Port fees to increase in July
Users of Port of Newport facilities will see an increase in rates and fees beginning July 1, 2022, following Port Commission action at their monthly meeting on Tuesday. With an eye on inflation and a repeated commitment to improving and maintaining port facilities, Port General Manager Paula Miranda and Director of Finance Mark Brown recommended a seven percent increase across the board, with a few exceptions noted.
“This year was a difficult year to increase rates and fees with inflation increasing every month,” Brown explained. In his report, the finance director said he looked at the Consumer Price Index for each month of 2021 and then reviewed the projections for 2022. “An increase of seven percent keeps the Port from losing purchasing power. This allows the Port to continue to maintain its facilities and grounds,” Brown explained. “Any less means the Port must scale back on these two activities and, as we all know, maintenance is critical to the continuing operations of the Port.”
The commission reviewed the list of exceptions to the across-the-board increase, which included a higher fee for recycling oil, a service provided at the commercial marina. The general manager explained that the recycling fees were never structured to make the Port money. “It is literally just provided as a service, in this case to commercial fishermen,” Miranda said, referring to the holding tank that encountered a failure back in 2020 and required costly maintenance. With an increase in fees, the organization will begin to put money aside for replacing the tank and its housing. After at least eight years with no increase, the fee to launch a boat at the South Beach marina will increase to $9 beginning in July. Commissioner Walter Chuck suggested that the increase would be unpopular with users. The fee is currently $6. “That is the problem when we don’t raise fees every year,” Miranda said. “When we do try and catch up, it seems like a big increase.” Some of the collected dollars will be set aside to fund future blacktop replacement at the marina, among other maintenance needs.
Port Commissioner Kelley Rutherford gave her support to the fee increases around the Port, suggesting that maintaining the status quo isn’t enough. “We need to improve and in order to stay in a place of improvement and not just maintaining, we need to make sure the rates match inflation and what’s going on in our world,” she said. “Everything has gone up tremendously. We can’t hang back and pretend we don’t have needs,” the commissioner added.
Some new fees were also found on the rate schedule. Vessels that offload squid at Port of Newport facilities will face a wharfage fee connected to the pounds of product that come across the dock. Projections indicate that transient squid boats will arrive in the area in the next month. Port Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the fee schedule.
In other business, Port Commissioners accepted a revised Capital Improvement Plan, one of the key documents found within the organization’s 2019 Strategic Business Plan. Port administration updated the five-year CIP to show projects that were completed, in progress, and also added new capital improvement needs. To review the full list of proposed improvements, visit https://www.portofnewport.com/2019-strategic-business-plan-capital-facilities-plan