March 9, 2017
The Port of Grays Harbor Commission Meeting for March 9, 2017 was called to order at 9:00 a.m.
Mary Nelson, Director of Finance & Administration, led the meeting in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Those in attendance at the meeting were as follows:
COMMISSION AND STAFF
Chuck Caldwell - Commissioner
Stan Pinnick - Commissioner
Jack Thompson - Commissioner
Gary Nelson - Executive Director
Arthur Blauvelt - Legal Counsel
Mary Nelson - Director of Finance & Administration
Randy Lewis - Director of Environmental and Engineering Services
Mike Johnson - Contract & Project Manager
Molly Bold - Westport Business Manager
Leonard Barnes - Deputy Executive Director
Marisa Yauch - Executive Administrative Assistant
Alissa Shay - Manager of Business Development
Shannon Anderson - Business & Trade Development Asst.
Seth Taylor - Marine Terminals Manager
Kayla Dunlap - Public Affairs Manager
Lisa Benn - Accounting Manager
Ross Read - Operations Manager
Ken Rausch - Marina Operations Manager
Robin Leraas - Marina Manager
Elizabeth Chien - USACE
Hans Miller - USACE
Rob Bearden - Westport Mayor
Arnie Martin - GH Audubon
Doug Hill - Port Security Guard
Linda Orgel - CCH
Jennifer Custer - Freedom Sport Fishing
Kyle Deerkop - Coast Seafoods
Shelli Hopsecger - CCAI
Items discussed and action taken where required is as follows:
1. By motion made by Commissioner Pinnick, seconded by Commissioner Caldwell and unanimously approved, the Commission adopted the Minutes of February 14, 2017 Regular Commission Meeting as recorded in the Minutes Book No. 20 on pages 67 through 74 inclusive.
1. By motion made by Commissioner Pinnick, seconded by Commissioner Caldwell, the Commission unanimously approved for payment those Payroll Vouchers issued February 17, 2017 and March 3, 2017, ACH/Wire Transfers No. 99900815 through and including No. 99900826 and General Disbursement Vouchers No. 93365 through and including No. 93686 for payment in the amount of $2,547,201.12.
Corps Update on Westport Breakwall and Revetment Projects
Randy Lewis reported on the latest updates to the breakwall and revetment projects in Westport. He introduced Hans Miller, USACE, who is in charge of the projects to speak in more detail. Mr. Miller went over details in these projects as well as the deepening of the Grays Harbor Navigation Channel. The revetment repair and the breakwater are now complete while the channel deepening will continue until completion, taking breaks for required fish windows.
Leonard Barnes inquired about any overtopping going on at the revetment after the repairs. Mr. Miller replied that the repairs have minimized the overtopping considerably since last year. It still may occur during storms or other high tide events, but will be much less.
Update on Westport Bankline Project
Mike Johnson reported on the final phase of the bankline replacement. Upgrades to the bankline have been in the works since 1993 when Phase 1 was completed. In 1998 Phase 2 was completed and in 2005 phase 3 began. Phase 3 added an additional 735 feet of bankline repairs which completed the final phase of the project. Chain link style fencing will also be installed with new entrance ways at Floats 5, 7, 9, and 11.
There were issues with the asphalt and paved sidewalk which required extra work that will be addressed by the change order later in the meeting with the related action item.
Updates to FEMA Flood Maps
Randy Lewis presented on updated flood maps for areas with Port property. The biggest change was in Westport where a lot of the city came out of the flood map. There were also changes to areas of the Marine Terminals where some high velocity zones have been reclassified to flood zones. There could be ramifications in the future regarding construction in these zones.
Commissioner Pinnick inquired on the area around Western Steele; will it be affected by the diking project? It is thought that this area will be outside of the proposed diking project so it would not be affected.
WDFW Lower Satsop Floodplain Restoration and Erosion Reduction Project Update
Alissa Shay reported on the options we have in response to the proposal presented in February by the WDFW. The Port conducted an independent study to review the documented research and ensure that the project would be in the best interest of the Port as well as other stakeholders in the project. In this review there were concerns for adverse impacts on Port property.
In order to explore more into the project, WDFW would like the Port to sign the JARPA document which would allow access to the property, but no construction of any kind would be authorized until a full agreement was in place.
