Port hopes to revitalize SEED project in 2009

The Port of Bremerton is moving forward with its Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) project in 2009, which includes hiring a familiar face to keep the ball rolling.

At a study session Tuesday night, interim Chief Executive Officer Tim Thomson presented the port’s board of commissioners with a list of four tasks he wanted port staff to undertake this year.

“The commission made the SEED project a priority for 2009, and (port) staff proposed these objectives as a way to do this,” Thomson said. “We need to energize this project and move it forward, and that’s what these measures are designed to do.”

The first item on the list is tasking Ken Attebery, the port’s former Chief Executive Officer who is now hired as a $100-an-hour consultant, with “activating” the Kitsap SEED non-profit organization which the port created last fall.

“And it has been basically dormant since then,” Thomson said, describing Attebery’s role as a liaison between the non-profit’s governance and port staff as SEED programs, such as the incubator building, are developed.

Attebery’s main task, Thomson said, would be creating a board for the non-profit organization that the port created for SEED leadership last year.

Commissioner Bill Mahan supported the idea, saying it would be “a small investment on our part to have Ken (Attebery) get started on that,” adding that he believed forming the non-profit’s leadership was an important step in getting SEED off the ground.

“If we don’t have the non-profit up and running, we can’t get from here to there,” Mahan said.

The ultimate goal with creating the non-profit, Thomson said, is to have the group establish itself as a 501(c) organization, begin filing for grants and eventually separate the SEED project from the port.

The second task on Thomson’s list was to separate the building of an access road to Pod 1, the first segment of the SEED project, out of the larger project. Originally, the road was to be built last, but Thomson said there are grants available now that could be applied to the road project, and he now hopes to have it ready for bid this spring.

However, he said there is a cost associated with this change in schedule, which the contractor estimated at $73,000.

While Commissioner Mahan said that amount was just a small percentage of the total cost of the project — $1.5 million — Commissioner Larry Stokes balked, saying whatever the percentage, it was still $73,000. Stokes asked Thomson if the port could either get another bid, or ask the contractors’ to “sharpen their pencils and take another look.”

Fred Salisbury, director of the port’s airport facilities, said while there is a cost associated with changes of that sort, particularly when it comes to permits, but that estimate did “seem a little bit high.”

Thomson said he could ask the contractors to “sharpen their pencils” and take another stab at the estimate.

The third item for SEED was continuing a national search for someone to oversee construction of the incubator building, a role that would formally be known as the clean-technology incubator building project development manager.

Currently, Thomson said the port is in the Request for Qualifications/Request for Proposals (RFQ/RFP) process of the search, and the person hired would be asked to work with the architecture firm creating the incubator to find design efficiencies and cost-saving measures.

He said the construction of the incubator building “has been delayed for a short period as we complete the review of the building design and obtain additional funds” to match the $2.5 million federal grant.

In addition to finding someone to oversee building of the incubator, the port is also continuing its national search for a “SEED incubator director,” a position which Thomson said was budgeted in the port’s 2009 budget.

When asked if Attebery would be a candidate for that position, Thomson said it would depend on the job description, and he could not answer either way at this point.

The fourth item on the list was the port hiring Kathleen Byrne-Barrantes of Grant Solutions to apply for grant money for the SEED project. Byrne-Barrantes has been hired by Kitsap County, the Port of Manchester and the cities of both Port Orchard and Bremerton for numerous projects.

“I think she will be a very valuable asset to have on the project,” Commissioner Stokes said.

Since the list was presented at a study session, Thomson said it did not require approval by a vote from the commissioners and he would move forward with all tasks.

Editor’s note: The rate of Attebery’s consultant fee has been corrected to the actual amount of $100 an hour.

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