Leaders push for port district to draw new Spokane business

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by SHAWN CHITNIS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 7:28 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 20 at 7:40 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The City and County of Spokane want to create a port district as an effort to draw more businesses and jobs to the region.

City leaders said most counties in Washington State already have a port district and Spokane can benefit from having one too. They hope they can attract a big aerospace or manufacturing company to come to town with this new port district.

Local leaders said the city and county may need to invest more money before they can bring a major company here.

“They’re going to want roads, they’re going to want sewer and they’re going to want water. Those are core government functions,” said Spokane City Councilman Steve Salvatori.

A port district would provide those basic needs for a company before they decide to build in our area.

Salvatori said if they can find a business interested in Spokane, it is worth asking taxpayers to build the groundwork for a future employer.

There are two possible locations for the port district. In the West Plains, leaders would hope to get another aerospace company. Hillyard is also in consideration for another manufacturing business.

City leaders say the state needs to change rules about where a Port District can be so any part of Spokane County can qualify. It is an idea voters have considered before and back in the 1980s they voted against it.

They do not plan to ask voters to consider this idea until they can find a company interested in moving to Spokane. They believe voters will accept a property tax increase if the right business comes with it.

The next step in the process is before the Spokane City Council. They will consider a resolution asking state leaders to change the rules about port districts.

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