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Port’s 2013 Budget Maintains Focus on Economic Growth

Burlington – The Port of Skagit will build on its recent successes at growing good jobs in the Skagit Valley during the coming year, as outlined in the 2013 operating and capital budgets approved by the port commissioners on Nov. 13.

The port’s 2013 operating budget projects an 8.5 percent increase in revenues from 2012 to $5.1 million and a rise in expenses of 4.7 percent to $4.5 million. Strong occupancy rates at the port’s facilities help account for the improved revenues. In addition, the port will adjust rates at the La Conner Marina and Skagit Regional Airport to reflect current market conditions.

 During 2013, the port will derive 43 percent of its operating revenues from user charges, 38 percent from facilities rentals and 19 percent from land rentals. Wages and benefits account for 53 percent of operating expenses.

The new budget focuses on economic opportunity growth, which includes implementation of marketing plans, partnering with industries such as agriculture and aerospace, and supporting local organizations to create jobs. Taking care of existing port facilities through routine and capital maintenance, plus investing in properties or facilities for future growth are two other important priorities.

“By focusing our work in these areas, we believe we will fulfill our mission of ‘Good Jobs for Our Community’ long into the future,” said Patricia H. Botsford-Martin, the port’s executive director.

Efforts to spur job growth are paying off. The port’s Third Quarter Employment Census, presented to the port commission this month, showed port tenants employed 928 people during the quarter. This represents a 7.5 percent increase from 863 jobs a year ago. Full-time jobs were up 14.2 percent for the period.

The port’s property tax levy will produce income of $1,839,389 in 2013. That’s an increase of 1 percent over last year. The port commissioners said it was important to keep the increase as small as possible while still accomplishing the port’s mission of creating jobs.

Port policy dictates that property tax is not used to pay for operations. In 2013, $725,207 in property tax revenues will go for capital improvements, including $300,000 for facilities/land investments. Other uses of property tax revenues included in the 2013 budget include economic opportunity growth initiatives, infrastructure-related bond payments, community outreach and memberships.

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 andrew@portofskagit.com