June 21, 2023 — Port of Columbia County Commissioners voted unanimously at their June 14 meeting to adopt the 2023-2024 fiscal year budget and to continue assessing the port’s annual property tax levy at a rate of zero dollars.
The Port Commission has the authority to impose a property tax levy of $0.0886 per thousand upon the assessed value of all taxable property within the district but has instead voted to keep the levy at zero for the past four years. By assessing the tax rate at zero since 2020, the port has saved local taxpayers approximately $1.9 million.
“This will be the fourth year the Port of Columbia County has opted not to tax property owners, saving taxpayers more than one million dollars,” said Port Commission President Robert Keyser. “We are pleased to be able to fully fund our economic development activities without levying property taxes.”
The port’s 2023-24 budget totals $16.2 million, a $1.3 million increase from the previous fiscal year that is attributed to a growth in capital expenditures. The budget assumes that the port’s 42 commercial and industrial tenants will continue with their building and property leases. Combined budgeted revenues for all port tenant leases, permits, and licenses add up to more than $6 million.
Port Westward remains the port’s most profitable property site, accounting for almost half of total revenue at over $3 million. One of the port’s largest tenants, Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery, also known as Global Partners, is projected to continue transloading renewable diesel at Port Westward at the same volume of approximately one to two vessels per month.
Other Port Westward tenants include Portland General Electric with their Beaver Power Plant and the Port Westward 1 and 2 Generation Plants, and Next Renewable Fuels, who intends to build a $2.5 billion renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel production facility on their 90-acre ground lease.
The port intends to spend an estimated $7.2 million in capital projects in 2023-24. Significant projects include a new maintenance building at Multnomah Industrial Park in St. Helens, improvements to the Beaver Dock at Port Westward, and dredging at Scappoose Bay Marine Park. Over the last ten fiscal years the port has invested over $40 million in capital improvements throughout the district.
The budget committee consists of the Port Commissioners and an equal number of community members who oversee and approve the annual budget process. A copy of the port’s 2023-2024 adopted budget is available online at https://www.portofcolumbiacounty.org/finance/page/budget-and-audit-reports.