and Commissioner Harris met with a committee for the new Community Center and received a status report on the project. They expect to complete construction by August 2020. They outlined the locations of the services the Senior Center is maintaining throughout the construction process, noting that the manager of the thrift store would prefer to stay in its temporary location next to the Goodwill. While it is a very good place to provide the service, the rental costs would stretch the profit margin too thin. They presented a funding request and were told that the Port was not in a position to provide funding at this time as it would be inconsistent with the Port’s mission and they have a lot of big-ticket items coming in the future. He explained that, from his point of view, the constituents of the Port District are also the City’s constituents. If the Port were to provide funding for the project, it would be, in effect, double dipping from the citizens of Edmonds and the Port District.
Commissioner Orvis reported on his attendance at the EASC’s Board Retreat where those in attendance were broken into small groups to review the performance of various areas of the EASC. Given where the EASC started and where it is now, remarkable progress has been made. They discussed future issues that will require greater emphasis, including quality of life in Snohomish County. It was discussed that, while they look for economic development opportunities, they must also protect the quality of life for the County’s citizens. They discussed affordable housing, transportation and a variety of other issues that make the County livable.
Commissioner Orvis said he also attended the EASC’s Elected Officials Reception, which was very well attended. He was able to speak with County Executive Dave Somers, County Council Member Terry Ryan and other county leaders about issues facing the County and the future of the EASC.
Commissioner Orvis announced he would attend the October 23rd WPPA Legislative Committee Meeting if it is still on the schedule.
Commissioner Orvis said he recently learned that the City of Edmonds is one of more than 300 cities and counties across the United States who have now met national benchmarks for encouraging the growth of solar energy and removing barriers to solar market development. The City also received national recognition in 2017 when it received the SolSmart Bronze Designation for its efforts to promote solar energy.
Commissioner Preston reported that he attended the October 11th Edmonds Yacht Club (EYC) meeting. He referred to the Consent Agenda item related to the EYC’s Holiday on the Docks Event, which requires that at least 30% of the boats that participate in the event must be EYC members. He asked how hard and fast the 70/30 rule is. Ms. Kempf said she met recently with EYC representatives where the 70/30 rule was a topic of discussion. She pointed out that participants in the event typically utilize the entire Guest Moorage area. The tenants who participate in the event offer their slips for guest moorage, and this gives the Port the ability to waive the fee in the guest moorage area. However, non-tenant participants do not offer the Port anything in exchange for the free moorage. The intent of the 70/30 rule is to ensure there are sufficient guest moorage slips available to serve guests who want to visit the marina during the month of December.
Commissioner Preston asked how often the slips that are made available by tenants who participate in the program are used by other guests. Ms. Kempf said she couldn’t answer that question off the top of her head, but the guest moorage area is used year-round.
Greg Baugh, Edmonds Yacht Club, said this concern came up at a recent EYC meeting, too. He asked what would happen if EYC is unable to meet the 70/30 requirement. Ms. Kempf said the Port would be willing to work with the EYC. The intent of the requirement is to ensure there is some guest moorage space available. Mr. Baugh said it was difficult for EYC to meet the requirement in 2018, but he agreed that should be the goal. Ms. Kempf pointed out that the Port is subsidizing non-tenants who participate in the event by providing electricity and other services. That is not the case for tenant participants since they are already paying for a space in the marina. If EYC cannot meet the 70/30 requirement, perhaps it is time to talk about whether or not the moorage fee should be waived for non-tenant participants going forward.
Commissioner Preston observed that the Holiday on the Docks Event is a tourist attraction that draws people to the waterfront and the restaurants located on the waterfront. They should keep this in mind when discussing the ratio going forward. Perhaps it would be appropriate to ask non-tenant participants to pay some kind of fee to compensate the Port.
Commissioner Faires said he understands staff’s concern in terms of the costs associated with non-tenant participants. They also need to consider what happens if the guest moorage slips are all full and they don’t have any place to put other visitors. He agreed with Commissioner Preston that it is a popular community event that should continue, but perhaps it would be appropriate to discuss and resolve these concerns before the 2020 event.
