The primary purpose of the Port of Chelan County is economic development – and to us that means increasing the net wealth of Chelan County through the attraction and development of private capital investment and the creation of jobs that will increase our average wages.
Businesses that sell products and services to customers outside our region bring in new wealth which grows our economy. In Washington State the Legislature has given Ports broad authority to promote economic development – Ports can build and operate airports, marine terminals, marinas, railroads, business and industrial parks, and promote tourism and in some cases participate in the ownership of tourism related facilities.
To these activities, Ports are authorized to levy property taxes up to $0.45 per thousand dollars of real property valuation, subject to limitations from the Legislature. However, Ports are considered special purpose districts, and as such do not have the broader statutory authority of general purpose governments like cities and counties. That means that Ports are only authorized to do what is specifically described in the enabling legislation (which can be found in RCW Chapter 53). Therefore, if a function or activity is not included in Chapter 53, Ports may not do it.