The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority is looking to establish a framework to determine how it makes investments in the community. 

It's in the process of choosing a consulting firm to develop a strategic plan. 

Port CEO Jim Kuntz says that the plan should have a set of guiding principles for future investments. 

"A set of guiding principles to really allow us to sort through all the economic development projects and other community-oriented things that the doors are going to knock (and) they want the regional port to engage in," said Kuntz. "And I don't think that we can predetermine what those are." 

Port commissioners and staff heard presentations from four consultants at a special meeting on March 7.  

The firms were Oregon-based Civic* Possible, Portland, Maine-based BerryDunn, Maul Foster & Alongi from Seattle, and Wentchee-based Moss Adams. 

The Port currently offers investments to help finance projects from local businesses and communities. 

Kuntz said they need to focus on projects that give the Port a return on its investment. 

"We want to do less subsidization and more projects where there's a return, both financially and otherwise, so we can reinvest in the community," Kuntz said. 

He also noted the rate of change in society is very rapid in current times. 

The Port is partially funded by the $4.8 million it collects in property taxes from Chelan and Douglas counties. 

Kuntz said the Port should closely consider how it spends tax dollars and be prepared to say no when proposals for projects are submitted. 

Port Commissioner J.C. Baldwin said if they’re going to reject proposals from groups, then she’d like the Port to be able to tell those groups where they can get the funding they seek. 

"Perhaps during this developing of a strategic plan, and in partnering with other groups, we could be strategic on how we partner, and end up working up some kind of resource list," Baldwin said. "So that if it's something that we can't do, maybe one of our partners could do," said Baldwin. 

The Port will likely choose a consulting firm to work on the strategic plan at its March 26 meeting. 

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Gallery Credit: Aly