Budget reveals Port of Lewiston’s reduced dependence on river activity, Lewiston Tribune, May 10, 2018
Also, Port of Lewiston manager is slated to see his annual salary rise to $111,830
By ELAINE WILLIAMS of the Tribune
Just $90,000 of the Port of Lewiston’s $1.61 million budget for its upcoming fiscal year is anticipated to come from river-related activity.
Clearwater Paper unloads sawdust at a dock that used to be where goods such as dried peas and lentils were loaded onto Portland-bound barges. The vessels traveled on the Snake and Columbia rivers to Portland, where their cargo was transferred to ocean-going barges prior to the withdrawal of that service in 2015.
With that change, a greater share of the port’s revenue is coming from leases for its buildings and properties, according to the draft budget port commissioners reviewed Wednesday. Leases and other agreements for port holdings are expected to generate $782,448 in the fiscal year that starts July 1.
That figure includes revenue from Terminal II, a 150,000-square-foot warehouse run by a third party that stores products for customers such as Clearwater Paper.
Property taxes are expected to be a significant source of port income in the next year, too. The port intends to receive $405,000 from its levy in the 2019 fiscal year. That amount has been consistent for the previous two fiscal years after being lowered from $450,000 in 2015.
On the spending side, the biggest share of the port’s revenue – $630,000 – has been earmarked in the draft budget for infrastructure upgrades and land acquisition. Its biggest project in fiscal year 2019 is continuing to extend its fiber-optic network. A total of $300,000 will be spent on the expansion of the network. The port sells capacity on the network at the same set rate to large-scale users, as well as internet, cellphone and cable companies. The network reaches many of the city’s largest employers.
The second largest expenditure is employee salaries and benefits, slated for $445,431. All staff members are in line for raises next year, including general manager David Doeringsfeld, whose annual salary climbs by 6 percent to $111,830 in the preliminary budget.
In other business, the port commission approved adjustments to its budget for fiscal year 2018, which ends June 30. The port’s total expenditures are expected to be $1.73 million, $186,181 more than originally budgeted.
A $600,000 upgrade of the former EKO Compost site near the base of the Lewiston Hill was a big factor. It turned 15 acres into an industrial site by flattening the ground and bringing utilities to the site. It occurred in the fiscal years of 2017 and 2018, with more of the costs landing in fiscal year 2018 than were expected, Doeringsfeld said.
Small improvements such as fixing railroads played a role, too, Doeringsfeld said. With the departure of container barge service, more dried peas and lentils are leaving the area by train, increasing the need for rail maintenance.
The commission is pulling as much as $75,000 from its reserves to help cover the gap. The port will still have $4.5 million in reserves after the $75,000 is withdrawn, Doeringsfeld said.
Williams may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2261.