The pond at Greenbank Farm has an estimated 4 feet of organic material that needs to be dredged from the bottom, a project that could cost upwards of $46,000. 2017/Whidbey News-Times file photo

The pond at Greenbank Farm has an estimated 4 feet of organic material that needs to be dredged from the bottom, a project that could cost upwards of $46,000. 2017/Whidbey News-Times file photo

Port continues levy lid lift discussions

The Port of Coupeville is taking steps to place a levy lid lift on the November ballot.

Commissioners discussed the plan further during a workshop last week in which they also went over the port’s growing list of maintenance projects.

Among the growing list is the need to dredge the pond at Greenbank Farm.

There’s an estimated 4 feet of organic material, primarily goose poop, that needs to be removed from the roughly 10-foot deep pond.

Executive Director Chris Michalopoulos said the project could cost upwards of $46,000 and involves draining the pond, letting it dry out for a month and then using a series of trucks to scoop and haul the material to a spot way out on the farm for dumping.

Michalopoulos said he’s applying for grants to help cover the cost of the project, but it’s something that needs to be done soon, most likely this summer.

This is just one of many projects needed at both the port’s properties.

Commissioner William Bell is proposed the district run a levy lid lift in November, increasing the port’s levy 12 cents to 30 cents per $1,000 assessed land value.

He estimated this will bring in roughly $1.3 million over five years and wants to see the funds applied directly to repairing the Coupeville Wharf.

Earlier estimates show the wharf is in dire need of repair to its pilings, roof and overall infrastructure. Work could cost upwards of $1 million.

Bell suggested that taking a proactive approach to answering citizen questions about port funding and where the proposed levy dollars would go is instrumental to the levy passing.

“We have two communities sympathetic to the needs of these projects,” Bell said. “In terms of gauging public approval, talking to the community-based people they say what’s taken so long?

“We have two of the primary objectives for tourists besides the (Deception Pass) bridge.”

At the same time, the port just paid off the mortgage at the Greenbank Farm in December, freeing up $100,000 annually from its budget. Over the 20 years the port was paying the farm bond, maintenance was put off because the port had no money for it.

Bell suggested dedicating that $100,000 specifically to completing needed projects at the farm as a way of offsetting the proposed levy increase dollars going to the wharf.

The filing deadline to get a levy on the November ballot is July.

“We want to make sure we have all of our ducks in a row,” Bell said. “Let’s look at what we can get done in the next month in terms of paperwork resolution.”

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