ILWACO - After receiving reports of vandalism and other suspicious behavior on and near "P" float, Port of Ilwaco Manager Jim Neva approached port commissioners Monday morning with the option of installing a security gate.

For months, boat owners and tenants have reported acts of theft and vandalism to the float and vessels, which have seemed to occur overnight. After researching several security options, Neva said he received a $17,000 quote for a security gate system from Topper Industries.

Key-card operated, the gate will cost $30 per year from each "P" float tenant and will require a slight increase for temporary tenant charges, as well. While he said he hadn't received input from every tenant, Neva stated that all the feedback he had received regarding the gate was positive.

Through paying for the cost of the gate upfront, Neva said that the port would be responsible for maintaining and repairing the gate, as well as the computer system. Port commissioners approved the purchase and installation of the gate.

Due to increased costs of living, Neva also explained several changes that will be made to the port's standard lease agreement. Some of the changes would include raising rental costs in accordance to Consumer Price Index rates and for the renter to define their establishment's working days and hours. The lease rates would also be subject to review every five years.

According to Neva, the purpose of the lease changes are for the port to be reasonable with the rates they charge, correct leases that are under market value and also manage the public's assets.

Mike Cassinelli, who has a 30-year lease with the port, raised concern because while the changes would not affect existing leases, they may hinder him if he chooses to sell his business. He also questioned whether the changes would benefit a business that operates four months out of the year, which might cause businesses to leave the port completely.

"Well all the property is leased out, so we must not be overcharging [right now]," said Neva, who fears that the port may fall behind if it doesn't receive additional dollars from tenants. "The change would be in small increments... most ports go by CPI rates, it's the easiest."

Commissioner Dick Siefert motioned that the board delay making any decision until Neva notifies the current tenants of the expected lease changes. Commissioners Frank Unfred and Dave Nichols agreed and the item was tabled.

Among other items in his manager's report, Neva reported that when the final draft of the airport layout plan is complete, it would be submitted to the port commissioners for approval.

During public comment, Les Moore described an incident at the Port of Ilwaco Airport where a man would not leave the grass strip to let a spotter plane land. Neva said he would invest in a few informative signs to post on the property.

Moore also said that if the port would make an excavator available for use, he would be willing to clean out the Stringtown Road drainage ditch.

Don Berger also noted that the City of Ilwaco owns a strip of land that divides homeowners from the port's airport property. He also asked if the port would be interested in acquiring it from the city.

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