13 Sep Commission Meeting Minutes 8-28-23
PORT COMMISSION OF THE PORT OF EDMONDS MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING
(Via Zoom, Hybrid Meeting) August 28, 2023
Jim Orvis, Vice President
Jay Grant, Secretary
Steve Johnston, President (excused)
Angela Harris, Executive Director
Brandon Baker, Director of Marina Operations
Brian Menard, Director of Facilities and Maintenance
Tina Drennan, Manager of Finance and Accounting
Brittany Williams, Manager of Properties and Economic Development
Jordan Stephens, Port Attorney
Dave Teitzel, Edmonds City Council
John Brock, Woodway Town Council
CALL TO ORDER
Vice President Orvis called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
All those in attendance participated in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
COMMISSIONER CASS MOVED TO APPROVE THE AGENDA AS PRESENTED. COMMISSIONER PRESTON SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
COMMISSIONER GRANT MOVED TO APPROVE THE CONSENT AGENDA AS PRESENTED TO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
A. APPROVAL OF JULY 31, 2023 AND AUGUST 4, 2023 MEETING MINUTES AS SUBMITTED
B. APPROVAL OF PAYMENTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,814,417.38
COMMISSIONER CASS SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Joe Scordino, Edmonds Resident, reiterated his earlier ask for the Port of Edmonds to consider managing the Edmonds Fishing Pier. He discussed opportunities for education via the currently un-used signboard and other opportunities he feels the Port of Edmonds could leverage to make it a better experience. He also gave an overview of the Edmonds Marsh Restoration Project he is leading at Shellebarger Creek along SR-104, including extending an invitation to the Commissioners to join him for a tour of the work done so far. He explained how the beavers have built a dam that further complicates the situation, and said the Tulalip Tribes Beaver Program has been asked to provide advice on how to address the situation. Lastly, he asked the Port to consider offering a senior discount for the launcher fee. The Commissioners commended him and his group of volunteers for their efforts at the marsh.
Reed Johnson, Marina Tenant, spoke about issues he and others have experienced with parking not being available in the permitted lots and seeing others without permits parking in those lots. He urged the Commission to consider some solutions given the Marina is the highest revenue driver for the Port. He also indicated there is an increase in security concerns with equipment being stolen and that people continue to clean their fish in the marina where it is not allowed.
Dean Strong, Marina Tenant, sent a public comment through email discussing his experience this summer in July and August of not being able to find parking in the permitted parking areas, yet non-permitted cars were parked there. He would like the Port to consider posting “violators will be towed at owner’s expense” signage and to consider proactively calling the tow company on busy days.
Charles Malmgren, Dry Storage Tenant, sent a public comment through email asking the Commission to consider purchasing a lift with useable negative capacity given the age and vulnerability of the existing MinuteMan launchers.
2ND QUARTER FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Tina Drennan, Manager of Finance and Accounting, reviewed the 2nd Quarter 2023 Financial Statements (See Staff Report), and the Commissioners discussed the following:
• Questions were raised about how much insurance premiums would increase for the upcoming year, and Ms. Drennan answered about 20%. She was asked to verify whether earthquake insurance was included in the policies.
• It was emphasized that the variances in the 2nd quarter are primarily due to a timing difference, as most revenues and expenses are divided equally over the 12 months, but most activity occurs between May and September.
• It was reviewed that the Port invests annual increases in cash into a Capital Replacement Reserve in anticipation of having to replace capital items, and the long-range Cash Flow Model indicates that that cost of maintaining the marina will likely continue to increase going forward. Ms. Drennan noted that, historically, the Port adds between $2 and $3 million to the reserve each year, unless they are doing a large project.
2ND QUARTER PORT OPERATIONS REPORT
Brandon Baker, Director of Marina Operations, reviewed the 2nd Quarter 2023 Port Operations Report (See Staff Report), and the Commissioners discussed the following:
• It was suggested that the launcher open earlier when fishing is open. Mr. Baker responded that it is purely a function of staffing, and the earlier hours (6 a.m. start) ended a few weeks ago. Dry Storage and Marina Operations will open at 6 a.m. for launching and stay open an hour later on September 9th for the Coho fishing derby.
• A question was asked about whether or not smaller boats could be launched in the marina, and Mr. Baker responded that canoes and other very small boats cannot be launched with the public launcher, but people are allowed to launch kayaks and small inflatables out of the central guest moorage area.
• There was discussion about why travelift usage was down this year, and Mr. Baker explained that there was a significant increase in 2021 and 2022, as people deferred maintenance due to the pandemic. He referred to the 5-year summary, which gives a better picture.
2ND QUARTER HARBOR SQUARE REPORT
Brittany Williams, Manager of Properties and Economic Development, reviewed the 2nd Quarter 2023 Harbor Square Report (See Staff Report). There was no Commission discussion.
NEW ADMINISTRATION BUILDING CHANGE ORDER SUMMARY
Executive Director Harris briefly reviewed the New Administration Building Change Order Summary (See Staff Report), and the following items were discussed:
• It was noted that, with the change orders, the current construction costs are about $8.6 million. When asked about whether or not staff anticipates any other major change orders, Mr. Menard, Director of Facilities and Maintenance, answered that they had to remove additional trees to accommodate requirements of the Snohomish County Public Utility District, and mitigation will be required. The City is also requiring the Port to design a steel wall to hide the utility meters on the south side of the building.
