Port of Brookings Harbor commissioners hired Kathy Lindley Hall as interim manager Tuesday to take over the duties of Port Manager Gary Dehlinger who was fired, reinstated and remains on paid administrative leave.
Hall will act as port manager until the board and Dehlinger reach agreement on his employment or termination.
Commissioners went into executive session early in the meeting with Port Counsel Jim Coffey present on the phone.
The executive session lasted nearly an hour and was to deal with upcoming litigation or litigation likely to occur.
In other news from the port, a docked boat, the Instigator, sank early Monday morning. Port staff were able to raise the boat, remove it and collect the oil booms by 4 p.m.
Board President Angi Christian said she and port bookkeeper Kim Boom had secured financing for a $142,500 telehandler — a large, mobile and extendable forklift — from Umpqua bank.
She said the telehandler should arrive next week.
The board voted to award a bid to fabricate and install loading docks near the boat launch ramps to Topper Industries, the low bidder on the project at $314,607.
Commissioner Jan Barbas began a discussion on System Development Charges (SDCs) and their effect on businesses at the port.
SDCs are fees paid to the sanitary district by new or expanding businesses to pay for increased use or development of the water and sewage systems.
A letter from Harbor Sanitary District Manager Kelly Beebe said their board of directors voted to allow the port to transfer SDCs from the RV park to other properties at the port.
Barbas said this resulted in an SDC credit for the port of $211,000.
“We have a mission of promoting economic development and we have this space we’re sitting in tonight that’s basically not fulfilling the mission as it sits open and we’re also losing revenue on it,” he said.
The board met in the old port office, a space they have found difficult to rent due to high SDCs, according to Barbas.
He wondered if there were ways to use the credits to facilitate development at the port and fill vacant spaces while recouping the costs over time.
Commissioner Roger Thompson said he was inclined to let businesses pay their own fees. Christian said she feared any financial help from the port to be paid back over time created a financial risk because businesses could leave before repaying the SDCs.
Barbas also listed three port businesses he expected to be billed for SDCs because they had expanded, including Bell and Whistle Coffee House ($1,046), the Hungry Clam ($4,510) and Zola’s Pizzeria ($8,351). Hungry Clam could be billed an additional $4,050 if a nearby, outside seating area is determined to be used exclusively by their customers.
Beebe said charges were estimates because the businesses will have to be inspected to verify the extent of their expansions.
Commissioners agreed to discuss SDCs at a future meeting or workshop.
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