PORT TOWNSEND - Port of Port Townsend commissioners directed port staff to move as "expeditiously as possible" on finding a consultant for a rent survey during a meeting Wednesday.
Commissioners mentioned consultant Kidder Mathews, but Executive Director Sam Gibboney said the port would need to select the consultant from a Municipal Research and Services Center roster.
She said staff would select and award a contract without bringing it before the commission for approval. It's a process she said would take about 10 days.
"We can easily do that, reach out to three to five firms, and choose a consultant to conduct that based on their qualifications, scope and price," she said.
"The commission cannot pick this consultant."
For the port to hand-pick a specific consultant, that consultant's skills would have to be "so unique, they have such a knowledge of the work we want done ... that they are really the sole provider that is capable of doing that," she said.
Commissioners Steve Tucker, Pete Hanke and Bill Putney directed staff to move forward as quickly as possible on the rent survey, while later using a $200,000 grant from the state Department of Ecology to help fund another study from Western Washington University.
"I'm feeling some time pressures," Tucker said. "We haven't really been doing any leases because we've put things on hold. I'd like to stop that."
Putney said that his impression is that "Kidder Mathews has done most of these studies with most of the ports in the Puget Sound.
"I'd like to have a stake in the ground that we can use for decision making and I'd like it sooner rather than later."
Tucker said once the Integrated Planning Grant is secured, the port should draft the scope of work for the WWU study so that it doesn't duplicate efforts from the rent survey.
The IPG grant had been tied up in the state's capital budget. The grant, intended for redevelopment of property and increasing economic output, will allow the port to check for contamination on port property.
"We have a reasonable suspicion that there is metal contamination on our properties in the Boat Haven," Gibboney said. "That is not confirmed. Through this grant we will be able to do the soil investigation."
She said the grant allows funding for site planning as well. The WWU study would develop cash flow and profit-and-loss projects.
Hanke questioned the WWU study.
"My opinion on the WWU survey is that their experience is quite lacking to Kidder Mathews in terms of what Kidder Mathews has in place," he said. "What we're really looking for is a market determination of what our lease rates are going to be."
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