New port commissioner to speak at taxpayers meeting

By Meg Olson

Newly elected Port of Bellingham commissioner Bobby Briscoe will be featured in a public forum hosted by the Point Roberts Taxpayers’ Association (PRTA) to talk about how Point Roberts benefits from the taxes paid to the port.

“We hope this will be an opportunity for Mr. Briscoe to learn more about Point Roberts and for residents to gain a better understanding of the Port’s role in supporting community economic and recreational development, said PRTA president Mark Robbins. “In particular, the PRTA and the Point Roberts Lighthouse Society are interested in exploring possibilities for partnering with the Port of Bellingham to move forward the proposed lighthouse project in Lighthouse Park.”

In 2015, the Port of Bellingham received approximately $172,300 from property taxes collected in Point Roberts, according to the county treasurer’s office. In 2016, that figure is expected to be approximately $162,000.

According to their website, “the Port of Bellingham’s mission is to fulfill the essential transportation and economic development needs of the region while providing leadership in maintaining greater Whatcom County’s overall economic vitality through the development of comprehensive facilities, programs, and services.”

In the last 20 years the port has paid for two studies on the Point: the 1999 Point Roberts Economic Development Strategy and the 2004 feasibility study for a new pier at the end of Gulf Road as well as early permitting for the project. The port discontinued the permitting for that project as construction funding and a sponsor to get the pier built were not located.

The meeting with Briscoe, who will attend with the port’s director of planning and development Sylvia Goodwin, will be on Monday, May 2 at 7 p.m. at the Gulf Road community center.

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