POT Budget Approved: Tax levy rate remains same

By a unanimous vote, the Port of Tacoma Commission Tuesday approved the Port’s 2005 Budget.

“The Port of Tacoma is very fortunate to be a part of a community that takes a positive interest in the Port’s success,” said Timothy J. Farrell, the Port’s Acting Executive Director. “The work that we will undertake in 2005 reflects our commitment never to take that support for granted.”

With $64.5 million allocated for operating expenses, the 2005 Budget highlights Port finances and how Port resources will be allocated to the Port’s 2005 business plans, including the transition of Evergreen Marine to the new Pierce County Terminal, transition of “K” Line to Terminal 3-4 and the anticipated start-up of Yang Ming Marine Transport at Terminal 7-D.

Also included is a $190 million 2005 capital budget that helps fund the Port’s major infrastructure and facility development and improvement programs. Significant programs to improve the environment – cleanups and habitat restorations – comprise roughly $31.6 million of the capital budget.
The Port’s 2005 Budget also outlines projected cargo growth through the Port of Tacoma (from 2004 volumes), including:

*Containers – 19 percent increase in total TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent container units) to 2.1 million TEUs;

* Intermodal – 34 percent increase in intermodal lifts (movement of containers from ship to rail);

* Autos – 3 percent increase to 157,000 units;

* Total Tonnage – 4 percent increase to 19.3 million short tons; and

* General Cargo – 2 percent decrease (category includes breakbulk, specialty cargo and military shipments).

According to Farrell, this cargo activity creates significant positive economic impact in the Tacoma-Pierce County region, creating more than 28,400 family wage jobs (this estimate based on 2000 economic impact study; the Port is issuing a new economic impact study in early 2005).

A key provision of the Budget is that the Port’s tax levy – or millage rate – will remain at 18.59 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. “Over the years, the Port Commission has maintained a low tax levy,” said Farrell. “Our 2005 Budget holds the rate at the same level for the ninth consecutive year.”

The Port’s tax levy on a $200,000 home, for example, will remain unchanged from 2004 – $37.18. In 2005, the Port will collect a total of $9.9 million. By law, the Port can levy up to 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for general Port purposes. By keeping the tax levy below the maximum, the Port has foregone a total of approximately $111 million over the past 18 years.

Levy proceeds help fund debt service payments, the Port’s capital improvement program, including Commencement Bay-area environmental projects, and contributions to key regional transportation improvements.