• At the request of the Commissioners, Mr. Menard provided clarification on the high cost of the flag pole and its installation.
• Mr. Menard shared that they are currently working to obtain City permits for Ziply to install fiber service to the building, and the goal is to occupy the building by the middle or end of September.
CITY OF EDMONDS REPORT
Dave Teitzel, Edmonds City Council, shared the following report:
• The City maintains that it has the right to build an elevated structure in front of the Ebb Tide Condominiums to connect the two parts of the walkway. Last week, the King County Appeals Court ruled in the City’s favor, and the owners’ only remaining recourse is to appeal the decision to the State Supreme Court.
• Once the Department of Ecology (DOE) has issued its findings on the Unocal/Chevron site cleanup, title to the property will transfer to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). In response to a letter from the City Council, WSDOT has reaffirmed that it does not want to retain ownership of the property. The City Council can now un-table a letter to Governor Inslee asking that representatives from various State agencies, the City and Port meet to discuss the option of the State retaining ownership.
• Volunteers are having great success clearing Shellebarger Creek and opening the channel. His hope is that winter rainwater will flow more readily from east to west and reduce the chance of flooding.
• Last month, the City Council approved a contract with Via Architecture to be the lead contractor for the Comprehensive Plan Update. The City is now providing information to the contractor to build into the Comprehensive Plan, including the Waterfront Issues Study that was presented to the City Council but never approved. He invited the Port Commissioners to share their concerns and issues with the study.
• The City is exploring the potential purchase of the Burlington Coat Factory Property (10 acres) for $37 million, and a $100,000 deposit was submitted to obtain right-of-first-purchase, which expires at the end of 2023. The deposit will be returned if the City backs away from the purchase. An earnest money payment of $1 million will be required to proceed with the next step. Some Councilmembers are uncomfortable with the proposal as the City’s current expenses are greater than its revenues, and this is a fairly risky financial endeavor. Councilmembers were surprised when staff recommended hiring a consultant for $250,000 to help with master planning of the site.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Executive Director Harris reported that she is working with Frank Chmelik and Jim Darling on a proposal to lead the Port’s Strategic/Master Plan refresh, which will likely start at the end of 2023 or early 2024. They have done this work at several ports in the State.
COMMISSIONER’S COMMENTS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
• He suggested staff highlight the final Sea Notes events.
• At his request, Commissioners and staff discussed how to address the problem of people cleaning fish in the marina, noting that announcements are made on a regular basis but are ignored by some. Mr. Baker advised that when staff sees it occurring, they remind people of the regulation. Currently, there are no fines for violations.
• He noted there is no parking enforcement outside of notifying people of violations. Mr. Baker advised that staff logs all of the notices, and the third one comes with a letter letting people know their vehicles can be towed away. While the Port could legally issue fines, the cost of implementing this type of enforcement policy could be significant. The Commission agreed to take up the issue again this winter to identify some potential solutions.
• He commended the work of Mr. Scordino and his group of volunteers to improve the health of the marsh. He participated in a tour of the marsh with Representative Larsen.
• He gave a presentation to the Edmonds Rotary Club sharing the Port’s current and upcoming projects.
• He reported on his attendance at a Woodway Town Council meeting, an Edmonds City Council meeting, an Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC) event, and a small meeting with Congresswoman DelBene.
• He participated in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)/Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) training program on issues related to cyber security. A number of technology experts were present to explain the potential problems and solutions. He brought back handouts to share with the Commission and staff.
• She voiced concern that besides people parking with permits, a tenant voiced concern that friends of tenants are getting weekend guest passes.
• She reported that there’s a gentleman who has been parking and moving around downtown Edmonds in a van, and he was recently parked on the street next to the Port.
• She reported that she attended a meeting of the City of Edmonds Disaster Preparedness Committee. The great shakeout is scheduled for October 19th at 10:19 a.m. While the tsunami sirens are audible from outside, she suggested that perhaps the Port could provide each tenant with an affordable ($25 each) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather alert system. Lastly, she noted that Snohomish County offers Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training every year, and the next one is in October. Mr. Baker advised that staff will be meeting with Chuck Wallace, Edmonds Safety and Disaster Coordinator, in the near future to discuss the Port’s emergency plan and how it coordinates with the City’s plans for the waterfront. For example, the Port plans to have their portable field radios programmed to the same frequency as those of the City’s Public Works Department.
• She serves on the Edmonds Tree Board, which is starting to recommend code changes relative to trees on private property. It has been noted that the Public Works Department and Snohomish County Public Utility District can use their best judgement when it comes to tree maintenance or removal, and it would be a good idea for the Port, as a government agency, to seek a similar exemption.
• He suggested the Commission and staff have a workshop discussion later in the year on potential solutions related to parking, security, fish cleaning, etc.
• He reported on his attendance at the Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) Legislative Meeting, and it appears they will be meeting more often in an attempt to have more influence than in the past. Issues they are currently dealing with include: misuse of aviation gas tax revenue, doing away with 100 octane aviation fuel, taxation policies for publicly-owned broadband, reallocation of Model Toxic Control Act (MTCA) funds to compensate for overspending in the general fund, apprenticeship requirements for public works contracts, revised prevailing wage requirements for public works contracts, implications of and problems with the current public record requirements (Ms. Drennan briefly reviewed the Port’s policies and processes for handling public records requests), and insufficient electrical supply to serve industrial and business uses and the increased demand for electric vehicles.
The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:53 p.m.
Port Commission Secretary