Thursday, March 11, 2010

Longview Port Commissioners Forgo Pay Increase Despite Booming 2009

Commissioners at the Washington state Port of Longview, despite a booming 2009 at the port, said this week they plan to refuse a hike in their monthly pay triggered by the port topping the $25 million annual revenue mark.

State law provides that once the port hit the $25 million revenue mark for a single year, the three commissioners are entitled to see their pay increase from $200 per month to $500 a month.

The state law also allows the commissioners to opt out in writing of the pay increase. The three sitting commissioners, citing port staff's voluntary decision last year to forgo cost-of-living increases this year, said they will collectively request to remain at their $200 per month salaries.

The commissioners also praised port staff for hitting the $25 million revenue mark, the first time the port has managed to cross the $25 million threshold and only the second time the port has crossed the $20 million level.

Last year, port revenue grew to $25.1 million, up 7 percent from the $23.5 million in revenue reported in 2008. Operating expenses for 2009 topped out at $22.4 million leaving the port to post a $2.7 million profit for the year.

The increase in revenues were tied to solid cargo volume increases in bulk food, chemicals, log exports and wind-energy imports.

Total imports through the port in 2009 increased by 9 percent compared to 2008, exports saw a 13 percent increase and total tonnage handled also jumped 12 percent for the year.