30 Aug Commission Meeting Minutes 8-8-22
PORT COMMISSION OF THE PORT OF EDMONDS MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING
(Via Zoom) August 8, 2022
David Preston, President
Steve Johnston, Vice President
Jim Orvis, Secretary
Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Brandon Baker, Director of Marina Operations
Tina Drennan, Manager of Finance and Accounting
Jordan Stephens, Port Attorney
Neil Tibbott, Edmonds City Council
CALL TO ORDER
President Preston called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
All those in attendance participated in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
COMMISSIONER ORVIS MOVED THAT THE CONSENT AGENDA BE APPROVED TO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
A. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
B. APPROVAL OF JULY 11, 2022 MEETING MINUTES, AS SUBMITTED
C. APPROVAL OF PAYMENTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,524,003.86 FOR JULY 27, 2022 AND $388,177.97 FOR AUGUST 8, 2022
D. APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION NO. 22-02, AUTHORIZING THE DECREASE OF PORT IMPREST FUNDS
COMMISSIONER GRANT SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
There were no public comments.
ECONOMIC FORECAST PRESENTATION BY PAUL SORENSEN, BST ASSOCIATES
Mr. McChesney introduced Paul Sorensen, a principal with BST Associates, and shared information about his background and expertise.
Paul Sorensen, Principal, BST Associates, reviewed that in 2013, the Commission adopted a moorage and dry storage rate increase of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1%, and this decision was reaffirmed in 2021. Because CPI has been very low for a long time, the rate increases in recent years were not significant. However, CPI for the year ending June 30, 2022 is 10.1%, which equates to a much higher rate increase. He suggested that a better approach might be to have a more even flow of rate increases that are tied into a Cash Flow Model, especially with the additional funding needed for the seawall replacement and other marina improvements.
Mr. Sorensen reviewed that boating is a discretionary expenditure. When the economy is good it grows, but when the economy is bad it declines. He shared a graph to illustrate how boat sales have fluctuated over the past 20 years based on the economy, specifically noting that larger boat sales were down 2.9% in 2022 vs. 2021. Sales of boats smaller than 26 feet declined at a much greater rate. He also shared a graph showing the number of registered boats in the state over the past 20 years, noting that the number of boats per 1,000 people in Washington State has declined from 4.0 in 2000 to 3.2 in 2020. While fewer people per thousand are purchasing boats, there are more people so the number of registered boats in the state has remained stable at about 25,000. He said he doesn’t anticipate a significant downturn in the largest boat sales (40 feet or greater) in the coming months, as that is where most of the growth over the past few years has occurred. However, some decrease in boat sales, in general, is possible due to aging boaters, growth in boat sharing/clubs, and the ability to retain new boaters. Moorage supply has not grown, and with the exception of facilities for very large boats, no marinas are being developed. He said he anticipates that the slip supply will remain steady or start to decline as older, marginal marinas close. A number of marinas are providing more dry storage opportunities. He noted that private equity firms or real estate investment trust (REIT) companies are purchasing marinas as an investment.
Commissioner Johnston asked for data on the average length of ownership per boat. Mr. Sorensen said BST Associates has been doing some work on behalf of the Recreational Boating Association of Washington and the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) looking at that issue. The Department of Revenue is of the opinion that people don’t keep their boats very long, but all of the data indicates that is not the case. Depreciation depends on how many years the value declines, and then there is a flat rate after that. He advised that BST Associates has done a lot of rate studies and financial plans using the following three models:
• Base rates on competitive marina rates. Due to competition, several ports in Kitsap County have charged 25% of what is being charged on the east side of Puget Sound. This has hampered their ability to do capital improvements, and deferred maintenance is a problem, too. Recent work for the Port of Des Moines, concluded that their rates were well below average compared to other marinas in Puget Sound. The recommendation was that the rates needed be within 90% of the average in order have funding to rebuild.
• Increase rates based on CPI or some other index. A number of marinas use this approach.
• Set rates to recover costs and return on investment. This hybrid approach looks at both competitive marina rates and indexes, but also what is needed to generate a proforma that pays for necessary capital improvements.
