Kirkpatrick seeks dissolution of Tracyton Port

Love was definitely not in the air during a Valentine’s Day meeting of the Port of Tracyton Commissioners.

Commissioners and audience members argued about whether the port district should even exist.

Commissioner Walter Fitzpatrick contends the board is operating illegally, since it was found inactive by the state Auditor’s Office in 1988 and has not done any work in the past decade to justify its existence.

He made a motion to dissolve the port, which was dismissed after Commissioner Roy Lee Anderson refused to second it.

In his motion, Fitzpatrick wrote “the reason for continued existence of the Port of Tracyton has ceased” and asked to seek an order of dissolution from Kitsap County Superior Court.

He claims the port is taxing its residents illegally by collecting funds and not using them for any specific program to enhance the community.

“We’ve been trying not to spend a lot of money,” said Steve Hoffman, chairman of the port commissioners. “We’ve been trying to save the money so we can get the projects we’ve been working on going.”

“What is the project?” Fitzpatrick asked on more than one occasion.

“What is that we are doing? Are we building something? Are we tearing something down? Are we working with another group? What are we doing? What is the project?”

“We’re in the process of taking over the community hall and re-establishing it as a community center,” Hoffman said.

Fitzpatrick then asked what the commissioners have done to implement that plan to which Anderson replied “accumulate money.”

The port currently has approximately $38,000 in a state investment account. Hoffman and Anderson had planned to use the money to renovate the long-neglected community hall, which is currently owned by the Tracyton Water District and appraised at $30,000.

“We don’t own the building, so there is no project,” Fitzpatrick said. “We are not allowed that building. We are lawfully prohibited from owning that building and I have spoke to a number of people and no one has contradicted me on that.”

One audience member questioned the truthfulness of Fitzpatrick’s statement.

“It just doesn’t make sense that it would be illegal to have a healthy community center if it’s funded by the port,” Tracyton resident Jerry Murphy said. “The question to me is the building itself. Is it worth buying? Maybe it’s not. Maybe we need to step back a little bit and hire somebody to take a look at it and tell us if it’s a good deal or not.”

Nine people attended the meeting, filling the floor of the Tracyton Library. Most were aghast that the port could be dissolved, though Fitzpatrick had one supporter in the audience who agreed the port had outlived its usefulness.

Former port commissioner Kay W. Wilson, who attended Thursday’s meeting, said dissolution was brought up at a public meeting eight years ago. It was then that the port commissioners agreed to repair the community hall if the water district agreed to sell it.

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