Port repair needs raises levy discussions

As a new year approaches, leaders with the Port of Coupeville are evaluating critical needs and may consider asking voters to further pay for them.

At the top of the $2 million construction, repair and maintenance list, is repairing pilings at the Coupeville Wharf and replacing the roof on Barn A at the Greenbank Farm.

Estimated project repairs at the wharf alone are $1.6 million.

With an already tight revenue stream, the board said it is time to start looking at different revenue options — whether it be going out for a bond, loan, grants or other alternative financing.

The wharf piling project is estimated to cost more than $500,000. The roof repair replacement is estimated at about $60,000.

The leaking roof has already impacted events this year, officials said. This is a project that’s overdue and needs to be addressed.

Commissioner William Bell broached the subject of bringing a levy lift to voters in 2017.

“This is 18 years of not having a levy lift and paying bond payments,” Bell said. “It’s time to pay the piper now.”

The last time the port attempted to ask voters to increase its levy was in 2008, which failed.

It’s been more than 20 years since the levy rate has increased.

Voters approved the port purchasing Greenbank Farm and assuming that bond cost without increasing the levy rate, he said.

The current levy rate is 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Bell proposed exploring a plan to present a 13 cent levy increase to voters.

The port needs to be able to clearly establish why these additional funds are needed, he said. The port needs to have a clear plan and explanation in place.

“Considering we’re looking at $1.6 million of identifiable repairs, it seems to me fair to ask the general public to add 13 cents,” Bell said. “We’re at a pivotal point where we need to do it.”