Why give port more money?
September 19, 2008 · Updated 12:55 PM
Ready for more property taxes? The Coupeville Port District has rather quietly already put a six cents per $1,000 property tax levy increase on the November’s ballot. This is in addition to the 15 cents per $1,000 which all property owners in the port district are currently paying and will continue to pay. Why the need for additional money? Before the new levy, the port’s 2008 income is about $377,000. The port says they are out of money. Why? Take a look at the Greenbank Farm.
According to the port’s own public budget and statement of finances, the port pays approximately $100,000 each year to fund the bond purchase of the land with approximately a $1 million balance still owing. However, for the 2008 fiscal year, they have had to budget an additional $108,000 just for the Greenbank Farm! This $108,000 is for management fees, taxes, consultants, supplies, etc. The port receives no rents and no income from any retail outlets or leases at the Greenbank Farm. In 1996, one year before the farm was purchased, the port had nearly $400,000 in its operational reserve. In late March of this year, the then-current port balance was reportedly, $1,750. That’s right — less than $2,000!
Part of the mission of a port district is state-mandated “economic development.” Is this “development” or something else, and is this where you want to spend more of your property tax dollars?
Thus far, the announced levy increase has received very little notice and attention, with less than two months to go until the election. You can expect the port and the Greenbank Farm supporters will soon be advocating more publicly for this money. Hopefully, the port will hold some public meetings to answer questions and address the concerns of interested taxpayers. What benefits accrue to the taxpayers for the money spent? Who else is benefiting? What other options might be possible for the land and buildings? What if this levy fails? Then, what?
Read, ask questions, listen and make up your own minds.