Port may seek funds to aid new business

An animal feed cooperative reportedly plans to build facilities in the county.

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WALLA WALLA -- The Port of Walla Walla may seek some assistance from the county's Economic Development Sales Tax Fund to help provide services to a potential new business in Wallula.

An animal feed cooperative reportedly plans to build freezer and processor facilities at the Port's Dodd Road property. The Utah-based company plans to use excess animal products from Tyson Foods for pet food and animal feed, according to a filing with the Walla Walla County Joint Development Agency.

About five or six jobs would be added with the plant.

The goal for the F.B.A.C. Freezer and Processing Facilities is to have a capacity to process 40,000 to 60,000 pounds of product daily, the filing explained.

Officials said they expect to invest $2 million to $3 million constructing two 3,600-square-foot freezing and processing facilities, plus a covered loading dock, employee parking and trucking area and an onsite stormwater drainage improvement system.

Port Executive Director Jim Kuntz said the operation would need connections to the Port's fire line and potable water line.

The Port will consider seeking $100,000 from the county's sales tax fund to help with the infrastructure. Port commissioners will consider authorizing the request to the county at today's 7 p.m. Port meeting.

The sales tax fund was created by the state Legislature in 1999. The Economic Development Sales Tax Fund returns .09 of 1 percent of state sales taxes generated locally to the county for economic development projects. The county controls the funds, but under a revised interlocal agreement approved in 2005, the Port has the ability to take applications and recommend projects based on up to two-thirds of the money.

The remaining third is used by the county for infrastructure improvements and other applied-for projects that qualify for funding. According to the law authorizing the fund, the county will continue receiving collections through 2024.

In addition to the $100,000 in funds the Port may seek, the agency also plans to spend about $32,000 from its own budget for the connections, Kuntz said.

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