Seattle port approves slimmer 2009 budget
The Port of Seattle said it's tightened its belt in the approved $871 million budget and organization plan for 2009.
'Tough economic times call for tough decisions,' port officials said, and the approved budget represents $14.1 million in total reductions, or 1.6 percent, compared to the $885 million 2008 budget.
'The global economic downturn affects everyone, and the port must do its part by tightening its belt,' said Commission President John Creighton.
The approved budget calls for operating expenses of $267 million and capital expenses of $604 million.
Within the operating expense budget, the board decided to freeze nearly 110 unfilled positions in the port authority's workforce of 1,790 employees. The hiring freeze will save the port $2 million in 2009, though this is likely to be offset by an estimated $2 million increase in health care premiums for existing workers.
The port will also trim $9 million from the operating budget, mainly by cutting outside services, lowering supply levels, cutting travel expenses and trimming corporate-level spending.
In adopting the 2009 budget the port board also agreed to maintain the amount collected through the King County property levy. Due to increased valuation in the county due to reassessments, the collected levy amount in 2009 would have increased $8 million. The board agreed to lower the levy charged to maintain the $75.9 million level collected this year.
The port also decided to defer $195 million in development projects for five years.