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Port Commissioners Approve Balanced Budget

Burlington-- The Port of Skagit Board of Commissioners today adopted a balanced operating budget for 2011.

The port foresees operating revenues for 2011 of $4,486,617, a 2.7 percent increase over 2010, and operating expenses are expected to come in at $4,485,714. Income generated by the port’s three operating units will provide the revenue: La Conner Marina, 56 percent; Bayview Business Park/Conway Industrial Site, 31 percent; Skagit Regional Airport, 13 percent.

“The port commission believes in operating a public entity within its means. I sincerely doubt an unbalanced budget would have passed today,” said Kevin Ware, commission president. “We balanced the budget by trimming expenses to meet income. Sometimes that’s not easy, but it’s what elected officials must do.”

Salaries and benefits make up 49 percent of the operating expenses, followed by outside services at 17 percent. Key elements of the operating budget include a 14 percent increase in the cost of health insurance, a more than doubling of repair costs to catch up on deferred work, and increased engineering services.

“For the 2011 budget, our port commissioners made it very clear that neither a substantial increase in salaries nor raising property taxes would be appropriate, given the continuing down economy,” said Patsy Martin, the port’s executive director. “The managers heard this message and developed a budget that meets these requirements.”

The commissioners also approved the port’s 2011 capital budget, which includes $7,160,425 in spending. Two projects at Skagit Regional Airport -- $3.7 million for Runway 10-28 and $2 million for the Taxiway F environmental cleanup – comprise the bulk of the capital budget.

Sources of funding for capital projects include grants and property taxes, plus $347,000 from reserves. The port will collect $1,241,366 in property taxes next year, unchanged from 2010. By decree of the port commissioners, property taxes are only spent for four types of projects: community, safety, infrastructure and environmental.

“Despite continuing economic challenges, both locally and also nationwide, the port has held its own during 2010,” said Kristin Garcia, director of finance. Revenues are on track to meet projections, and expenses are expected to come in below budget this year, she reported to the port commissioners.

If you are a reporter seeking information about the Port of Skagit, please call Andrew Entrikin, community outreach administrator, at 360-757-0011 or email