Commissioner Grant asked if Mr. Sorensen has any data from the last time inflation was so high. Mr. Sorensen said he read an article from The Christian Science Monitor from the early 1980s when inflation was high. It noted that high interest rates didn’t deter people from purchasing boats.
Commissioner Johnston observed that incomes rise based on CPI, as does the amount of money available, so tracking rate increases with CPI in some way seems reasonable. Mr. McChesney noted that when CPI increases, operating and capital costs associated with the marina also rise. Commissioner Grant commented that a rate increase of CPI plus 1% is a good formula, but he questioned if inflation could exceed the true cost of operating and maintaining the marina at some point. Commissioner Johnston noted that construction costs have already exceeded CPI. Commissioner Preston pointed out that the method for measuring CPI can also come into question. While the Federal Government provides a number, other factors can come into play. Commissioner Orvis advised that the CPI the Port uses simply provides something to work from, as well as some predictability and consistency. Commissioner Grant noted that while customers know the Port’s formula for establishing rate increases, a significantly higher CPI will likely raise more concern.
Mr. Sorensen said another question to consider is how much of the Port’s market is people who live within the Port District. Mr. McChesney said the last data available indicated that about 24% of the Port’s customers were residents of the Port District. Mr. Sorensen explained that, if you aren’t raising rates as much as needed to fund the capital improvement plan then the taxpayers end up subsidizing the boaters. He commented that the Port is in a good position to draw people from surrounding communities. Commissioner Grant asked what the Port’s turnover rate is. Mr. McChesney answered that the turnover ratio is very low, and the Director of Marina Operations will provide a more specific number as part of a future report. Mr. Sorensen summarized that the Port is in a good position if the marina is full and there is a robust waiting list.
Mr. Sorensen shared a graph to illustrate the Port’s rate increases from 2015 through 2022, noting that rate increases were low from 2015 through 2021. While rates increased significantly in 2022, it is important for boaters to recognize the benefits they received in previous years when rate increases were less than what occurred at many other marinas in the area. The formula of CPI plus 1% worked well for a number of years, but the Port’s operating and capital costs have increased to a greater degree over the past year or two.
Commissioner Johnston commented that the Port is ahead of the game when it comes to funding operating and capital improvements, and the customers understand the costs associated with operating a 5-star marina. Mr. McChesney agreed and added that, while no one wants rate increases, it is important for customers to see that the Port is using the money to reinvest in the facilities and maintain quality service. Mr. Sorensen shared a graph illustrating the results of a survey of about 25 marinas in the Puget Sound area from 2015 through 2020. The average rate increase over the 6-year period was 3.5% compared to the Port’s average rate increase of 3.1%.
Mr. Sorensen advised that Southern Marinas Holdings II acquired the Elliott Bay Marina in 2021 for $80.5 million. This marina is one of the largest facilities on the west coast, with more than 1,200 slips for vessels up to 200 feet long, repair facilities, two restaurants, a Freedom Boat Club, and more. In 2022, the 10% loyalty rate was eliminated and raised rates by 9% to 15% for a total increase of 14% to 20%. He shared a chart showing how the Port’s 2022 rate increase of 6.5% compared to other marinas, pointing out that the Port’s rate increases were lower than competitors.
Mr. Sorensen expressed his belief that the Port has the most metrics of any of the marinas he works with, and they are publicly available. The Port also has a great cash flow model, which identifies what is needed to fund the Capital Improvement Plan. He summarized that, going forward, marina rates need to be sufficient to fund capital repair and replacement of the marina, as well as other capital requirements (seawall, breakwater, dredging, replacement and upgrade of restrooms and other dock improvements). It is important to keep in mind that operating expenses will increase as the facility ages. In-water work and permitting takes longer and costs more, and environmental mitigation is required. The current waitlists demonstrate that there is more demand than supply and occupancy is high.
