Port commissioners want to know how many vehicles the port has

A minivan, a small pickup truck and another larger pickup truck with snow plow.

That's what was on the list of needed capital projects when the Port of Bremerton commission began its 2014 budget discussions this week.

And that's what prompted commissioners to request an inventory of all the vehicles the port owns."Whenever I go down to the marina in Port Orchard, I see five or six port vehicles just sitting there," said commissioner Larry Stokes. "What are we using all of these vehicles for? And how many do we have? I just don't know that we're using all of them."

Stokes followed up his comment by asking why the port needs another snow plow.

"How many do we have now, and how many times a year do we use them," he questioned the staff.

Facilities Maintenance Manager Lamarr Wright told the commissioners that the port currently has three trucks with snow plows that can be used for removing snow from roads and runways. He said it varied from year to year how many times they are used, but averaged it at six.

"We have a lot of area to cover," Wright said. "And when it snows we have pilots who need to get out and they want to get out fast."

But Stokes said that he thought the port had "enough vehicles that every employee could have one," he said, asking for an account of all the vehicles the port owns.

Port CEO Tim Thomson said that inventory, showing the vehicles, their date of purchase and their mileage, would be prepared for the commissioners before the next meeting.

The commission is just beginning its budgeting process for 2014. At Monday's meeting, they looked at the capital side of things. At the next meeting, they plan to look at the operating budget needs for 2014. A final budget is expected to be adopted by November.

The total proposed capital expenditures for 2014 is $2.66 million, and of that almost $1.7 is currently without funding sources. Some of the projects planned already have funding from the FAA and other grants.

Chief Financial Officer Becky Swanson went through the capital projects line item by line item and most of the projects, including several roofing projects to existing building, road repairs, upgrades of heating and air conditioning systems and a remodeling of the accounting section of the port offices.

Commissioners didn't seem surprised by most of the items, but there were a few that raised comments.

Among them, was a $175,000 security camera system for the Bremerton Marina and a $200,000 Wifi system for the same marina.

These were both items that marina consultant Bob Wise proposed to help bring and keep tenants at the marina, Swanson told commissioners.

She said she had talked with other ports to determine what would be needed and was, herself, surprised at the costs.

"There may be an opportunity to get a Homeland Security grant to cover the security cameras, but it will all depend on the timing," she said. "That process can take up to a year and we may not want to do that."

She said regarding the costs of the Wifi, the port could consider not offering free Wifi and re-cooping some of the costs through charging tenants monthly fees based on their Wifi usage.

Another item in the budget for the Bremerton Marina is a breakwater restroom. Wise also suggested that the port consider added a public restroom at the breakwater area, so that during events such as the National Marina Day, visitors to the marina don't have to walk all the way back to the shore to use the restroom.

Swanson said she didn't list an estimate for the cost of the restroom, but left a spot in the budget document so that the commissioners could consider it. Others in the room said it could range up to $100,000.

As for the vehicles on the list, the minivan was also something that would be used at the Bremerton Marina.

For some time the port has wanted to have a minivan that could be used to shuttle marina tenants to and from the grocery store, bank and other errands since most of them only have boats for travel.

Commissioners ask whether it would be driven by a port employee, or something that tenants could "check out" and drive themselves. They asked staff to look into the legal liability of allowing that.

In other action, commissioners approved staff to solicit bids for further consultation work at the Bremerton Marina.

Thomson said it was needed because the port had already spent $45,000 this year on Wise's work. Anything more than $50,000 per year has to be put out for bid, he said.

"We want to keep the momentum going," Thomson said.

Commissioners clearly agreed and said they wanted to just extend Wise's contract for another six or seven months.

"That way the staff will have had the professionals help for a full year, for all the season, and then he will have 'schooled' them and then, they should be able to take it on beyond that," Stokes said.

Thomson said the staff will go through the needed formal process to solicit applicants for the work and bring those who meet the qualification back to commissioners for a decision. Wise is expected to be among them.





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