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Commissioner Mahan gives upbeat State of the Port address

Port of Bremerton Commissioner Bill Mahan spokes at the grand opening of the port’s Harborside Steps in Bremerton recently. - Courtesy of the Port of Bremerton
Port of Bremerton Commissioner Bill Mahan spokes at the grand opening of the port’s Harborside Steps in Bremerton recently.
— image credit: Courtesy of the Port of Bremerton

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Port of Bremerton Board of commissioners, newly appointed president Bill Mahan gave a “State of the Port” address, praising how the agency controlled spending and froze property taxes.

“The (port) has weathered the recession far better than most government bodies to this point,” Mahan said, pointing to “preliminary numbers” that showed the port’s operating spending was down by $1.173 million in 2009, “due in part to not filling a budgeted staff position and watching our spending.

“Could we have done better? Probably, but I am proud of the commission and port staff for the job we did in controlling our spending,” he said.

Mahan also pointed out that the port commissioners “decided to freeze the property tax at the 2008 level and not levy an additional 1 percent that is allowed by law,” saying that this was made possible by “increasing revenue from leases of port properties (and) keeping our buildings filled with tenants in these challenging times.”

Mahand said the port had only a 10 percent vacancy rate in its building leases at the end of 2009, compared with “and almost 20-percent vacancy rate in the Seattle Metropolitan area.”

Mahan said the port’s marinas have been the “hardest hit” during the recession, as the Bremerton Marina is failing to find as many tenants as expected and the Port Orchard Marina is seeing more “seasonally vacant slips than in past years.” However, Mahan said the port has developed a “very aggressive” marketing plan, and the two marinas actually had an increase in boater visits, or “boater days” last year — in 2009, he said the two marinas had 7,476 boater days, up from 6,838 in 2008.

Mahan’s address was given instead of the usual “CEO’s Report” delivered by Cary Bozeman at the beginning of each meeting. From now on, Mahan said Bozeman’s report will be given at the first meeting of the month, and his report will be given at the second meeting.

Also at the meeting:

• Marina Facilities Director Steve Slaton announced that the new website for the Bremerton Marina is now up at www.bremertonmarina.com

“The Internet is the most (utilized) method of communication for people interested in bringing boats here, so we thought it was time to update our presence,” Slaton said. “It has been active about a week. It is eye-catching, and we hope it will draw attention to the marina.”

Slaton said the port also direct-mailed 7,500 postcards to “documented” boat owners in the surrounding region, notifying them of the Bremerton Marina and its new website.

• Slaton said his staff is also gearing up for the Seattle Boat Show this weekend, and for the second annual Kitsap Harbor Festival in May. “We have over 200 reservations in both of our marinas already for the harbor festival,” he said.

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