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Port commissioners approve extending marketing contract
Despite not knowing how they’re going to pay for it, an extension of a contract with Marsh Andersen LLC of Bainbridge Island was approved by Bremerton Port commissioners on June 10.
Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the contract with Bob Wise, of Marsh Andersen for another year at a cost of $48,000. Wise has been under contract with the port for the past year as a consultant charged with marketing the Bremerton Marina.
Under the terms of the new contract, Wise will market both the Bremerton and the Port Orchard marinas.
Port CEO Jim Rothlin told commissioner that it was the staff's desire to continue to have Wise available to market the marinas.
“Bremerton is just starting to make a presence out there,” Rothlin said of the marina. “I want to keep that rolling. It's going to take some time. But Bob (Wise) has the contacts and it just makes sense to keep him on.”
For the past year, the port has had a professional services contract with Wise.
He received $9,000 a month for services for the first five months, and then his fee was renegotiated to $4,300 a month. The extension of the contract calls for him to receive $4,000 a month, or $48,000 through June of 2015.
When commissioners extended his contract last time, they did so because they wanted to have Wise on board for an entire year, so that staff could have his help inn marketing the marina for each season of the year.
Tuesday, they added another year to that, citing that they don't want to lose what has been gained thus far, and that there is no staff at the current time to do the marketing.
Last spring, commissioners eliminated the position of marketing director, laying off the person who had that job.
But prior to approving the contract extension, commissioners noted that the cost wasn't in the 2014 budget.
Chief Financial Officer Becky Swanson said she needed time to go through the budget and see what the possibilities were for finding the $28,000 needed to pay Wise from now until the end of 2014. His pay for 2015 will be put in the 2015 budget when it is drafted later this year.
“There's no (marketing) funds there,” she said. “I’ve gone through the budget and I haven't identified where I can pull it from. I haven’t identified the possibilities yet.”
She said there were funds that “could potentially be used,” but warned against taking the $28,000 from reserves.
“Worst case scenario, we could do that,” she said.
Ultimately, the contract was approved and Swanson was directed to find the funding.
Port Commission Chairman Roger Zabinski defended the decision.
“He (Wise) has the niche marketing specialty that we need,” Zabinski said. “It’s hard to find someone who can market marinas, aviation and an industrial park. It's much less expensive to have him under contract than it is to hire someone and pay their salary and their benefits.”
To date, Wise has been paid more than $80,000 and in that time occupancy rates at the Bremerton Marina have gone from 30 percent to 50 percent.
Summer occupancy rates average about 60 percent, port officials said.
Wise also has added several functions to the marina's events including participation in National Marina Day, and special value offers such as the Olympic Cruising Club which allows boaters who keep their boats at Bremerton to have free moorage at some participating marinas in the area.
Port CEO Jim Rothlin said the extension is a 36 percent decrease in what has been paid to Wise during the previous 12 months.