Mr. Sorensen advised that the proposed rate increases of 11.1%, 10% and 7.6% would increase the long-term average (2014-2023) to between 3.8% and 4.2%. When looked at in a historical context, the Port’s rates rose too slowly from 2014 through 2021 (3.4%), and an increase of CPI plus 1% would help to balance earlier rate increases. Mr. McChesney clarified that they are not asking the Commission to vote on moorage rates. The discussion is advisory to establish 2023 rates for the budget, but we are recommending to stay with the CPI + 1% plan. The numbers were discussed in a Finance Committee based on the formula of CPI plus 1% and wouldn’t cause Edmonds to exceed market rates. Commissioner Johnston summarized that, when you look at the bottom line, the marina is still doing well. While they may have raised rates too slowly, the current formula appears to be working for now. Commissioner Orvis agreed that the marina is doing well from a cash flow standpoint, but looking long term, it may be just about enough to cover all of the capital costs going forward.
Commissioner Orvis recalled that, years ago, when the Commission adopted the formula of increasing rates by CPI plus 1%, there was significant consternation about how much CPI could fluctuate. It was determined that, while CPI is not predictable, at least customers can know what is coming. Mr. Sorensen agreed that it is important to give boat owners as much certainty as possible.
RESOLUTION NO. 22-03, APPROVING EMERGENCY REPAIRS OF MID MARINA ELECTRICAL SYSTEM AND WAIVING COMPETITIVE BIDDING REQUIREMENTS
Mr. McChesney advised that a liveaboard tenant on N Dock has been expressing concern about some electrical issues he is experiencing on his boat. Mr. Menard, the Port’s Director of Facilities and Maintenance, has been working with the tenant, and on Thursday, August 4th, he was able to observe the issues himself. The issues affect N Dock extension, as well as the Port’s navigation lights at the entrance to the marina. On August 5th, the Port hired a diver to inspect the main feeder cable, which was found to be corroded and defective and likely the source of the intermittent problem. As the situation needs to be repaired immediately and meets Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 39.04.280’s definition of an emergency, he declared an emergency.
Mr. McChesney advised that Valley Electrical will be on site on August 9th to assess the situation and determine what needs to be done. At this time, the total cost of the project is unknown, but it could exceed $100,000. With the current infrastructure, everything is connected and multiple feeders may need to be replaced. Resolution No. 22-03 would approve the emergency repairs of the mid marina electrical system and waive the competitive bidding requirements. Approval of the resolution would allow the Port to enter into a contract with a total cost not to exceed $100,000 plus sales tax without having to go through the public works bid process. The Port’s 2022 budget included $30,000 for repair or replacement of electrical feeders between the esplanade and the docks, and the good news is that the work will already be done when the Port proceeds with the North Portwalk and Seawall Project.
Mr. McChesney recommended the Commission approve the resolution as presented.
Commissioner Johnston asked if the Port has any contingency for the breakwater lights. Mr. McChesney answered that the lights are still working, and tenants on N Dock have been asked to unplug so they don’t damage their boats.
Commissioner Preston asked if it would be appropriate to increase the amount of the emergency resolution in case the cost of the work exceeds $100,000. Mr. McChesney responded that, if the costs were to exceed that amount, he would bring the resolution back to the Commission for reauthorization.
COMMISSIONER GRANT MOVED THAT THE COMMISSION APPROVE RESOLUTION NO. 22-03, APPROVING EMERGENCY REPAIRS OF MID-MARINA ELECTRICAL SYSTEM AND WAIVING COMPETITIVE BIDDING REQUIREMENTS FOR THIS WORK IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $100,000 PLUS SALES TAX. COMMISSIONER ORVIS SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Commissioner Grant asked how old the electrical system is, and Mr. McChesney answered that it was installed when the marina was rebuilt in the late 1990s. He advised that the electrical systems on each of the docks would be inspected in the near future. He commented that the Port has a good maintenance staff, and Mr. Menard stays on top of the maintenance needs, particularly the electrical elements.
Commissioner Grant asked how many liveaboard tenants there are in the marina. Ms. Drennan answered that the maximum number of liveaboard tenants is 15, and the Port maintains a waitlist when we reach the maximum. Commissioner Orvis asked if the current regulations pertaining to eviction applies to liveaboard tenants. Mr. McChesney answered that liveaboard tenants are protected by the Landlord/Tenant Act.
CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT CONTRACT
Mr. McChesney reviewed that CG Engineering has provided civil and structural design support for the new Administration/Maintenance Building, and they are technically qualified to provide construction services and management during the build out phase to completion. Their proposed scope of work includes overall construction management, general contractor points of contact, project coordination, documentation and quality control, as well as civil construction oversight and structural engineering support to ensure contract compliance and quality control.
Mr. McChesney recommended the Commission approve the scope of work and budget proposal by CG Engineering and authorize him to enter into a contract as presented. The total amount of the contract would be $97,000.
Commissioner Grant asked if the contract was anticipated as part of the total cost of the project, and Mr. McChesney answered affirmatively. He said staff did a calculation of all of the consultants working on the project. Relative to the value of the contract, they are at about 8.9% of the total cost of the project, which is within the range of what would typically be expected.
COMMISSIONER GRANT MOVED THAT THE COMMISSION AUTHORIZE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO ENGAGE A CONTRACT FOR CONSTRUCTION SERVICES AND MANAGEMENT FOR THE NEW ADMINISTRATION/MAINTENANCE BUILDING WITH CG ENGINEERING IN THE FIRM AMOUNT OF $97,000, AS PRESENTED. COMMISSIONER JOHNSTON SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Landau Associates, Geotech
Mr. McChesney reviewed that the new Administration/Maintenance Building is being constructed on loose sandy fill material, and a pre-construction geotech analysis by Landau Associates characterized the structural load bearing capacity of the underlying soils as needing additional foundation support. They recommended the design to include engineered soil improvements in the form of compacted ram aggregate to compensate for unstable below-grade soil conditions.
While they always anticipated that Landau Associates would have some oversight, Mr. McChesney advised that the International Building Code (IBC) Section 1705.6 Soils, requires that the geotech engineer be present during fill placement. It further stipulates that “the special inspector shall verify that proper materials and procedures are used in accordance with the provisions of the approved geotechnical report.” In addition, IBC 1705.7 specifies requirements for special inspections and tests of deep-driven foundation elements. In other words, the geotech engineer must be on site the entire time the ram aggregate procedure is being done, and Landau Associates doesn’t know how long it will take the contractor to do the work. The contract amount of $67,000 is a not to exceed, and it may turn out to be less. He recommended the Commission authorize him to enter into a contract with Landau Associates for geotechnical and oversite during construction of the new Administration/Maintenance Building in the amount of $67,000, as presented.
Commissioner Grant said he was standing on the project site when a train went by, and he hopes that the foundation of the new building will be extremely stable. Mr. McChesney said vibration from the train was taken into consideration during the design phase.
COMMISSIONER GRANT MOVED THAT THE COMMISSION AUTHORIZE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH LANDAU ASSOCIATES FOR GEOTECH ENGINEERING SERVICES IN THE AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $67,000.00, AS PRESENTED. COMMISSIONER HARRIS SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
2023 BUDGET BASELINE CONDITIONS – CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI)
Ms. Drennan said staff is currently working on the 2023 Preliminary budget. She reviewed that the Commission approves the budget on an annual basis. The budget is a plan that identifies the resources for operations and capital projects, communicates the sources of revenue and costs of services, and allows the Commission and staff to review and prioritize repairs, improvements and other projects. Actual results may differ from the budget due to changed facilities or equipment conditions, changed priorities and changed economic environment. Facilities or equipment may break unexpectedly, and funds may need to be reallocated to pay for the fixes.
Ms. Drennan reviewed that the Cash Flow Model estimates future cash and investments based upon projected revenues and expenses and known major capital improvements, and 2022 is the 11th year of using the model. The CPI for June 2022 for All Urban Consumers for All Items in Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue was 10.1%. The Port historically raises moorage and dry storage rates by CPI plus 1% annually. She provided a graph to illustrate the CPI increases vs rate increases over the previous 10 years, and requested guidance from the Commission for the 2023 budget process. The Finance Committee met on July 18th to discuss moorage and dry storage rates and requested that staff bring proposed rate increases of CPI plus 1% (ll.1%), 10% and 75% of CPI to the full Commission for feedback.
