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Monday, October 2, 2023
Oct. 2, 2023

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Port of Vancouver board OKs $27M bond

Money will go toward infrastructure projects to attract more business

By , Columbian staff writer

The Port of Vancouver Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a roughly $27 million limited tax general obligation bond Tuesday.

The bond is expected to be issued as soon as mid-September and will play into the port’s 2023 budget.

According to a press release from the port, the money collected from this bond will be used for infrastructure projects, including improving docks and wharfs, marine terminal work and work on public amenities.

The specific projects will be rebuilding Berth 17 so it can be commercially viable for the possibility of a long-term tenant, stabilizing the bank at Terminal 4, and improving sections four and five of the Renaissance Trail, port spokesperson Therese Lang said.

The port wants its infrastructure in the best shape possible so it can generate revenue, she said.

“The more business we can bring into the port, the more people we can hire,” Lang added.

A limited tax obligation bond is a government bond that allows the issuing agency — in this case the Port of Vancouver — to use property taxes to pay off its debt service obligations if necessary. The port collected $12.6 million in taxes this year, $5.4 million of which went toward debt obligation. That amount is enough to cover the debt obligation for this new bond, said Scott Goodrich, director of finance, treasurer and auditor at the port.

The port’s bond will be issued with an interest rate at or below 5 percent.

The port hasn’t issued a bond like this in 13 years, according to Lang. The port’s financial team is modeling the bond for 20 years but is still working out the timeline with advisers.

According to state law, taxes collected by the port have to be used for specific things like paying debt services for outstanding general obligation bonds, purchasing new assets or repairing or improving existing assets, and supporting environmental remediation.

There was no discussion among the members nor any public testimony during Tuesday’s public hearing.

This story has been updated to clarify that the port’s current taxing capacity is enough to pay for the bond and that there was no workshop held on the bond.