Westport Shipyard layoffs concern local officials

WESTPORT, Wash. — Luxury yacht builder Westport Shipyard reportedly laid off more than 100 workers last week at facilities in Westport and Hoquiam, and now officials from those cities are concerned about possible fallout for their municipal budgets, according to information obtained by the Aberdeen Daily World. The shipyard has not released an official number of layoffs, according to the newspaper, so the Daily World cites employee reports in its article.

Westport Mayor Michael Bruce told the newspaper the company plays a large role in the town’s economy, tax revenue and business climate, but it is too early to tell how the employment and production cuts announced this week will impact the rest of the city.

“It’s bound to affect everything,” Bruce told the Daily World.

Employees reported no warning and little explanation prior to the terminations, the newspaper said. The company has reduced its production by one yacht per year at each of the facilities hit by layoffs, the Daily World reported.

City of Westport Treasurer Margo Tackett said the layoffs can have a ripple effect on local business, but the city could take the biggest hit from taxes off sold yachts, according to the Daily World.

“The shipyard is a major contributor to the city’s general fund,” she told the paper.

In 2007, estimates listed Westport Shipyard as the county’s second largest employer with nearly 600 employees, behind only the local hospital, the Daily World reported.

“While we have been able to weather the storm better and longer than many of our competitors, neither Westport nor its customers are immune to this situation,” a Westport statement to workers said. “While we did not create this situation, we are faced with the challenge of operating through it.”

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