Does port use gimmicks to claim an annual profit?

OlympiaOctober 16, 2013 

Port Commissioner Jeff Davis has regularly misinformed the public on the financial situation at the port. He knows he’s telling something less than the whole truth. The Port of Olympia has lost money every year for decades. It covers these losses with property taxes from every taxpayer in the county, this year $4.7 million in taxes.

When Davis asserts that the port is “in the black” or “making a profit” he is not accurately portraying its finances. Usually, this involves one or more of the following accounting gimmicks:

nFailing to allocate depreciation expense on port assets to each of the functional areas, including the Marine Terminal, Swantown Marina, Airport and Land Leasing.

nExcluding interest expense on port bonds sold to support port activities from the allocation of costs to each functional area.

nFailing to allocate port management costs and overhead to each of the functional areas.

nIncluding property taxes as a revenue in computing a bottom line.

nFailing to recognize grants received from other governmental agencies as taxpayer costs when computing a bottom line.

If these gimmicks were set aside, then (and only then) would the port be reporting revenues and expenses like a business. Without these gimmicks, the port is clearly losing money every year.

The Port of Olympia needs to treat taxpayer funds with more respect and with more responsibility. I am supporting Sue Gunn for port commissioner in order to bring more integrity to the Port of Olympia.

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