Todd Coleman’s April 22 “Local View: Port prepared for future,” gives a lot of happy talk about the wonders occurring at the Port of Vancouver. Unfortunately, it tells only part of the story, with no mention of port revenues or port taxes. Without knowing these, port district taxpayers are led to believe the port is all good will with no sacrifice.
Port growth has brought added revenue. Space, facilities, dockage and equipment are leased at lucrative rates. The 2013 port budget shows $33 million in operating revenue. Along with this business income, the port is a large public tax recipient; the 2013 budget calls for $9.9 million in property tax receipts and $15.3 million in government grants.
One might think as port operating revenues increase, dependence on tax support would be reduced. Not so! The port tax, imposed by elected port commissioners, continues unchanged despite port business successes; no mention of it going away in either the port current budget planning, or in its long-term “strategic plan.” So when, if ever, will the Port of Vancouver stand on its own and pay its own way? Unspoken alongside Coleman’s happy talk, the taxpayers just keep on paying the port’s bills.