Port of Grays Harbor create Tax Increment Area to assist funding local improvements

The Port of Grays Harbor will be using property taxes to help fund infrastructure improvements for the Terminal 4 Expansion and Redevelopment Project. 

According to the Port, on Wednesday the Commissioners voted to designate the first Tax Increment Area (TIA) within Grays Harbor that will leverage additional private investment in the community by the Port’s largest customer, AGP. 

In a release, the Port states that this designation is an important step in the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) process in which public infrastructure that is vital to private economic development projects can be funded by allocating some of the property taxes paid by development in the TIA for up to 25 years.  

Property taxes paid by the new development in the TIA would not occur but for the public infrastructure funded by the TIF.  State and local school bonds and levies are not impacted. 

TIF will be used to pay a portion of the $46.85 million needed to construct the Terminal 4 Expansion and Redevelopment Project to support AGP’s $123 million investment in a second soymeal export facility at Terminal 4B.  

This schematic shows both the public improvements the Port will be making and the private improvements to be made by AGP (shown in pink). The Tax Increment Area (TIA) was created around AGP’s improvements at Terminal 4B. Photo from Port of Grays Harbor

The Port’s portion of the project includes the addition of 50,000 feet of rail and associated rail improvements in the Port’s Marine Terminal Complex; replacement of the Terminal 4 fendering and stormwater systems; and repurposing the 50-acre former pontoon construction site into a cargo laydown area to support future break bulk opportunities at Terminal 4A.   

The TIF funding, along with the $3.5 million secured this past session in State Capital Budget funds, and Port funds, will go toward the local match for the $25.5 million MARAD Port Infrastructure Development Program grant the Port was awarded last fall. 

“TIF is a great new tool for ports, cities, and counties to help growth, pay for growth,” explained Port of Grays Harbor Finance Director Mike Folkers.  “Right now, there is no property tax revenue being generated within the TIA, and there wouldn’t be without the Port making the necessary public infrastructure investments for AGP to make their improvements that will ultimately result in jobs, additional investment and increased cargo exports for our entire community.  Local taxing authorities, including the City of Aberdeen, will still realize the sales tax generated on the construction of the Port’s projects and AGP’s new facility.” 

“We appreciate and commend the work, including the outreach, that has gone into this process,” stated Port Commission President Tom Quigg.  “The positive feedback from our partners at the City and County are a testament to the community support for this transformational project.”

For more information on the Port’s Terminal 4 Expansion and Redevelopment Project visit, www.https://www.portofgraysharbor.com/t4-project.