Friday, November 12, 2010

Vancouver USA Port Slashes Funding for Economic Development Group by 25%

The governing board for the Washington-state Port of Vancouver voted Tuesday to cut 25 percent of its annual financial support for the Columbia River Economic Development Council, citing disappointment with the non-profit's ability to create local jobs.

The port move comes after a similar shellacking of CREDC's efforts by the Clark County Board of Commissioners. The county board recently criticized the non-profit, which is funded by private and public monies, for a lack of communication with area partners and failing to support local companies.

CREDC describes its mission as promoting "job creation and investment while maintaining the county's exceptional environment and high quality of life." Clark County currently faces an unemployment rate over 12 percent.

Port commission President Jerry Oliver told The Columbian that a year ago CREDC had promised 12 leads to businesses that could benefit the port by expanding or relocating. Oliver said that not one lead that met the criteria materialized.

The port board split 2-1 in its vote to reduce funding to CREDC, however in casting his dissenting vote, Oliver stated that he actually wanted more drastic cuts to port funding for the group. The vote will see the port's contribution to CREDC fall from $40,000 in 2011 to $30,000. Oliver wanted the port's contribution cut to $10,000.

Following the vote, the commissioners signaled that further cuts could be expected if CREDC does not address the port's concerns by June.