PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners agreed Tuesday to join the Port of Port Angeles in an effort to gather accurate data about businesses in Clallam County.
They agreed to send a letter from the Board of County Commissioners and Port of Port Angeles to state elected officials requesting the port have access to data from the state Department of Revenue.
The letter asks state Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, and state Reps. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, and Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, for support in asking the Department of Revenue to expand its data-sharing policy via interlocal agreements.
Port Commissioner Colleen McAleer said Tuesday if the port had access to Department of Revenue information, business leaders would have accurate information about which industry sectors in Clallam County are growing in revenue and the total number of businesses in any industry.
“We would ensure that we followed all state laws and practices, and if we had an agreement and had access … any proprietary data of any individual business would not be shared,” she said. “It’s important for our county to have accurate information.”
McAleer said the state Department of Revenue shares information with municipalities that have a business tax or a separate business and occupation tax, but governments such as the Port of Port Angeles do not have access to that data.
In Clallam County, only the city of Sequim issues business licenses, according to the letter.
“That leaves many of our governments without a strong understanding of the economic landscape we are charged to govern,” according to the letter.
McAleer said she expects port commissioners to vote on whether to sign the letter during their meeting Monday.
“It would inform governments and leaders, [the Clallam County Economic Development Corp.], chambers and trade associations where there are opportunities and what is happening in our own communities,” she said.
McAleer said much of the information the port has access to is based on surveys or estimates or isn’t recent.
The letter says it is critical for local leaders to have a clear understanding of the actual situation using reliable and recent data.
“We need to have tools at our disposal to assess local growth and decline trends of our local economy to develop a proactive plan,” the letter reads.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.