Chelan County Commissioner Doug England says he’s satisfied with a plan to consolidate port district operations in Chelan and Douglas County. England is a member of the task force that has recommended the two ports join together in a “functional consolidation.” He says he’s optimistic that it could translate into significant cost savings, but perhaps not enough to also pay for needed future upgrades at Pangborn Airport.
He says the task force also looked at the possibility of creating a regional port authority which would be the first of its kind in the State, but would require legislative approval. It could potentially provide a more sustainable funding source from sales tax revenue. Pangborn’s 10-year capital budget, includes about $10 million dollars of additional needed airport projects that are not eligible for federal funding and must be financed using local funds. The task force recommendation is now awaiting final approval by the two port commissions.