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Catherine Soper
Public Affairs Manager

Port Wants Public Input on Increasing Commission Size

Post Date:05/10/2005

In response to a citizen request to increase Everett’s Port Commission from three members to five, the Commissioners directed staff to schedule a public hearing in late May to receive input on this issue. The date has yet to be determined.

Historically, the Port of Everett has operated on a three-member commission. Currently, the commission consists of President James Shaffer and Commissioners Philip Bannan and Don Hopkins. At the May 3 meeting, four Everett residents requested the Port re-evaluate the current commission structure.

In the residents' presentation, the group indicated that they had support, and would be seeking support from various groups in Snohomish County. The Port, in turn, decided to schedule a public hearing to properly address the issue.

“We need all the facts before we put a measure on the ballot to increase the commission size,” Hopkins said. “We need to schedule a public hearing to get a better understanding of the public’s preference on this issue.”

To place the issue on the ballot, it would cost $1.50 per registered voter, or approximately $72,500, according to the Snohomish County Auditor's office. The citizen request contained two other ballot measures. These included reducing the commission terms from six years to four and having the two additional positions run at-large elections, as opposed to defined commissioner districts within the Port District. The ballot measures could cost taxpayers upwards of $100,000.

In addition to the cost of placing the items on the ballot, it would cost approximately $25,000 annually per commissioner, said Brad Cattle, attorney at the Port of Everett. The Port currently budgets approximately $29,050 annually for each commissioner, which includes a base salary, meetings, benefits and travel expenses. The commissioners haven’t received an increase in pay since at least 1999.

John Mohr, executive director of the Port of Everett, has worked with three and five-member commissions, and said both have their benefits.

“Both commission structures have some merits,” Mohr said. “The Port Commissioners have done an excellent job in their role, and I look forward to hearing the public's arguments for and against increasing the commission size.”

For more information on the commission structure, please contact Lisa Mandt, Community Relations Representative for the Port, at 425-388-0617 or by e-mail.

Background on the Port Commission:

  • The Commissioners represent three districts located within portions of Everett and Mukilteo as well as small areas within unincorporated Snohomish County, Marysville, Priest Point and all of Hat Island.
  • Most powers of the Port District are directly vested in its Board of Commissioners. It is the policy-making and regulatory body for both internal and external Port matters.
  • The Commission hires the executive director to carry out its policies.
  • There are 76 public Port Districts within Washington state. Nearly 100,000 people live in Everett’s Port District
  • The Ports of Seattle, Tacoma, Edmonds and Anacortes have five member commissions. The remaining port districts in Washington state have three commissioners
  • The Port collects 35 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value in property taxes for Capital Improvement Projects at the Port.
  • President Shaffer is not seeking re-election. Connie Niva has announced that she is running for his seat in District 2.

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