Ms. Kempf suggested that staff monitor how many of the loan-a-slip spaces are actually used during the event. This information would help the Commission adjust the ratio as needed. She said staff believes the 30/70 ratio is the correct criteria to consider when asking the Commission to waive the fees and still have sufficient space to accommodate guest moorage.
Mr. Baugh said the EYC would work diligently to meet the 30/70 requirement and would inform Port staff immediately if it looks like it will be unable to do so. The Commissioners agreed that the event should go on as scheduled even if the EYC is unable to meet the requirement. If there are problems, they can talk about potential changes for next year’s event.
Commissioner Preston said he and Mr. McChesney discussed the idea of making the access point near Arnies Restaurant where the new crosswalk will be installed an entrance only. Mr. McChesney explained that there are two curb cuts for Arnies Restaurant, and the northernmost is already an exit only. The entrance 150 feet to the south is a bit wider, but it is used for both entering and exiting the site. He agreed that this is a point that needs to be addressed, but they haven’t figured out the best solution yet.
Commissioner Preston referred to the flyer announcing that the Port of Edmonds and the EYC are jointly sponsoring a series of safe boating classes. He asked if the classes will be advertised in THE EDMONDS BEACON and MY EDMONDS NEWS. Ms. Williams answered affirmatively and noted that the classes have already been advertised in THE EVERETT HERALD and the Port’s newsletter. Ms. Kempf added that Lorie Jones is coordinating the classes for the EYC, and she contacted her about a month ago asking the Port to be a co-sponsor. Ms. Jones indicated she would work with the Coast Guard and others who would do the training and set up a schedule. They talked about potential dates, and she encouraged her to schedule some of the classes after the Seattle Boat Show so the Port could promote them at the boat show. The schedule is as follows: November 5th – Safety and Rules of the Road; February 4th – Docking, Knots and Lines; and April 7th – Communications.
Commissioner Johnston suggested that education and information about whale issues should be included in the list of topics. Mr. Baugh said it has been a while since the EYC has done a boater education class, and they don’t want to limit the classes to just EYC members. They wanted to invite Port tenants, as well. The primary purpose of the classes is to create awareness. He recalled there was a serious accident a few weeks ago, and they want to keep the situation in the forefront of peoples’ minds as they attend the first session that will focus on safe boating practices. He agreed that information related to whales would be a good message to incorporate into one of the events.
Commissioner Preston asked what capacity is the Port’s sponsorship, and Ms. Kempf answered that the Port is promoting the classes via its newsletter, notices on the gates, etc. Ms. Jones will be posting information in the local newspapers.
Commissioner Preston announced that he would attend the Northwest Marine Trade Association Marina and Boatyard Conference on October 17th and 18th, and he plans to attend the WPPA Annual Meeting on November 20th through 22nd, as well.
Commissioner Faires reported that the Finance Committee met on October 1st to review the Preliminary 2020 Budget before it was presented to the Commission and public. They reviewed each of the line items, and a few changes were made, but the Finance Director did an excellent job preparing the baseline budget.
Commissioner Faires said there has been some indication that the City of Edmonds might be interested in some kind of year-round shuttle transportation service that would drop people off at various locations throughout the City. He suggested the Commission should have some discussion about how the proposal might fit in with the Port’s mission of Economic Development. Council Member Teitzel announced that a proposed 2020 Budget was presented to the City Council on October 8th, and it included a proposal to purchase one of the used holiday trolleys at a cost of $50,000. It was estimated that it would cost about $50,000 to operate the trolley each year. While there appeared to be general support, the City Council has not yet approved the purchase. Commissioner Orvis said he didn’t think $50,000 would be sufficient to cover the yearly operating costs associated with a trolley service.
Commissioner Orvis reminded those present that the public hearing for the budget is scheduled for the meeting before it will be presented to the Commission for final approval. This gives the Commissioners time to respond to comments received at the hearing before taking final action.
The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Angela Harris, Port Commission Secretary