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Langley Marina money assured by bond sale

Approval of an $850,000 bond sale next week will soon put all the money in the bank the Port of South Whidbey needs to proceed with the first phase of its Langley Marina expansion project.

A commissioners meeting is set for Wednesday, April 18 at 6 p.m. at the board meeting room, 5475 Maxwelton Road, to take action to go forward with the sale.

Details of the sale are being handled by Martin Nelson & Company Underwriters of Seattle.

“Interest rates are wonderful,” said Ron Rhinehart, the port’s finance manager, commenting Wednesday on the bond market. He expects the interest rate the port pays will be 3.5 to 4 percent on the general obligation bonds.

The bonds will be for 30 years with interest paid semi-annually. Cost of the sale to the underwriter and other professionals involved is expected to be $30,000 to $40,000, Rhinehart said.

This first expansion of Langley’s existing 35-boat transient moorage facility is estimated to cost around $2.5 million. Besides the bond sale proceeds, the port has a $1.2 million economic development grant from Island County and $300,000 from the state Recreation and Conservation Office, which all adds up to $2.4 million. The port has other grants in the works, its reserves and property tax income to cover other costs.

Just because the money is accounted for doesn’t mean the project will start tomorrow. Curt Gordon, president of the board, said the port won’t ask for construction bids until a couple of important permits are received, one from the Department of Ecology and one from the Army Corps of Engineers. He’s hoping it won’t take long since the project was approved by the Island County Hearing Examiner last month.

“It all looks good,” Gordon said of the permit projects. He’s hoping construction can begin as soon as this fall.

The major work will entail taking a 400-foot dock the port has already acquired, separating it into three parts in an “L” formation, and anchoring it outside the existing wood piling breakwater.

“It’s not your average dock,” Gordon said. “It’s a wave attenuation dock that will act as a breakwater.”

This will allow additional transient moorage and facilitate  larger tourism vessels.

Gordon said the bond payoff will cost the port about $62,000 a year. Additional slip rentals are estimated to bring in $50,000 a year without raising rates.

Gordon and Commissioner Dennis Gregoire discussed how to obtain federal grants to help further expand the marina.

Grants are available from two federal agencies and the decision was made to pursue both. If successful on either front, more money could be available in 2014.

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