City finds bucks to move boats

Published on Thu, Dec 12, 2002 by Meg Olson

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City finds bucks to move boats

By Meg Olson

Blaine has found a source of state funding to pay for removal of two fish boats abandoned in Drayton Harbor.

“We’ve pinpointed a funding source to pay for transportation and disposal of the boats,” city manager Gary Tomsic told council members on December 9. “The state derelict vessel program allows entities like the city of Blaine ways to take care of it.”

The catch is the program isn’t officially up and running until next year. Created by an act of the 2002 Washington Legislature, the program will be funded through an additional $2 on annual vessel registration fees and an additional $5 fee added to the cost of obtaining a foreign vessel identification document.

The department of natural resources will administer the program, providing 75 percent funding for efforts to clear derelict vessels from state waters. The lead agency, in this case the city, would be responsible for 25 percent of the project but the contribution could be in-kind. That includes time city staff have spent working on disposal of the boats since they were beached on city owned tidelands on Drayton Harbor’s south side in October. “I know days have been spent trying to determine how to handle the situation,” said Blaine mayor Dieter Schugt.

Tomsic said since the program was only created last year, they would have to wait for January to apply for funding. “After the first of the year we’ll notify the owner, giving them ample time to take action,” Tomsic said.

“Should they choose not to we will take action.” The Northern Light has not been able to reach Warren Hanson, owner of the boats, since they were abandoned. Information from the Port of Bellingham suggests he removed the vessels from Blaine Harbor and beached them rather than address port concerns about the seaworthiness of the vessels. Responding to environmental concerns the U.S. Coast Guard hired a private firm to remove 750 gallons of fuel and oil and several dozen batteries from the boats.

So far there have been no applications to the program. “We’re the first community asking for this money,” Tomsic said. “We’re on our way to solving this.” While the city can apply for funding in January, the program’s website indicated there would not be money in the program’s coffers until April 2003. .

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