The Port of Grays Harbor is budgeting to dip into its reserves next year by as much as $315,000 to balance its general operating budget. But that would still leave more than $3.2 million maintained in the general fund’s reserve.
Port Executive Director Gary Nelson noted that the port’s operating revenues, now standing at $29.4 million, have seen a 500 percent increase since 2003.
Income from the Port’s tenants is expected to be down by about $1.2 million.
If BMT Northwest walks away from its lease at the Satsop Business Park that would be another $300,000 hit to the Port’s budget, which could be absorbed by the operating reserves.
“They can walk away or they can breach, which would be a breach of the contract, and we would probably have to sue or something,” Gary Nelson said. “The other way is to sit down and try to negotiate some kind of resolution.”
A public hearing on the budget is set for the Port Commission’s next regular meeting at 9 a.m. on Nov. 12 at the commission’s office at 111 S. Wooding St., Aberdeen.
None of the crude oil export projects at the Port are factored into the 2014 budget.
The marine terminals represent more than 70 percent of the Port’s revenue, about half of that from dry goods shipping like cars and wood products.
“Global demand in particular for dry bulk commodities, automobiles, and wood products has resulted in a 55 percent increase in trade volumes for 2012 and 33 percent increase in 2013,” the Port’s budget message states.
The Port is budgeting for 40 barges and 101 vessels to call on its terminals. That’s an increase of just four barges from today’s estimated figures. But that compares to 16 barges and 70 vessels from 2011. The Port is budgeting for a slight decrease in metric tons of cargo from liquid bulk and dry bulk.
Two part-time positions are being eliminated through retirement at the Satsop Business Park. The budget anticipates one of those positions will be replaced by a full-time employee.
Two new bar pilots are currently in training with the state, and will be hired by the Port in 2014. Bar pilots help ships cross the bar in Westport and guide them into the terminals.
Two new maintenance positions will be created, and one person will be hired in executive public affairs.
Cost-of-living increases, usually 2 percent to 3 percent, have been budgeted for but not yet negotiated between the Port and its unions.