Annual CEDS Planning Meeting December 7th

The Port’s annual Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) meeting will be held Tuesday, December 7th from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm via Zoom. Current economic information will be shared, reports on the 3 top-voted projects from the previous year will be given, and the project list will be reviewed and updated. Attendees will have a chance to vote on the projects they think should be given priority for 2022. Anyone is welcome to join. Click on the link to join the Zoom meeting: http://bit.ly/PortZoom

Notice of Preliminary Budget and Public Hearing

Notice is hereby given that the Preliminary Budget for the Port of Columbia for 2022 has been prepared and is on file at the Port Main Office at 1 Port Way, Dayton, WA.  The budget can also be viewed on the Port’s website at www.portofcolumbia.org/port-info/policies-plans-budget/.  Any taxpayer may obtain a hard copy of said budget at the Port office during regular business hours.  A public hearing on the budget will be held November 10, 2021 at 3:30 pm during the Port of Columbia Board of Commissioners regular meeting via Zoom. The Zoom meeting link is http://bit.ly/PortZoom and can also be found on the homepage of our website at www.portofcolumbia.org.
Dated at Dayton, Columbia County, Washington, on the 27th day of October and the 3rd day of November, 2021.

Click here to download the budget hearing notice Oct 2021

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.

Port of Columbia Awarded $2 Million Broadband Infrastructure Grant

DAYTON, WA – Port of Columbia staff, along with private partner Columbia iConnect, made a presentation to the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) on Thursday, July 14th in Olympia and left with a $2 million award.

Acceptance of the $2 million grant is contingent upon the community providing $500,000 in matching funds. The Port applied for and received $20,000 from the Sherwood Trust, $15,000 from the Warren Community Fund, and $13,500 from the Dayton Columbia County Fund to use as matching funds, and has pledged $20,000 from their 2021 budget for the project as well.

“This is a rare opportunity to bring hard-earned federal tax dollars back to our community for the benefit of our citizens,” stated Jennie Dickinson, Port of Columbia executive director. “A relatively small local contribution by the Port and our community partners can benefit thousands of residents.”

Requests will be made to Columbia County and the City of Dayton for the remainder of the funds required.

The Port has been working with community partners, including the City of Dayton, Columbia County, and private sector internet service providers since 2019 to address inadequate and unreliable internet service in our community. Even before the pandemic, Port staff heard concerns from many businesses and community members about how limiting our current internet service was. COVID-19 only exacerbated the issue. It became clear that in order for the community to remain attractive to residents and businesses, to meet current health care needs, and to provide adequate opportunities for education, improvements needed to be made.

 

In February 2020, the Port completed a feasibility study for a dark fiber network in the City of Dayton and some adjacent, more dense areas in the county. The study showed that it is financially feasible to operate a fiber optic network under the public/private partnership model in our community. The project would provide access to broadband for any of the 1,278 businesses and residents in the project area that are interested in fiber service.

The Port will not be providing internet service to customers. The system will be what’s called an open access network, meaning any interested internet service provider that is willing to invest in equipment can offer fiber internet service to the premises by leasing strands of the Port’s fiber infrastructure. Basically, the Port builds the “road,” and the private sector “drives” on it to deliver service to customers.

The Port provided information and an invitation to partner to all existing service providers prior to applying for funds, and have signed contingency agreements with 3 companies – Columbia iConnect, PocketiNet, and Emerge by Inland Cellular – to lease fiber from the Port and deliver internet service to their existing and to new customers.

The Port of Garfield recently completed the same type of fiber infrastructure in Pomeroy, and customers there are receiving 1 gigabyte of service for $70 per month through the private internet providers. 50% of the premises in their project area are using this new service.

More information on the project can be found on the Port’s website at https://www.portofcolumbia.org/economic-development/broadband/ .

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.