The Port of Seattle’s commissioners Tuesday agreed to move forward with a solicitation for financial advisory services.

The port’s current financial advisory contract with Seattle-Northwest Securities Corp. expires in April, but the port would like to have a new agreement in place by February, Elizabeth Morrison, the port’s senior manager for corporate finance, told the commissioners.

“We’re getting a little bit of a head start here,” she said.

The timing is important because the port needs adequate time to address expiring letters of credit on variable-rate debt, according to a staff report prepared for the commissioners.

The commissioners agreed to advertise for a five-year contract, which Morrison said helps plan for the long view.

“We approach our financial management with a systemic perspective rather than a transactional perspective,” she said. “With our letter-of-credit renewal, that’ll be done in conjunction with a review of our debt structure, our use of variable-rate debt, and other factors.”

During 2010, the port is also planning to issue about $200 million of new-money revenue bonds for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, according to the staff report.

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