Port of Orcas update: 2012 budget; new board members face hangar association challenges

The Port of Orcas has officially introduced its three new commissioners who will take office in January: Dwight Guss will replace Dave Noneman; Sheldon Gregory will replace Alan Edwards; and Brian Ehrmantraut will replace chairman Bret Thurman. They will join current commissioners Audrey Wells and William Hopkins on the board.

Hangar association

During the Nov. 17 meeting, attorney Mimi Wagner, from the law offices of William Weissinger, addressed the board on behalf of hangar owners Chuck and Carolyn Crawford, who lease land from the port on which their three hangars are built.

“We are very concerned about the Crawfords’ predicament as lessees,” Wagner told the commissioners. “We have grave concerns about the proposed new leasing agreement.”

Port lessees have recently formed Orcas Hangar Association because the commission wanted to simplify the port’s leasing arrangements. Wagner proposed that the port consider “an alternate framework for new leases,” as the recently created structure did not fit any legal format known to her law firm. In response, Thurman moved to forestall taking any action on lease agreements until a later date, saying, “Let’s step back, slow down and get a better game plan.”

2012 general fund

The board also approved its 2012 budget. Expected general fund revenue and expenditures equal $258,850. Budgeted expenditures are up $14,208, roughly six percent from $244,642 in 2011. Projected revenue is down $33,960, 13 percent from $292,810 in 2011.

The port budgeted $7,500 to pay its five commissioners, who have chosen compensation of $90 per meeting instead of the state-mandated rate of $104, port manager Bea vonTobel told the Sounder.

As operations coordinator, vonTobel earns $52,000 plus $5,400 in medical coverage. Part-time facilities manager James Reid is paid $8,000. Retirement for employees and commissioners is $3,000.

The board set aside $60,000 for legal fees. To date in 2011 the port has spent $15,873 of its budgeted $30,000.

Fire and liability insurance is budgeted at $16,000. In 2011, the port paid only $10,161 out of a budgeted $17,000. vonTobel said the rate was lower because of the port’s good history.

Other budgeted items include $26,500 for grounds/maintenance work; $5,000 for road maintenance; $6,000 for a janitor; $13,800 for taxes and auditor fees, $3,000 for continuing education; $5,000 for runway repair and field electrical; and $14,650 for electricity, water/sewer, refuse and sani-cans.

vonTobel had also budgeted $17,000 to pay solid waste parcel fees, but removed it after fee failed to pass.

The port’s expected 2012 revenue includes $121,338 in property taxes; $10,100 in airport tie-down fees; $14,000 in rental income; $11,500 from airport parking fees; $22,000 from hangar rental; $45,000 from land leases; $8,500 from land rental – leasehold tax; $1,200 in fuel foliage; $300 in investment interest; $300 in finance charges; $300 in vending machine proceeds; and $450 in miscellaneous income.

Also included in the 2012 anticipated revenue is $23,618 from payments and interest paid by Orcas Park and Rec District on its $65,000 loan.

Capital projects

A separate capital projects budget totals $1,005,000.

Expenditures include $800,000 for land acquisition; $30,000 for a contingency reserve; $50,000 for the airport overlay project; $30,000 for the GPS approach, $60,000 for navigation/weather aids; and $35,000 for auto parking area reconstruction.

Of $1,660,000 budgeted for 2011, $637,690 was spent on capital projects this year.

Expected 2012 revenue includes $54,900 from property tax revenue and a $950,000 federal FAA grant.

Port income and investments

The port’s total expected income from the property tax levy in 2012 is $216,518. Its current investments total $300,000.