We are scratching our heads about the Port of Brookings Harbor commission’s recent decision last week to renegotiate existing contracts with two commercial tenants — especially when the result is less revenue for the debt-ridden entity.
When the port closed the ice house in February, BC Fisheries owner and former port commissioner Mike Manning agreed — in signed agreements — to buy the equipment and the business for $2,000. He further agreed to lease the land and ice house and cold storage building for $6,500 a month.
But now, Manning wants to renegotiate his total monthly fee to $2,000 after he “ran into problems with creditors,” according to Port Chair Roy Davis.
The port commission has offered Manning a compromise: $3,500 a month.
Is it because Manning has the port over a barrel? After all, without the ice house, there is no ice for other commercial fishermen. And the port can’t afford to repair the ice house on its own. But we have no reason to think Manning will simply walk away: He wants the port, and the commercial fishing industry, to succeed.
However, the port can’t succeed when it’s handing out breaks it can’t afford.
Former port commissioner and business owner Jim Relaford owes the port money for boat moorage. To make amends, he recently handed the port the title of a fishing boat and he plans to do the same for a sailboat, both of which the port will auction.
Now, Relaford has asked the commission — and it agreed! — to apply any profit made at the auction above what is due on his moorage fees to his past-due rent for a commercial storefront.
What kind of precedent does this set for other tenants who pay their bills on time? Is this any way to run a port?
The end result of both proposals will be a loss of money for the port — a loss of the public’s money.
It’ll be interesting to see, following the May 16 election, if new commissioners have better business sense.