Centralia Port Commissioners Approve Levy Increase; Port Expects Work to Begin Next Year on New Interstate 5 Ramp at Centralia Station

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Port of Centralia commissioners at their regular meeting last week approved a levy tax increase amounting to about 4.3 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value starting next year, according to a news release from the port.

The port’s general tax rate will now levy $0.389 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, which amounts to an increase of about 2.8 cents from the previous year’s rate. The port authority also adopted a 1.5-cent increase in the Industrial Development District No. 3 tax levy, which starting next year will raise $0.375 cents per $1,000 assessed.

The 2022 budget was also adopted. According to the news release, Development District No. 3 is expected to service about $6.5 million of infrastructure improvements for the WinCo Development and other users in the mixed-use zone.

Next year, the port is budgeting operating expenditures of about $800,000.

“The port is well positioned for continued success and this budget will bring needed infrastructure development including the Yew Street extension, and construction of a new Interstate 5 off ramp to Centralia Station in 2022,” port commission President Julie Shaffley said in a statement.

“The port is also pleased to fund road maintenance projects within Parks I and II to facilitate jobs opportunities for our constituents. We were also pleased (to) adopt a budget that will keep our highly successful management team together for the long term. We expect to have a successful 2022 and look forward to bringing the Centralia Station project to the development phase that our community has so anxiously awaited,” she continued.

 

Centralia Port Executive Will Now Make $195,000, Commissioners Agree

Following an executive session on Wednesday, Centralia port commissioners approved a raise for Executive Director Kyle Heaton, who will now make $195,000 in base salary and $26,500 in deferred compensation.

Heaton is entering his 20th year leading the Port of Centralia.

His raise was passed 2-1, with Commissioner Peter Lahmann as the dissenting vote.

Speaking to The Chronicle, Lahmann said he felt the raise was too “excessive” for the executive director and he hadn’t seen any wage studies to justify the request from Heaton.

“I’m thinking it’s a little on the high side,” Lahmann said, adding later: “I’m a labor guy, I’m not adverse to people getting paid. But I’m just not buying it.”

Commissioner Kyle Markstrom did not return phone calls late last week inquiring about the vote on Heaton’s salary or budget matters.

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