Washington Tax Structure Subject of Cup of Joe October 20, 2021

Cup of Joe, the information and networking event that came to a screeching halt during COVID, returns this Wednesday with a virtual event allowing Columbia County businesses and residents a chance to weigh in on Washington’s Tax Structure.

In 2017, the Washington State Legislature established the Tax Structure Work Group (TSWG) to identify options to make the Washington State tax code more fair, adequate, stable, and transparent. As of 2019, the TSWG is comprised of bipartisan Washington State legislators, as well as representatives from the Governor’s Office, the Washington State Department of Revenue, the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC), and the Association of Washington Cities (AWC). The TSWG facilitates public discussions throughout the state about the advantages and disadvantages of the state’s current and potential tax structure to inform recommendations to improve Washington State’s tax structure to benefit individuals, families, and businesses in Washington State.

Representatives from the Tax Structure Work Group will make a presentation at this Wednesday’s Cup of Joe. The interactive presentation will include:
  • Background information about the current tax structure
  • Explanations of different scenarios for changing the tax structure to improve fairness, adequacy, stability, and transparency
  • Time for questions
  • Opportunities for participants to share their opinions
Cup of Joe – Washington’s Tax Structure
Wednesday, October 20
7:30 – 8:30 am via Zoom

Port of Columbia Seeks Replacement for District 2 Seat

The Port of Columbia Board of Commissioners is seeking interested candidates to fill the District 2 position vacated by the death of Commissioner Earle Marvin.

According to Port Executive Director Jennie Dickinson, Washington State RCW 42.12.070 states that the remaining commissioners of the Port District have 90 days to fill the vacant position with a qualified candidate.  A qualified candidate must be a registered voter living in the district with the vacancy, which in this case is District 2. (Port Commissioner Districts are the same as County Commissioner Districts.)  A map of the commissioner districts is available on the Columbia County website documents page. Anyone interested in serving from that district should submit a letter of interest and a resume to the Port no later than Friday, October 8th. A short list of relevant experiences should be included.

The two other Port Commissioners, Sean Milligan and Shawn Brown, will select a replacement from the pool of applicants for the vacant position. The person selected will serve until December 31, 2022, and may choose to stand for election in November of 2022 to serve the final year of Marvin’s 6-year term, which ends December 31, 2023.  Election for a new 6-year term for District 2 will be held in November of 2023. This is a non-partisan position.

Letters of interest and resumes should be directed to Jennie Dickinson, Port of Columbia, 1 Port Way, Dayton, WA, 99328, or to jennie@portofcolumbia.org by 5 pm Friday, October 8th . Visit www.portofcolumbia.org for more information on the Port and its properties, or call the Port at 382-2577 to schedule an appointment with the executive director to learn more about Port activities.

Small Business Start-Up Grants

The Port of Columbia has opened a new grant opportunity for start-up businesses in Columbia County. Through funding provided by Innovia, a private foundation that serves eastern Washington and northern Idaho, the Port of Columbia is offering micro-grants to start-up businesses. Grants not to exceed $5,000 will be awarded to qualifying businesses upon review and recommendation by a local committee.

Qualifications for applying include, but are not limited to:

  • Business Plan
  • Business License
  • Ability to have a business location physically secured, in Columbia County, within 30 days of the grant award
  • Copies of estimates of planned expenditures or invoices of expenses incurred
  • Must be a business that has not yet started operating or has not been in operation more than 3 months
  • Has not received any previous grants from the Port of Columbia

The Port received a $15,000 award from Innovia for the program, and will be passing 100% of the funds through to start-up businesses.

In 2020, the Port offered a similar program with funds received from Innovia. That program assisted in the location of two new businesses in downtown Dayton – Main Street Marketplace and Table Rock Meat Co.

Grant information and an application form can be found on the Port’s website at https://www.portofcolumbia.org/economic-development/business-assistance/ . Applications are due September 30th.

Working Washington 4.0

The Washington State Department of Commerce sent out a press release today announcing the new Working Washington 4.0 small business grant program. The application portal will be open for 12 days starting Monday, March 29 and closing Friday, April 9th. Applications will be handled by the Department of Commerce through an online portal. MORE INFO HERE

Landscaping & Weed Control RFPs Sought

The Port of Columbia is seeking Requests for Proposals (RFP) for professional services from qualified firms for the purpose of landscaping, irrigation maintenance & weed/pest control services at the Rockhill Industrial Park, Blue Mountain Station and other Port owned properties in Dayton, WA. It is the Port’s intent to use the information to enter into contract(s) for services for 2021. Information submitted should include a list of qualifications, proof of WA State licensing, proof of insurance, hourly labor rate, and materials mark-up.  The Port of Columbia encourages women and minority-owned businesses to apply. MORE INFO HERE

Comp Plan Updates To Be Considered

Updates and administrative changes to the Port of Columbia’s Comprehensive Plan will be considered for adoption at the Port of Columbia regular commission meeting on February 10, 2021 at 3:30 pm.  A public hearing will be held to take comments on the document, which can be viewed here.  Proposed changes are tracked in red. Please contact the Port office at 509-382-2577 or jennie@portofcolumbia.org if you have questions about the plan. Instructions for joining the meeting and the public hearing via Zoom will be posted with the meeting agenda on Monday, February 8.

New Working Washington 3.0 Grant Program Open

The Washington State Department of Commerce has opened a new round of small business grant funding aimed at providing assistance to businesses hurt by the most recent COVID-19 restrictions. Instead of being facilitated by local agencies this time (Port), the state will be handling the application process.  To review eligibility information and apply, visit the Working Washington 3.0 webpage. Port staff is ready to answer questions and provided help as needed.  Please call 509-382-2577 or email jennie@portofcolumbia.org for assistance.

2021 Budget Hearing Set

The Port of Columbia Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing Tuesday, November 10th at 3:30 pm to hear comments on the proposed 2021 budget, which can be viewed here. The meeting will take place via Zoom. Instructions for joining the meeting are on the agenda above.

Last Call for Grants

October 30th is the deadline to turn in applications for the Port of Columbia COVID-19 Small Business Relief fund. Has your business been financially harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic? Is your business in Columbia County, WA? Do you have 10 employees or less? You may be eligible for funding. visit our COVID-19 page for details, and read the press release here.

COVID-19 BUSINESS RESOURCES

Visit the Port’s COVID-19 page for business resources, including information on grants for Columbia County businesses.  Several grant funds have been combined to enable the broadest business support possible. This Business Resources document provides information for businesses trying to sort their way through the Coronavirus crisis.  New information includes guidance on forgivable expenses for your PPP loan as well as an Excel spreadsheet you can use to track PPP expenses.