FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13, 2018
CONTACT: David Doeringsfeld, Port of Lewiston Manager
Fiber Optic Infrastructure, Business and Recreation Site Development are Top Projects in FY19
(Lewiston, ID) – Following a public hearing on Wednesday, June 13, Port of Lewiston Commissioners approved a $1,613,030 Budget for Fiscal Year 2019, which runs July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019.
In FY19, the Port will invest $630,117 in important economic development projects. Nearly half ($300,000) will be used to extend fiber optic cable to additional areas in Lewiston.
The Port currently manages a dark fiber optic network that extends over 14 miles, ranging from North Lewiston to the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport. Fiber strands are leased to private telecommunications service providers at a flat rate. In turn, these companies “light” the fiber to serve their customers. By expanding fiber optic infrastructure, the Port is facilitating greater private sector service delivery at competitive rates.
“Our dark fiber network, which began in earnest with the FY16 budget, continues to be one our most important projects,” said Port of Lewiston President Mary Hasenoehrl. “To date, the Port has invested approximately $1.5 million to create this network. Access to reliable high speed internet is essential to long-term job growth in our community.”
Another key investment in FY19 is $25,000 for the Confluence Waterfront Development Plan. The Port will hire a design consultant to help determine the feasibility of creating a RV park with a public recreational dock and cruise boat facility on an 11-acre site near the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers (formerly leased to Longview Fiber Company). This potential recreational site development project stems from a 2010 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conceptual plan that was created via public process.
“The idea for developing this site has been in the works for a number of years,” said Port of Lewiston Vice President Jerry Klemm. “It’s time to take the next step to determine if the Port should help accommodate increasing traffic from the cruise boat industry while providing more public access and connectivity to our beautiful riverfront.”
Other economic development projects in the FY19 budget include $35,000 for rail improvements, $20,000 to improve areas of Col. Wright Way and $35,000 to continue infrastructure development at Harry Wall Industrial Park.
“Over the past few years, the Port has invested approximately $680,000 in Harry Wall Industrial Park,” said Port of Lewiston Secretary/Treasurer Mike Thomason. “We revamped the former EKO Compost site and other acreage to increase land inventory for business recruitment and expansion. We now have an additional 15 acres of industrial zoned property primed for business.”
For photos of Harry Wall Industrial Park and other available port properties, visit our website at: http://portoflewiston.com/economic-development/.
FY19 Property Taxes: Taxpayer Investment
As Idaho’s only seaport, the mission of the Port of Lewiston is to develop and manage assets and services that stimulate job creation and trade while enhancing the quality of life for Nez Perce County residents. Property tax dollars are used to fulfill this mission.
Property taxes levied each year are combined with Port revenues to maximize investments in economic development. As mentioned earlier, this year the Port will invest $630,117 in such projects, with $405,000 coming from property taxes.
In FY19, the property tax levy rate will decrease by 3.85 percent. Since 1990, property owners have seen a cumulative rate reduction of nearly 70 percent. The average Lewiston homeowner pays less than $16/year to the Port for economic development projects.
“In drafting each year’s budget, our goal is to continue investing in important projects for the betterment of our community at minimal cost to local taxpayers,” said Thomason.
Primary revenue sources for FY19 include dock and warehouse operations ($478,700) and rentals ($482,448).
FY18 Amended Budget Approved
The FY18 Amended Budget, totaling $1,731,441, was also approved at the June 13 meeting.
“In FY18 our major projects included extending our dark fiber network and completing site work at Harry Wall Industrial Park,” said Hasenoehrl. “This year, we look forward to continuing efforts in these and other areas. We are excited to see the job growth these projects ultimately bring to our community.”