Commissioner Caldwell was pleased that another study was completed to protect the Port and gain more information on the possible outcomes.
Gary Nelson stated that at this point, the Commission needs to make a decision on how we would like to proceed. We are expected to respond in some way to the proposal by WDFW. Mr. Nelson stated several options including a decline to sign the JARPA; this would halt the project from their end if the Port will not allow further exploration. A second option is to sign the JARPA and allow them to conduct more research and tests on the possibilities they have proposed. The third option will be to sign the JARPA with a contingency for issues which may negatively impact the Port. After some discussion it was understood that if the JARPA were signed by the Port with language stating contingencies and protection for the Port, the Commissioners would find this acceptable.
Art Blauvelt explained that if the third option is chosen, a letter will be sent stating the Port’s concerns and acknowledging that we will need more information before agreeing to the construction of this project.
Mr. Barnes stated that the next step would be permits. At this point, if the conditions are not met the Port will be able to stop the project.
Mr. Lewis explained that if they receive the signed JARPA, even with contingencies, it will allow them to see the layout better in order to get more information and keep it moving forward.
The Commissioners agreed unanimously to sign the JARPA for WDFW with conditions specified by the Port.
Public Information Report
Kayla Dunlap reported that REG and Contanda are still pondering plans in response to the ORMA regulations that are being enforced on projects they have proposed.
Fourth grade tours offered for our 7th year will be scheduled between May 22nd and June 9th. Letters will be going out to teachers shortly for scheduling. We look forward to having all of the 4th graders in the county learn about the Port.
Following 4th grade tours, the Port will offer public tours for the community. These will include Marine Terminal tours and walking tours of the Satsop Business Park. Dates will be announced later this month for public tours.
The Legislature hit the half way point of the session this week. Staff continues to keep open communication with coastal caucus members and their staff. WPPA will hold a legislative committee meeting March 10th which will recap the first half of the session.
Leonard Barnes reported for February 2017 the Port handled twelve deep water vessels and no barges which resulted in 225,121 MT of cargo for the month of February. YTD the Port has handled 406,161.253 MT of import/export cargo.
There was a large load of logs for PLS. Also, the trend line for over-high/over-wide cargo has been increasing in 2017. There was recently a large discharge of vehicles, over 4,000. This has been a strong start for 2017; we do anticipate a slower month in April with some maintenance scheduled during this time.
Commission President Jack Thompson gave a welcome to Mayor Rob Bearden from the City of Westport. Also, he wanted to acknowledge that Robin Leraas was back after an extended time out of the office.
No public comment.
Action Item No. 1
Mike Johnson reported on the authorization to enter into a new janitorial service agreement with BC Services Clean Crew. This is an agreement for services to clean all Port buildings for the Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Satsop facilities.
BC Services Clean Crew has been our service provider since 2012 and has provided excellent service. The proposal was originally going to be a one-year agreement but the Port plans to change this to a three-year agreement starting April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 for $86,617.94, with an option to extend the term at negotiated prices annually until March 31, 2020. Funds will come from the Port’s Operating Budget. Commissioner Pinnick moved to amend the action from a one-year to a 3 year contract, and then vote as presented.
Motion to Authorize the Executive Director to enter into a Three-Year Janitorial Services Agreement with BC Services Clean Crew in the amount of $86,617.94 for April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, was made by Commissioner Pinnick and seconded by Commissioner Caldwell. Motion passed with a vote of 3-0.
Action Item No. 2
Mike Johnson reported on the authorization to approve change orders 1 and 2 for Contract No. 1877, Marina Improvements Phase III (Bankline and Fencing).
Additional work was required that was not part of the original contract for phase III. Change orders were issued to cover the additional costs of the project, details below.
Change Order 1 - Posts, rails and frames which were advised to be upgraded for strength. The upgrade came to $1,632.00
Change Order 2 - Demo existing asphalt paved sidewalk except for ADA access ramps at each float head and replace with new cast-in-place concrete sidewalk. The total for this change order is $59,927.04. Funds for this work will come from the Port’s Capital Budget.
Motion to Authorize the Executive Director to approve Change Orders 1 and 2 for Contract No. 1877, Marina Improvements Phase III (Bankline and Fencing) in the amount of $61,559.04 which includes WSST, was made by Commissioner Pinnick and seconded by Commissioner Caldwell. Motion passed with a vote of 3-0.
