Visitors to downtown Coupeville might find an easier time trying to find a cash machine in the future.
Officials for the Port of Coupeville are considering a plan to place an ATM on port property.
The small port district received a proposal from Premier Merchants Group, based in Kearney, Neb., to place the cash machine in the breezeway of the Coupeville Wharf.
People using the machine would pay a $2.50 surcharge. Of that amount, the Port of Coupeville would receive 25 cents per transaction, according to the proposal the Nebraska-based company submitted to the Port of Coupeville.
Executive Director Jim Patton highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of having such a machine at the end of the pier.
He said the ATM would draw people to the wharf building, which would benefit the businesses, and the Port of Coupeville would receive revenue through the surcharge.
Commissioner Marshall Bronson noted that there isn’t an ATM in downtown Coupeville. The closest cash machine is located at the Whidbey Island Bank branch on North Main Street. Bronson said that an additional ATM is a necessity during the summer months.
He added that the proposal might be a good time to evaluate the security at the Coupeville Wharf.
Commissioner Benye Weber seemed a bit more skeptical about the proposal. She noted that large events — the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival, the Penn Cove Water Festival and the Penn Cove Mussel Festival — offered a cash machine that was located in the Coupeville Recreation Hall.
Weber said the 10 percent arrangement the Port of Coupeville would receive from the surcharge is “minimal” and Patton should try and negotiate a better rate. She questioned whether the fee the port would receive would offset the additional costs the port may have to pay for security improvements.
Patton said he will contact the port’s insurance provider to find out if the insurer has any concerns and he will contact the port’s security company to find out what improvements to the wharf that may need to happen before an ATM can be placed.
He hopes to have an update available for the next commissioners meeting, scheduled 10 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 11 at the Coupeville Public Library.