Ms. Drennan referred to Exhibits A and B, which show the Port’s open and covered moorage rate options. It includes the 2022 rates, as well as the three rate options listed above for 2023. It also notes the difference between each of the three options and the current 2022 rates. She also referred to Exhibit C, which shows how the three options would be applied to dry storage. Mr. McChesney emphasized that the three options are intended to serve as benchmarks to take measure of what the rate increases would mean from the customer’s point of view.
Ms. Drennan explained that the Port operates and prices its slips based on square footage as opposed lineal footage. For example, the moorage rate for a 28’ x 9’ foot slip should be less than a 28’x 13’ foot slip. Commissioner Preston asked if any other marinas have changed to a square foot basis, and Ms. Drennan answered she doesn’t think so.
Ms. Drennan referred to Exhibit D, which compares the Port’s increase of CPI plus 1% to what Elliott Bay (CPI) and Shilshole (10%) are currently discussing. Exhibit E shows the same calculations, but with the Port of Edmonds’ rates increasing at 10%. For example, in the 36-foot category, the Port’s narrowest width at an 11.1% increase would be $469.61 and the widest slip would be $541.88. At their proposed increase, Elliott Bay’s rate would be $698.34, a difference of $228.73 greater than the Port’s narrowest slip and $156.46 greater than the widest slip. Shilshole’s proposed rate would be $609.84, a difference of $140.23 greater than the Port’s narrowest width and $67.96 greater than the widest width. In all categories, with the exception of the Port’s 50-foot slips, the rates at both of the other marinas would be higher.
Ms. Drennan provided a chart showing the trend in Port financial occupancy for the first half of each year. Moorage occupancy has increased from 95% in 2018 to 100% in 2022. Dry storage financial occupancy has increased from 81% in 2018 to 90% in 2022. The budgeted occupancies are 98% and 87% respectively. She said she prefers to measure based on financial occupancy rather than physical occupancy, and she briefly explained how financial occupancy is calculated.
Ms. Drennan also provided a chart outlining the waitlist statistics. She summarized that between June 2021 and June 2022, the number of people on the waitlist increased by 32%. The waitlist normally drops a little in June, as the Port sends out waitlist renewals and some people decide not to continue on the list. A $200 fee is required to join a wait list, and the amount is applied to the security deposit when a slip is accepted. The fee to stay on the wait list is $25 per year.
Ms. Drennan said she is planning to use CPI plus 1% (11.1%) as the rate increase unless directed otherwise by the Commission. Mr. McChesney added that he is also recommending that they continue to use the formula of increasing rates by CPI plus 1% for the 2023 budget.
Commissioner Harris said she found the numbers provided by staff to be helpful and cautioned against going against the current policy of CPI plus 1%. Doing otherwise would require the adoption of other policies upon which to base their decision. Ms. Drennan pointed out that the CPI number is easy to verify and goes along with what people are expecting. The Finance Committee considered other options, such as a rolling 5% average but felt it would create other problems. For example, the rate increases would be low when inflation is high and high when inflation is low. This would not really reflect actual costs and would require a lot more explanation. After testing a 5-year rolling average, the results were not favorable and the Port would have been shy over $1 million. This analysis guided the Finance Committee back to the current policy of CPI plus 1%.
Commissioner Orvis commented that inflation has a significant impact on the Port, and there is a good chance that inflation will exceed CPI again next year. He said he also supports rate increases based on CPI plus 1%. For budgeting purposes, the Commission directed staff to use the current policy for rate increases.
SECOND QUARTER 2022 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Ms. Drennan presented the 2nd Quarter 2022 Financial Statements, noting that revenues generally trended up from $4.5 million in 2018 to $5.5 million in 2022 and expenses ranged from $3.2 million to $3.6 million. As inflation dramatically increased from the same time last year, the graph at the top of Page 2 shows the Port’s revenues and net income adjusted by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), using 2018 as the base period. CPI increased by about 18.8% from June 2018 to June 2022. Adjusting for CPI, revenues averaged $4.5 million and expenses ranged between $2.9 million and $3.4 million. In real numbers, net income generally trended up, ranging from $1.3 million to $1.8 million. Adjusted for CPI, net income ranged from $1.3 million to $1.5 million.
