With new faces on the Crescent City Harbor District Board of Commissioners, Deputy Harbormaster Lane Tavasci on Tuesday gave an update of the district’s plans to save on electricity by installing solar panels.
Tavasci included basic information on the solar panels and the project itself for newly-elected commissioners Rick Shepherd and Carol White. Shepherd and White recited the oath of office and took their seats on the Harbor District board, replacing Ron Phillips and Pat Bailey. Phillips and Bailey received certificates from their former colleagues honoring their service.
After the previous harbor commission balked last month at giving American Diversified Energy a year’s extension for the completion of the 1.5 megawatt solar project, Tavasci said the company now has until July 15, 2019 to get all phases of the project completed.
“If they don’t finish by July 15, we can just walk away,” Tavasci said, adding that ADE is expecting the materials to be delivered in February. “They can walk away and whatever money they spent, they’ve lost and we just go back to using Pacific Power.”
Tavasci said he spoke with Matt Serrano, ADE’s engineer, who indicated he will submit plans to the county for the project’s first phase, rooftop solar panels on the Alber’s Seafoods and Pacific Choice Seafoods buildings, the first week of January.
Once the Del Norte County planning department has approved the project, those plans will go before the California Coastal Commission, which, Tavasci said, is “fully aware of what we’re doing and what we want to do.”
According to Tavasci, under the power purchase agreement with the Harbor, ADE is paying for all the material, the installation of the project and the ongoing maintenance.
Tavasci noted when the harbor district began exploring the possibility of saving on its electricity costs by installing a solar project about two years ago, it was paying 15 1/2 cents per kilowatt hour to Pacific Power. It’s currently 20 1/2 cents per kilowatt hour, he said.
Tavasci said once the solar project is completed, the harbor would pay 14.145 cents per kilowatt hour in electricity costs to ADE. Under the harbor district’s agreement with ADE, the district’s electricity costs wouldn’t exceed Pacific Power’s rates, Tavasci said.
After agreeing to send a letter of thanks to Shepherd and the Del Norte Fisherman’s Marketing Association and Don McArthur with Save the Harbor 2018 for their efforts to get Measure C passed, Commissioner Brian Stone gave a breakdown on how the additional funding would be allocated to the harbor district.
According to Stone, the additional revenue would be allocated to the Crescent City Harbor District on a quarterly basis.
Passing with 54.64 percent of the vote in November, Measure C increases the transient occupancy tax, or TOT, visitors to hotels and motels in unincorporated Del Norte County pay from 8 percent to 10 percent. The initiative also created a 2 percent transient occupancy tax on space rented at RV parks in the county.
Cash from the increased tax goes to the Crescent City Harbor District to pay down a $5.425 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan used to rebuild the inner boat basin following tsunamis in 2006 and 2011. The tax dollars would also be used to pay for repairs to harbor facilities such as Citizens Dock, the Whaler Island Groin and the outer boat basin seawall.
There is no expiration date for the additional tax.
Harbormaster Charlie Helms said the district would start receiving those allocations in April.
According to Stone, the harbor district could receive between $200,000 and $250,000 in additional revenue as a result of Measure C passing.
After Shepherd and White took their seats, the harbor district board agreed to appoint their colleague James Ramsey as board president and Wes White as board secretary.