The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority is moving forward with a mechanism for building infrastructure near Pangborn Airport to draw businesses to the area.  

The Port has plans to form what's called a Tax Increment Financing District, also known as a TIF district.  

Port CEO Jim Kuntz says the purpose of the district is to build out utilities and roadways that are lacking in much of the Pangborn Airport area. 

"It doesn't have sewer to it," said Kuntz. "It doesn't have water, fiber and roadway connectivity that we'd like to have. So, the idea is to form the TIF district and put in the remainder of the utilities needed for the Pangborn service area to be fully built out."  

The plan is to expand the number of businesses near the airport with the extension of utility and roadway access. 

Areas near Pangborn Airport singled out for infrastucture buildout in TIF District
Areas near Pangborn Airport singled out for infrastucture buildout in TIF District

Tax increment financing (TIF) is a mechanism used by municipalities to fund development projects in a designated area.   

A law passed by the state legislature in 2021 allows Port District's to function as a municipality for this purpose.  

TIF involves the municipality issuing bonds to finance the project, and then using the increased property taxes generated by the project to pay off the bonds.  

In the Pangborn area TIF district, the utilities and roadway would be built out up front. And within the district, as assessed value increases with new construction, the larger tax collected will be dedicated to pay off the cost of the utilities and roadways. 

Kuntz clarified the process would not create any new taxes for Douglas County residents but would reallocate property tax gains only inside the boundaries of the TIF district.  

Plans are for the TIF district to include Pangborn Airport and the nearby Batterman Industrial Park.  

Kuntz said the Port would not likely sell bonds and create debt for itself immediately.  

He said a likely scenario would be the creation of the TIF district that allows time before the bonds must be sold. Kuntz said they would make sure financial projections make sense before the Port takes on debt. 

The Port hired a consultant, Tiberius Solutions from Portland, to put together a plan for the TIF district. Tiberius gave a presentation at the Port meeting last week, outlining a timeline to implement the district. 

The Port is now going through a 90-day period in which it must give notice of its intentions to tax districts affected by the TIF district.  

They include the Wenatchee Valley Fire district, the NCW library district, the Eastmont Metropolitan Park District and Douglas County, as the district will be in an unincorporated area of the county.  

Once the 90-day notice period is completed, the TIF District proposal will be sent to the Washington Office of the State Treasurer for approval. 

After receiving consent from the treasurer's office, the Port will conduct two public hearings (tentatively scheduled for Nov. 15 and Nov. 25) on the proposal. Douglas County Port commissioners will then vote (Nov.26) on whether to form the TIF district. 

According to the presentation by Tiberius Solutions, the Pangborn Industrial Service Area is one of the most successful “Industrial Urban Growth Areas” (UGAs) in the State of Washington. Dozens of new businesses and hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in the industrial UGA. 

Kuntz says it should not be hard to attract more businesses once utility and roadway improvement are made through the TIF district. 

"The area around Pangborn has an incredible track record of attracting those kinds of industries and businesses," Kuntz said. "It's too early to tell the next tranche, what exactly what type of businesses will locate out here. But obviously data centers right now are a fairly hot commodity."   

The first TIF district in Washington was created in 2003 and has been paid off.  

The recent presentation by Tiberius Solutions to the Port gave a rundown of the past four years, which have seen a sharp spike in TIF districts approved by the State Treasurer's Office. 


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