Ms. Drennan advised that, actual to budget, revenues were $336,000 greater than budget and expenses were $211,000 less than budget, but she doesn’t expect that to continue. As they get into the busy season, they have higher usage that sometimes requires additional maintenance and repairs. Gross profit for the 6-month period was $4.5 million, which is $149,000 greater than budget. Net income for the same period was $1.8 million. She highlighted the following items:
Marina Operations Revenue Actual to Budget
• Net fuel Sales revenue was $125,549, or $14,451 less than budget or a variance of 10%. As fuel prices go up, the Port typically does well. As they start to drop, the Port ends up with higher priced fuel in the tank. The Port adjusted its fuel pricing model so that the prices are consistent with the current rack price.
• Net Guest Moorage revenue was $77,575, which was $33,575 or 76% greater than budget.
• Permanent Moorage revenue was $2.1 million, which was $48,000 or 2% greater than budget.
• Dry Storage revenue was $395,000, which was about $12,858 or 3% greater than budget.
• Workyard revenue was $80,746, which was $21,000 or 37% greater than budget.
• Financial occupancy for Permanent Moorage was 100%, and 98% was budgeted. Financial occupancy for Dry Storage was 90% and 87% was budgeted. This is the highest occupancy since 2008.
Rental Properties Revenue Actual to Budget
• Total Rental Property revenue to date was $1,382,774, which is $48,000 or 4% greater than budget.
Operating Expenses Actual to Budget
• Operating expenses before depreciation for the 6-month period were about $2.4 million, which was approximately $387,000 or 14% less than budget.
• Audit expenses were zero, as the audit has not yet started. The budgeted amount is $38,000.
• Employee Benefits were $347,761, which is about $32,000 or 8% less than budget. This is primarily a timing situation.
• Payroll Taxes were $128,724, which is $27,000 or 17% less than budget, again because of a timing issue.
• Repair and Maintenance expenses were $146,304, which is $46,000 or 24% less than budget.
• Salaries and wages were $1,072,074, which is $134,000 or 11% less than budget.
• Supplies were $125,404, which is $38,000 or 23% less than budget.
• Net income after depreciation for the 6 months ending June 30th was 1.8 million, which is $547,000 greater than budget
Marina Actual to Budget
• Revenues ranged between $2.8 million and $3.6 million and expenses ranged between $2 million and $2.4 million.
• Net income is trending upwards to $1.2 million in 2022.
• Operating revenues were $295,000 greater than budget and expenses were $163,000 less than budget. The higher revenue was related to fuel.
• Operating revenues were $3.6 million, which was $295,000 or 9% greater than budget.
• Operating expenses before depreciation and overhead were about $1.3 million, which was $254,000 or 16% less than budget.
• Net income was about $1.2 million, or about $457,000 greater than budget.
Rental Property Actual to Budget
• Rental property revenues ranged from about $1.3 million to $1.4 million and expenses ranged from $675,000 to $760,000. The Port subsidized Harbor Square with property taxes from 2007 to 2019, when the Port made its final bond payment on the loan. For comparison purposes, property tax revenue for 2018 and 209 have been removed from the calculations
• Revenues were $48,000 greater than budget, and expenses were $72,000 less than budget.
• Operating revenues were approximately $1.4 million, which is $47,000 or 4% greater than budget.
• Operating expenses before depreciation and overhead were $341,000, which is about $20,000 or 6% less than budget.
• Net income was $624,000 or $120,000 (24%) greater than budget.
• As of June 30th, the Port had 20 long-term investments.
• A $520,000 US Treasury STRIP that matured on May 15, 2022 was matched with another US Treasury note that matured on July 15th to make a new $1 million investment. The additional $20,000 was retained in the Port’s interest-bearing savings account.
• The Capital Replacement Reserve is current $19,015,000.
• The Environmental Reserve is currently $1,067,000.
• The Public Amenities Reserve is current $269,000.
