In News, Waterfront

RIDGEFIELD, Wash. – The Port of Ridgefield Board of Commissioners approved the port’s 2023 budget after a public hearing at their Nov. 9 commission meeting.

The 2023 budget focuses on stability while investing in properties, facilities, and processes for the future of the port and the Ridgefield community.

The port anticipates it will earn $1.347 million in revenues from its buildings, broadband internet, boat launch facilities, and other revenue sources in 2023. This will be offset by $1.351 million in expenses for staff, administrative, property, and facilities and maintenance, and other needs.

Like schools, police and fire departments, libraries, and other services in Ridgefield, the port levies a tax on properties in the port district. Port taxpayers paid 14 cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation in 2022, and this levy continues to decline each year. In comparison, 20 years ago that levy rate was 29 cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation. For the typical property owner in the port district, port taxes are just 1.4% of their total property tax bill. In total, the port expects to collect $833,979 through its tax levy in 2023.

All tax levy funds are used to pay back loans that were taken out to construct public facilities and clean up the Ridgefield waterfront. Operating revenues from the port’s lines of business are used to fund the operations of the port, with approximately $58,729 in operating cash remaining.

The port anticipates investing nearly $760,000 in capital improvements in 2023, contingent on the sale of its Discovery Ridge property. Capital investments include beginning work on an 8-acre public park at the Ridgefield waterfront.

“Our top priority next year—besides keeping the port running well—is the community’s top priority, and that’s a waterfront park,” said commission president Scott Hughes. “Port district residents told us this past year that this is what they want to see at the waterfront, and we’ve programmed $300,000 in next year’s budget to start realizing that priority and keep waterfront redevelopment moving forward.”

Other 2023 capital investments include a joint study with the Port of Woodland to explore dark fiber opportunities, improvement to tenant leaseholds at Wisdom Ridge, repairing the boat launch day dock, continuing to upgrade the boat launch restrooms, and replacing aged port vehicles and equipment.

“The Port of Ridgefield has been an integral part of this community for 82 years. While our facilities and equipment aren’t quite that old, many are showing their age,” said port CEO Randy Mueller. “In 2022 we began to focus on modernizing these assets, and we’ll continue this work in 2023 so we can provide the public facilities our community needs while strategically investing for the future.”

Learn more about the Port of Ridgefield and its 2023 budget at www.portridgefield.org.

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The Port of Ridgefield is a community port with a track record of successfully tackling complex challenges. Located in a fast-growing suburb in the Portland-Vancouver Metro Area, the port focuses on environmental stewardship, infrastructure projects that generate economic benefit and help reduce the tax burden for citizens, and community projects that support quality of life in Ridgefield and Southwest Washington. Learn more at portridgefield.org.

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