Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Longview Port Approves Across-the-Board Pay Raises in New Budget

The governing board for the Port of Longview on Monday approved a 2011 budget that includes a 2 percent salary increase for all port employees in 2011.

Employees voluntarily opted not to take cost-of-living increases last year and port commissioners cited the port's solid 2010 revenue performance in approving the pay raises for 2011. Last year was the third year in a row the port had shattered its revenue numbers record.

Commissioners on Monday, who acknowledged the hard work performed by the port staff in 2010, said the port's books were now solid enough to bring back the raises but noted that the increases were "modest to say the least."

The new budget forecasts that port revenues will continue to outpace expenses in 2011, with $25.9 million in projected 2011 revenues versus $23.9 million in projected operating expenses. The projected 2011 surplus of just under $2 million is expected to leave the port, after including non-operating revenue and expenses, with a net profit of just over $1 million.

However, the 2011 projections will be about $300,000 off of the record-setting $26.2 million in annual revenue the port experienced last year. Port officials said this was due to an expected continuation of the drop off in wind-energy imports.

The port is also projecting that tax revenues will drop slightly in 2011, from $2.87 million in 2010 to $2.86 million. The property tax levy rate assessed to homeowners will also rise slightly from 39.3 cents per $1,000 in assessed valuation last year to 39.1 cents this year.

The port is budgeting $1.4 million for various capital projects in 2011, and will also spend a $857,673 in grant monies from the state Department of Transportation to add rail lines around the new Skyline Steel plant.