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Shelton Mason County Journal
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September 18, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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September 18, 2014
 

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Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-15 By NATALIE JOHNSON can actually hold the line on the properties in the Port in a natalie@masoncoun~com taxes and not raise them this self-sustaining manner," he said. Year," he said. Port operating revenues, Revenues should exceed ex- The Port collected just over which inchide income from penditttres at the Port of Shel- $700,000 in county propertySanderson Field, the Oakland ton in 2015 for the first time in taxes from Port district resi- Bay Marina and other Port several years, Executive Direc- dents last year, Dobson said. properties, are projected to tor John Dobson said Tuesday. The 2015 draft budget as- reach $1.83 million. In fact, the Port's budget sumes that the Port willnot only Expenses on those prop- projects a nearly $600,000 sur- decline the 1 percent increase, erties, in addition to general plus in 2015. but will drop its tax revenue to and administrative expenses Dobson presented the 2015 exactly $700,000 for the year. at the Port, are projected to be draft budget Tuesday. The Port This is possible because each $1.78 million, leaving a surplus has scheduled a public hearing of the Port properties -- Sand- in operating funds of $51,634. on the budget for its regular erson Field, Johns Prairie and Nonoperating revenue, 2 p.m. Oct. 7 meeting, the Oakland Bay Marina -- are which includes primarily prop- Finances are looking so good supporting themselves finan- erty-tax money, amounts to in the coming year, Dobson said, cially, Dobson said. $720,000, while nonoperating that the port might not need to "One of the things this com- expenses total $118,315. take its 1 percent annual tax in- mission has mandated that I do The Port also expects to re- crease allowed by state law. through the (Port's Comprehen- ceive $150,000 in grants in "I think for the first time, we sive) plan is to operate each of 2015. Overall, taking into account cludes projects to repair por- more than $200,000 in debt tions of the runway at the Sand- payments, the Port will have a erson Field Airport, security budget surplus of $590,760 in camera purchase and installa- 2015, Dobson said. tion for the Oakland Bay Mari- Dobson said the Port also has na and Johns Prairie Industrial about $3.3 million in cash and Site, and building upgrades at inve.stments. Sanderson Field. The Port's 2015 capital bud- Port staff also announced get also includes about $3.5 mil- Tuesday that the state Audi- lion in projects on its properties, tor's Office issued no findings in with $350,000 in projects fired- the Port's 2011-2013 account- ed entirely by the Port. ability and financial audits and The remaining projects are in a 2013 audit on about $1 rail- awaiting funding from sourc- lion in federal grant money. es such as grants. The Port's "It's an extremely intense au- largest upcoming project is'a dit program. They check every 22,000-square-foot, $2.75 rail- detail, in exasperating detail, lion building, which will be paid then they check it again," said for with a combination of loans, Jan Fancher, the Port's certi- grants and Port funding, fled public accountant. "I am ex- The capital budget also in-tremely proud of the Port." continued from page A-1 to Tier 1 growers, or growers with a plant canopy of less than 2,000 square feet, and to limit larger operations to lots 10 acres or larger. More than a dozen people comment- ed on these issues as well as other con- cerns regarding marijuana production and processing businesses at Monday's meeting. "I really don't agree with the fact that they're putting these farms, pro- ducers and processors ... in residential areas," county resident Allison Bowen said. "People are going to look at that ... and they're not going to want to move out here." Diane Edgin, of Harstine Island, said the marijuana growers should not be located in residential areas because of their proximity to families with chil- dren, some of whom might be home- schooled. State-licensed marijuana producers grow the product while processors cut, dry, cure and prepare the product for sale. The state Liquor Control Board al- lows a business to have both producer and processor licenses and activities at the same location. Business owners seeking, or hold- ing, state licenses also spoke at the public hearing. "Changing the rules does cause a hardship for people trying to play by the rules," said marijuana producer Paul Williams. Several residents likened producing facilities to prisons because the Liquor spea Control Board requires 8-foot fences, full coverage by security cameras and out- door lights for many outdoor operations. Former Port of Shelton Commis- sioner Jay Hupp spoke at the hearing about the difficulty of classifying the new industry into county code. "It's not a hobby farm; it's not a tree farm. It's a very highly regulated busi- ness in a residential area," he said. "An investment in a house is just as valid ... (as) a piece of property bought for a business. Now if that sounds like I'm arguing on both sides of the question, I am." Grower Michael Tucker spoke at length about the requirements legally licensed producers face. "If we use harmful pesticides on our property, we're shut down. If we have firearms on our property, we get shut down. I'm 53; this is my retirement plan. It doesn't look like a prison. A lot of properties I know of in this area are just like mine," Tucker said. However, residents of areas such as Sells Drive, where producer Forbidden Farms was recently permitted, are not happy about living next door to mari- juana growers: "We were there first," said Sells Drive resident Kathy Gerchak. Elise Vaughn, of Rootworx, LLC, which is developing a production facil- ity near Shelton, noted that much of the county is zoned rural residential and allows mixed use. "I think there is a huge emotion of fear that doesn't have a place in this industry," she said. Home Improvement * Landscaping Real Estate AN OCCU HOME IMPROVEMENT-lOAN HELPS YOU STAY ON TOP OF REPAIRS AND HOME IMPROVEMENTS. Borrow up to $15,000 for up Ski p a Payment twice Exclusively for Home 7.25% APR* No Equity Required No Fees *Fixed annual percentage rate and is effective as of August 1 2014. Loans are subject to approval. 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