• As bonds are being called or maturing in 2022, the Port is continuing to invest using the laddering method, with each investment at $1 million.
2023 BUDGET MEETING SCHEDULE
Ms. Drennan shared the 2023 Budget Meeting Schedule, noting that staff met on July 13th to discuss the 2023 Operating and Capital Budget expectations, the Finance Committee met on July 18th to discuss budget baseline conditions, and the Commission held its first workshop earlier in the meeting to discuss 2023 moorage and dry storage rates. The schedule going forward is as follows:
August 15-19 Staff meeting to discuss proposed new budget items
August 26 Approved operating and capital items are due
August 29 Commission workshop to discuss property taxes and economic development budget
September 9 Draft budget to Executive Director
September 26-30 Finance Committee meeting to discuss 2023 Preliminary Budgets
October 3-7 Prepare ads for public hearing as per RCW 53.35.020, published once a week for two consecutive weeks, first publication not less than nine and no more than 20 days before meeting.
October 10 Commission workshop to discuss 2023 Preliminary Budget and take public comments
October 31 Discuss 2023 Preliminary Budget and conduct a public hearing
November 14 Approve 2023 Tax Levy, 2023 Budget, and 2023 moorage rates, dry storage rates and marina operations fees
November 15-18 Certify to County Assessor amount of taxes levied, publish final budget and prepare 2023 rates and fees for publication
November 30 Tax levy resolutions due to Snohomish County
Commissioner Harris noted that the public hearing is scheduled for October 31st, which is Halloween. This might make it hard for some people to participate. Mr. McChesney agreed to take the concern under advisement and get back to the Commission.
CITY OF EDMONDS REPORT
Council Member Tibbott was no longer present at the meeting to provide comment.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Mr. McChesney reported that a boater at the fuel dock inadvertently pumped 60 gallons of gasoline into their fishing rod holder. Security and Marina Operations Staff did an excellent job managing the situation, and the boat was pumped out by 7:00 p.m. The fuel dock was closed for a time.
Mr. McChesney reported that the new Administration/Maintenance Building Project is in a 2-week delay because the ram-aggregate subcontractor can’t be on site until August 22nd. The delay won’t affect the overall schedule, but it did take up some slack the contractor had worked in. He further reported that, after talking to the consultant from Jackson Main Architecture and the Leadership in Environmental Engineering and Design (LEED) subconsultant, it appears that the cost of obtaining LEED Gold Certification is now prohibitive because certain elements were not designed into the project. He recalled that the Port had anticipated that the energy modeling, which cost about $9,000, would get the project to Gold Certification, but that was not the case. You get points from being within ¼ mile from mass transit, but the project did not qualify even though it is within close proximity to bus, train and ferry service. These points are intended for developers in high-density, urban areas. He summarized that the standards are opaque and overcomplicate the project, and it is really hard to define the net benefit.
Commissioner Grant commented that State law requires projects to meet nearly all the LEED Silver Certification requirements, and he isn’t supportive of spending $100,000 of taxpayer money just to get a certificate. Mr. McChesney agreed the Commission could make that decision, but it would mean walking away from some sunk costs.
Commissioner Harris said she would like to have more information about the costs associated with LEED Silver Certification and what has been spent so far before making a final decision. She asked if the review board provided any recommendations for what the Port could do to get the points needed for certification. Mr. McChesney answered that they haven’t provided any specific direction. He suggested they forge on with the current design, which will meet LEED Silver Certification. The question is whether it is worth the cost of certification if the project has to meet most of the requirements anyway. He agreed to pull together more cost information for the Commission’s continued discussion.
COMMISSIONER’S COMMENTS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
Commissioner Johnston reported that he attended the Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) Commissioner’s Seminar, along with Commissioners Grant, Harris and Preston. He participated in the following:
• A discussion about the WPPAs future. The WPPA appears to be satisfied looking forward rather than back without any explanation as to what happened. There was a lot of expression of faith and trust in Patsy Martin’s ability to move the association forward. They are in the process of staffing, with positions open for a full-time executive director, a lobbyist focusing on environmental issues, a communications manager, and a member services manager. They recognize the need for greater transparency but didn’t have a lot of suggestions about how that might take place. They talked briefly about membership dues, and the Dues Committee continues to maintain it is a good investment for the WPPA and its member ports. They decided to keep the dues formula and strategy in place but cap the amount dues can be increased over the course of a year to 10%.
