Port of Walla Walla commissioners are Paul Schneidmiller, Mike Fredrickson and Ron Dunning. With Dunning on an excused absence from Thursday's meeting, the remaining commissioners:
- GRANT APPLICATION: Port commissioners agreed to a financial commitment on a potential project in Wallula as part of a grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The agency has $500 million available in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery -- "TIGER IV" -- grant funds for surface transportation projects, including road, rail, transit and port projects. Of that, $120 million is specifically set aside for rural projects. The Port plans to request $3.5 million to help with a rail infrastructure at Railex.
- WHEAT MARKETING: Approved a new wheat marketing policy that will have the Port sell wheat every third Wednesday of the month throughout the year. Unanimous.
- AIRPORT RV PARK: Discussed numerous questions related to a proposal from a private citizen to build a high-end recreational vehicle park. No action taken.
- PUBLIC INFORMATION REQUESTS: Discussed a new policy that would change the public records request process when the agency's existing public information officer is the subject of the requests. In those cases, the request will instead go to legal counsel for processing. A vote was not taken. The issue is expected to return to the Port for formal approval.
- PROJECT MANAGER POSITION: Approved the creation of a project manager position that will begin as soon as possible. The position will start at around 30 hours per week. Pay has not been solidified. The new employee will be responsible for coordinating major capital projects. Unanimous.
- FEDERAL AFFAIRS CONTRACT: Revised the existing contract with the firm hired to represent the Port's federal lobbying interests. The Port had cut its contract with Ball Janik in half for 2012, but has since utilized the agency more than anticipated so far this year. The Port will pay the agency an additional $1,000 per month than originally budgeted. Unanimous.
- SALES TAX APPLICATION: Authorized the submission of an application for $100,000 from the county's Economic Development Sales Tax Fund to assist with utility infrastructure at the agency's Wallula property for a possible new animal feed cooperative. The co-op would bring as much as $3 million investment and five or six jobs. Unanimous.