Action Item No. 3
Mike Johnson reported on an authorization to proceed with damage repairs to float 15. Due to damage caused by the sunken vessel Lady Lillian, repairs to Float 15 need to be performed. A damage assessment was conducted and extensive repairs are needed to bring the float back to good condition. There are approximately $60,000.00 in repairs needed which will come from the insurance claim against the vessel.
Motion to Authorize the Executive Director to Proceed with Contract No. 1893, Float 15 – Lady Lillian Damage Repairs, was made by Commissioner Pinnick and seconded by Commissioner Caldwell. Motion passed with a vote of 3-0.
Action Item No. 4
Molly Bold reported on a minor change to the Westport Marina Tariff. Since this was last approved all of the shore power units have been converted to metered usage. Prior this this, there was language referring to non-metered power, which will be removed from the verbiage.
Motion to Authorize the Executive Director to Approve updates to the Westport Marina Tariff with Regard to Non-Metered Power Verbiage in Sections 18 a and b, was made by Commissioner Pinnick and seconded by Commissioner Caldwell. Motion passed with a vote of 3-0.
Mike Johnson reported on the completion of Contract No. 1878, Terminal 4B Dolphin Replacement. On August 9, 2016 the Commission awarded this project to Rognlin’s, Inc. Work on this contract was for the removal of the old creosote piling and replacement of the new dolphin at T-4B with 24-inch diameter steel piling.
Three change orders were needed for this project before completion for a total of $27,197.24. The original contract was for $413,739.08 and the final contract amount was $441,193.57 which includes WSST.
Motion to Adopt Resolution No. 2924: Authorization for the Executive Director to Accept the Work Completed Under Contract No. 1878, T-4B Dolphin Replacement, was made by Commissioner Pinnick and seconded by Commissioner Caldwell. Motion passed with a vote of 3-0. Resolution adopted.
No public comment.
WORKSHOP: The New Normal: Sustainable Growth for the Westport Marina
Shelli Hopsecger and Molly Bold began the workshop on the existing operational conditions of the Westport Marina basin and uplands. The Westport Marina ranks as the leading commercial fish landing port, by value of catch, on the West coast mainland in 2015. Larger ports in Alaska were the only seafood landings to out rank Westport in value landed along the West Coast. In addition to fishing, tourism and public access are key components of the usage of the Westport facilities.
In considering a strategic development plan for the Westport Marina, a review of the operating trends of the marina demonstrated a steady growth of marina revenues over the past five years, averaging over $1 million per year. Recent strong recreational fishing seasons and high moorage demand in the peak summer months has led to many boaters wanting to guarantee moorage by entering into annual moorage contracts.
The Commissioners and staff discussed whether the Port can count on this revenue level as the “new normal” when the revenues are so dependent upon the fishing conditions.
Commissioner Caldwell commented on the importance of the fishing season. If WDFW made significant changes to fishing regulations and allowances would the marina still be full during the peak season and what impact would it have on annual moorage?
Ms. Hopsecger asked the group how the Port can mitigate this risk in the future and if there are opportunities to diversify into other industries to develop steady revenue streams using existing resources.
Brainstorming options, Gary Nelson offered one way to mitigate risk could be to reduce the footprint of the floats in the marina. Reconfiguration and reduced numbers could reduce maintenance expenses, while better configuring the marina for today’s vessel fleet.
Mr. Nelson mentioned the expense of reconfiguration. It would be a good thing to look into those costs and prices that would be charged for moorage of the larger boats. In order to make this option feasible where the Port is making approximately the same income from marina moorage would this be a plausible option.
Commissioner Thompson commented that we could look more closely at occupancy. If we have been full, then a reduction in slips would reduce income while overhead would remain the same. We can look at different types of fishing which may be gaining popularity while others encounter issues in numbers.
Mayor Bearden commented that Tuna fishing has gained momentum, but it is difficult to predict if that will remain the popular fish in the coming seasons. If one dwindles it seems that another picks up; we just hope that will continue. The issues for fishermen trying to make a living are the cost of permits and gear while the allowance of fish has been fluctuating and more costs are incurred. They have to stay diverse which drives many of these costs up.
