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Port commissioner talks tough to consultants on Langley Marina

FREELAND — In their quest to stay on top of the money spent on the Langley Marina, port commissioners had a bone to pick with their engineers last week.

Port Commissioner Rolf Seitle bluntly told Art Anderson Associates president Rob Henry and senior project manager Greg York that he was concerned about the money the port has spent for their engineering services.

“I would have expected better decisions from you guys to guide us through this process,” Seitle said. “I’m talking about the money expended versus the progress made.”

York noted that the original design — changed many times over the past year — was for a marina capable of handling 200 slips.

“Now we’re down to a 30- to 40-slip project, with still more changes,” York answered.

Henry said he could feel the port’s pain.

“The best and highest value always comes at the concept level early in the process,” Henry explained. “My hope is that you are realizing value for the money spent so far.”

Engineering firms typically work on a time and material basis, so no actual cost overruns have occurred.

The total billings to date to the port by the firm — invoiced and paid — is $394,726, of which slightly more than $270,000 was for subconsultant billings. Those bills include work done by environmental and permit specialists GeoEngineers, geotechnical engineer HWA Geosciences, marine engineer Echelon Engineering and surveyor Wilson Engineering.

Later, Henry added that the amount of field data collection the port and state agencies required was a big factor in the cost.

He said the port’s directive now is to optimize revenue to help service the debt with a balanced design.

Seitle said the port is spending a significant amount of money on consultants and he simply wanted to remind them of that.

The next regular port meeting is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 9 at the Freeland Library.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or jvanderford@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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