Effort intensifies to bring more industry — and jobs — to Jefferson County airport

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Economic Development Council and the Port of Port Townsend are closer to an agreement that could bring new industry and family-wage jobs to port-owned Jefferson County International Airport.

“I’m going to get paid by results, but we want a guaranteed income stream so we can survive,” Jefferson EDC Executive Director Ian McFall told the port commissioners at their Wednesday business meeting in the commissioners’ Hudson Point chambers.

Port commissioners last month formally endorsed the EDC and McFall taking action to draw new aviation-related industry to the airport.

EDC compensation is under discussion.

Aircraft builders and aviation parts manufacturers are targeted for port acreage south of the airport’s runway between state highways 20 and 19.

Only aviation-related industries can relocate to the airport, under Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

The FAA is the primary source of funding for the port-operated facility about four miles south of Port Townsend.

Work statement

Port officials on Wednesday released a proposed draft work statement that calls for a $5,000 port payment in advance, with a five-year contract.

If, during the contract period, the EDC negotiates a tenant agreement, the proposal says, then the port would compensate EDC at $50 an hour for time expended.

Authorized travel expenses required to complete the tenant agreement would also be paid by the port.

Such an expenditure would be at the port’s discretion, the proposal specifies.

The work statement also proposes that within the five-year contract, the EDC would receive 50 percent of the lease revenue from buildings and land under contract as a result of the EDC’s recruitment efforts.

Port commissioners discussed other options for paying EDC, including a commission similar to a real estate agent and a payment of $1,000 per new employee brought to the airport.

“It costs money to bring somebody here,” said Herb Beck, port commissioner.

Compensation is expected to be worked out between port staff and the EDC later this year.

In other services proposed under the agreement, EDC will:

ä Obtain contact information for the selected companies.

ä Create a brochure for the port that describes the airport, facilities and services available and future buildings that could be constructed for prospective airport tenants.

This would be done at the port’s expense, not to exceed $2,500.

ä Prepare a comprehensive information sheet on local taxes and incentives for new businesses relocating to Washington.

ä Package the information with ready-made information on local housing and lifestyles for each client.

ä Create a personalized solicitation letter and mail the complete solicitation package to selected contacts.

ä Follow-up on calls and e-mails.

ä Provide monthly progress reports to the port commissioners.

ä Arrange visits by prospective clients.

There are about 50 acres on the south side of the airport, and acreage in between existing business development on the north side.

The airport has two small aircraft services operations, including a fixed-base operation.

McFall has said he would focus on aircraft manufacturers and aircraft component manufacturers.

From a database, EDC would identify a list of companies to solicit by mail, e-mail and phone, with the intent of attracting them to the airport.

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Jefferson County Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-385-2335 or [email protected]

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