The future of the Greenbank Farm remains uncertain as tenant leases are unresolved and officials can’t agree on a direction.
As a result, the commissioners for the Port of Coupeville will hold a special meeting next week to further discuss the issues. It is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 21 at the Coupeville Masonic Lodge.
Executive Director David Day told commissioners last week he had met with all but one tenant at the Greenbank Farm. He said he discussed parameters, such as leasehold taxes and the cost-of-living increases, for new leases that were set by commissioners in August.
Day said all the tenants seemed to want to stay.
Day presented a draft lease to commissioners. It was based on a standard lease the port holds with tenants at the Coupeville Wharf and included the basic parameters set last month.
Commissioner Marshall Bronson proposed directing Day to move forward with lease negotiations, but Commissioner Mike Diamanti said he didn’t agree.
Commissioner John Carr was not present at the meeting, therefore no tie-breaking vote could be made.
Diamanti said some basic questions remained unanswered in the draft lease, including what rates the port would charge. After the meeting, he said he was uncomfortable sending Day into negotiations without those numbers.
He also said that determining rates should be done in the public arena. Day and Bronson claimed that leases are a negotiation and typically conducted in private.
The board also discussed advertising a manager position for the farm. Bronson threw out a curve ball, suggesting the port look at hiring a private business to run events at the farm.
“I’m really at a loss for how to proceed,” Diamanti responded. “We can’t keep kicking the can down the road.”
Diamanti asked how that was any different from having a management group; he was critical of the other board members’ surprise decision earlier this year to no longer work with the organization, which had managed the farm for years.
He said he thought the reason for the change was for the port to be responsible for managing the farm. Day responded that a “structure” is needed.
“We need to take a serious look at how money is handled,” Day said.
The board opted to sit down and hash out the finer details during the special meeting next week.
“I don’t want to delay this,” Diamanti said, but added that it was important to have the conversation in public.