Port 2 commissioners consider 2023 budget


October 20, 2022

Commissioners of Wahkiakum Port District 2 on Tuesday went over their preliminary budget for 2023 and discussed desired improvements to the Carlton Appelo Center at Skamokawa Vista Park.

The center is the former Skamokawa United Methodist Church building, which the port acquired when the congregation dissolved. It has been renamed in honor of Appelo, one of the founders of the district.

The 2023 draft budget totals $1.05 million with $411,938 estimated operating revenue, $155,800 in interest and investment income, and $485,000 in beginning cash and investments.

Estimated payroll expenses are $331,300, other operating costs $196,500, capital costs $454,877 and debt service costs $70,000.

Potential capital improvement costs include $80,000 for an additional rental cabin at Skamokwa Vista Park.

With two commissioners opposed, the board doesn't plan to increase the district's property tax by 1 percent next year. One percent is the maximum the commission could raise the tax without holding an election.

Port Manager Sam Shogren initially included the increase in the preliminary budget. Because of the increased assessment in the district, there would be little impact on taxpayers.

Commissioner Allen Bennett supported the increase. The increase would affect taxes very little, he said, and the district has new expenses, such as improving the Appelo Center.

"It's reasonable, with our costs going up, to operate the port district," he said.

However, Commissioners Austin Burkhalter and Brian O'Connor didn't support the increase.

"I think we can do without the 1 percent," Burkhalter said. "I don't see us needing this."

"With the current inflation, I'm not for it," O'Connor said. "We don't really rely on it."

Port Attorney Tim Hanigan said he would draft a resolution for consideration at the board's November meeting that doesn't include the increase. The board will take final action on the 2023 budget then.

Shogren reported that a consultant has created a possible design and use concept for the Appelo Center.

The building would lose the church steeple but add a large feature.

The interior would be roughly divided into three parts--a community gathering area, a gaming/activity center, and then partitioned work spaces and offices.

The port is planning to participate with a local computer business in providing computer access and training for the public.

Commissioners also formalized a change in time for their monthly meetings. The meetings will be held on the third Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. in the Appelo Center.


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