Port of Bellingham’s 2015 budget keeps current property tax levy

The Bellingham waterfront on Sept. 19, 2013.
The Bellingham waterfront on Sept. 19, 2013. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

The Port of Bellingham commissioners have approved a 2015 budget that maintains the current property tax levied by the port.

To collect about $6.9 million countywide, the rate for 2015 is expected to be slightly less than 29 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, the same as 2014. The port’s levy makes up only part of each owner’s total property tax bills, which also include state, school, county and city property tax levies.

If things go as planned, the port will start out the year with about $31 million in cash, collect about $77 million, and spend about $86 million.

After setting aside reserves of about $10.2 million, the port should be left with about $11 million in cash at the end of the year.

One of the projects the port could take on in 2015 is the $7.3 million construction of ramp spots for commercial aircraft to remain overnight at the airport. Grant money from the Federal Aviation Administration would cover 90 percent of the project.

Squalicum Harbor is scheduled for $1 million in work on the Gate 3 fire standpipe and sprinkler system, as well as under-dock sprinkler system updates. A city ordinance requiring increased fire protection for boathouses in the marina was passed after a boathouse fire in 2012 killed two people and destroyed a dozen boats.

Bellingham Shipping Terminal is also scheduled for about $685,000 in repairs, replacing a wooden section of the pier with concrete structure.

Environmental cleanup and redevelopment costs make up about $31.8 million of the 2015 budget.

A draft of the budget is available on the port’s website, portofbellingham.com.