Mr. Nelson acknowledged that resource dependence (fisheries) creates additional risk and limited growth potential. In addition, the timeline of setting and announcing the catch limits and policies each year makes it tough for fishermen and the Port to plan for business. These limitations and risks make it difficult to fund major improvements.
Robin Leraas commented on the need for larger floats to handle the increase in size of the crab boats in recent years. The boats are getting wider, up to 25 feet wide, and the docks that were made in the 1980’s are not made to handle these vessels.
Ken Rausch stated that some of the vessels are up to 60 and 80 feet long and they have a hard time finding space for them; usually has to be on the end of a float.
Ms. Hopsecger wrapped this up with the idea that perhaps the configuration of the floats could change. Keeping things more flexible may allow better space for larger boats.
Molly Bold mentioned another challenge faced by marina staff is the various types of transactions handled. There are many complicated transactions they are responsible for and there is a small staff to cover these needs in addition to the maintenance needed to keep equipment safe.
Ms. Hopsecger discussed setting short-term and long-term priorities; what does the Port want to see in the next two years? What are goals for 5 years?
Dredging of the marina is vital to serving the fishing and recreational users and is a top priority. The Port has dedicated internal capital funding to planning and permitting and is working with the Coastal Caucus and Washington Legislature to secure the additional funding need to complete this project. Currently the full amount of funds needed for this project have not been secured.
A project to improve the boat launch parking area was recently presented to the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) for grant funding. RCO is funded by the Washington State Legislature each biennium and they are waiting to hear exactly how much will be allocated to them through the state for various projects. If these funds are attained, a Port match of 25% will be required.
Leonard Barnes mentioned there is good infrastructure in place for growing the upland seafood processing businesses, including outfall capacity at Firecracker Point.
Recognizing the need for partnerships for the growth of the Westport Marina District, Mr. Nelson wondered if Westport would need sewer upgrades. City of Westport Mayor Bearden said they will not need to turn business down because of sewer restrictions. The City has capacity and can expand to meet needs.
Mr. Barnes mentioned water is becoming an issue. Mayor Bearden said they are working on expansion now. The system is currently being pushed to the limit when processing is in full swing.
Ms. Bold stated the atmosphere in Westport is really positive right now. People are working together and ideas are in the pipeline. There is a group working to try to make an event center and another working on a parking area that could also be a tsunami safe zone. There is work to protect the fishermen’s memorial at the end of Neddie Rose Drive. There is talk of moving the memorial to a new location as it is currently in a very limited space on the road.
Commissioner Pinnick inquired on the Coast Guard station in Westport. Are there any additional funding opportunities available since they are stationed near our marina. No, unfortunately there are not. It does help with projects, but there is no direct funding advantage.
Ms. Hopsecger brought up the thought of how we can elongate the shoulder seasons of the fishing seasons.
Ms. Leraas mentioned a work dock would be really helpful so that boats can be worked on locally. Where could a work dock like this fit, is it beyond the port’s financial capacity?
Mr. Rausch mentioned the possibility of allowing space for dock work if the marina configuration were changed. There is limited space in this area so if something were to move it may open things up for other infrastructure that could benefit more users.
Mary Nelson mentioned the importance of partnerships which can allow for great opportunities. With the marina facility hovering at an operating break even, and limited financial resources the Port has to be very strategic in using these resources toward projects that strengthen the financial capacity of the marina and the community.
Mr. Barnes followed up with the fact that there is still a lot of deferred maintenance and the Port continues to balance the most important priorities.
Commissioner Pinnick mentioned the Westport Marina Master Plan the Port worked on in partnership with the City of Westport years ago. He noted the number of completed projects that were identified in that plan and the tool it is for prioritization and implementation.
The Commissioners thanked Ms. Hopsecger for a great discussion and will continue to work to try to make the marina area financially solvent and user friendly to the greatest number of people.
No new business.
There being no further business to come before the Commission, the Regular Meeting recessed at 12.44 p.m.
The Board then went into Executive Session to consider the acquisition, sale or lease of real estate and to discuss with Port’s legal counsel matters relating to agency enforcement actions, litigation or potential litigation. No action to be taken during Executive Session. It was announced that the Executive Session would last one hour.
The Executive Session ended at 1:45 p.m. and the Regular Meeting adjourned at that time.