• He learned that the Port is doing reasonably well in all areas compared to a lot of other ports that have significant issues.
• There was discussion about how to effectively evaluate the value of a port to the community. While there is always room for improvement, Ms. Williams and the Communications Committee is doing a good job for the Port.
• They covered the fiduciary responsibilities of commissioners. Thanks to Ms. Drennan, the Finance Committee and the Port Attorney, the Port is in good shape as far as reporting and monitoring, etc.
• There was discussion about port auditors, and the Port has a very effective and accurate port auditor in Ms. Drennan.
• They learned how to handle contentious commission meetings, which there haven’t been a lot of at the Port of Edmonds
Commissioner Harris said she also attended the WPPA Commissioners Seminar, and it was interesting to hear the conversation about how the WPPA plans to move forward. They are collecting information and ideas, but they don’t have the staff right now to start anything new.
Commissioner Orvis said he recently read in the paper that there is discussion about a passenger ferry from Des Moines to Seattle.
Commissioner Grant said he continues to attend Edmonds City Council meetings. At the last meeting, the Council reviewed the City’s Capital Improvement and Capital Facilities Plans. They include $357,000 for ferry storage improvements from Pine Street to Dayton Street in 2025, and this could impact the Port. They agreed to change the job description of the Public Information Officer, reviewed the Waterfront Study, and the Development Services Director advised that there is a Request for Proposals for a $400,000 Vision Plan. He commented that it will be important for the Port and other key players to be involved in the visioning work so the outcomes are good. The discussions he has had with the Development Services Director have been very positive, and she has excellent and practical experience. They talked about doing a shadow study of the waterfront, as well.
Commissioner Grant announced that the City held the first of two Climate Action Plan meetings. They are currently behind on their 2030 plan, and the U.S. Senate recently passed a bill that includes over $300 billion for climate control. It also includes $126 billion for the Internal Revenue Service, as well as a minimum 15% tax on corporations.
Commissioner Grant reported he agreed to help with the WPPAs Cyber effort, and a survey was completed that showed that ports need a way of communicating with each other. They need more peer-to-peer and intermediary information that is easy for others to understand. It is also important to make sure people know about and have access to the resources. He has found a few other commissioners who want to help, and the goal is to put together a program, but the WPPA really needs a systems information person to handle coordination.
Commissioner Grant said he recently started talking with Senator Cantwell’s office, as she is the current chair of the Commerce Committee. Her local representative will visit the Port at 9 a.m. on August 12th. He will continue to work with her office and others regarding grant opportunities for the Port’s North Portwalk and Seawall Project. Mr. McChesney advised that the Port is also in the process of submitting grant applications under the State’s Aquatic Land Enhancement Program, but the maximum grant amount is $1 million. Commissioner Grant said he is also looking at potential State grant opportunities. Mr. McChesney commented that Commissioner Grant has been very effective in providing leadership in this effort.
Commissioner Grant reported that he attended a Communication Committee meeting recently, and he also met with Commissioner Johnston to finalize updates on the draft Port Mission Statement, which is now ready for the Commission’s review. Mr. McChesney agreed to include this item on the next meeting agenda.
Commissioner Preston asked that Mr. McChesney to present some potential internship opportunities for discussion at the next meeting.
Commissioner Preston reported that he also attended the WPPA Commissioners Seminar. One thing that stood out to him is that ports are public economic development agencies. There was a great presentation on the Snake River dams, and he doesn’t see how any human being could think it would be good to tear down the dams. These same people also want to take down all of the Columbia River dams. This year was the biggest Sockeye Salmon run since the 1960s, and there are so many other variables that play into the situation.
Commissioner Preston announced that he would attend the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC) meeting on August 9th.
The Commission meeting was adjourned at 9:25 p.m.
Jim Orvis, Port Commission Secretary