I've lived in Ferndale for seven years, and I'm also a Ferndale City Council member and the council liaison to the Ferndale Economic Commission. These perspectives bring me strongly to the view that Gateway Pacific Terminal will operate to the highest environmental standards, all while making a significant positive contribution to local schools, families and workers by creating high-wage jobs and significantly increasing the tax base in Whatcom County.
The current industries at Cherry Point have proven they have been a reliable source of good jobs and tax revenues, and are all good neighbors. Like most Ferndale residents, I view these industries as vital to our community's long-term economic and social stability.
The reality is, a community's well-being, like a family's, starts with financial well-being. When parents have living-wage jobs such as those that this terminal will create, they can provide better for their children. When communities have good tax revenues, they can provide better schools. And when children are given the right tools, they have more positive attitudes at school, and when they are in the right learning environment, they achieve and succeed.
In addition to its jobs, the Gateway terminal will be one of the largest taxpayers in Whatcom County, contributing millions of dollars in tax revenues to local services each year. Notably, this will include nearly $1.5 million a year to the Ferndale school budget. Many Custer and North Bellingham schools need major renovations, and in some cases, new schools and buildings. The successful completion of the Gateway Terminal will significantly increase the tax base to more easily share the cost of building new schools. This increased tax base will also, in effect, lower each taxpayer's burden.
A recent study conducted by the independent consulting firm FCS concluded Gateway would be a major contributor to many public services throughout the county. Once Gateway is operating at full-capacity the Blaine School District will receive $809,000 every year, Fire District No. 7 will receive $636,000 annually, the Library District will receive $337,000 annually, and Whatcom County will receive $1,779,000 each year in tax revenues.
Our local schools and public services depend on this tax base, and the many unemployed families in Ferndale are counting on this project to put them back to work.
The Gateway project is good for the United States, good for Whatcom County, and certainly good for the local families who are currently struggling to find work.
Brent Goodrich is a member of the Ferndale City Council.