Port District 2 looking at spending, taxes
July 29, 2021
Where does the money go?
Wahkiakum Port District 2 Commissioner Austin Burkhalter posed that question when the port commission met July 20 in Skamokawa.
Burkhalter also suggested that because the port district has cash in the bank that the commission could "cut back taxes a little bit."
The questions sparked a discussion which ended with commissioners asking Jeff Smith to prepare an analysis that commissioners could consider as they prepare to enter their budget cycle.
Port Attorney Tim Hanigan commented that commissioners have approved 1 percent tax increases in the past because the district hasn't been in a good financial position.
Commission Chair Brian O'Connor agreed, noting that the district has taken on a new expense in a health care program for employees, and there are maintenance needs at Skamokawa Vista Park, such as upgrading an aging electrical system that is inadequate for contemporary RV's.
"If we cut taxes, we won't be able to fix things or expand," he said.
He suggested development of a capital improvement list with addition of projects such as a laundry so that staff don't have to take park linens home to wash and dry.
Burkhalter commented that he would also like to see a breakdown of taxes and spending by the district.
"I think people would like that so they can see where the money goes," he said.
In other business, Smith reported that a grant application for a footbridge over a stream on the Vista Park shoreline trail hadn't been awarded.
However, improvements in the area should come with further work by Department of Natural Resources firefighters. The agency has brought crews to the park to practice trail building and firefighting techniques that have resulted in significant trail improvements.