The Okanogan County Commissioners have charged the Economic Alliance to facilitate the Public Infrastructure and Community and Economic Development Prioritization Process in Okanogan County annually.
Project Prioritization Process
The Economic Alliance will coordinate the application and review process and provide the Okanogan County Commissioners with a single prioritized master list of public infrastructure and economic and community development projects. It is recognized that some projects (e.g., city and district fire halls, police stations, correctional facilities) may not be eligible for certain funding sources including .09 revenues. Therefore, the master list of .09 projects that comply with RCW 82.14.370 while meeting our own countywide economic development priorities will be developed, and upon review of other state and federal funding lists, appropriate sub-lists may be developed. This is intended to avoid the hasty reprioritization of projects for special circumstances related to different funding sources. Projects will be selected from the Master List that are determined to be regional in scope (i.e., of benefit at least to the North Central Washington region) and forwarded to the North Central Washington Economic Development District (NCW EDD) for consideration as regional projects, gaining additional support and attention at that level.
Each entity intending to submit projects for prioritization is encouraged to, first, review and prioritize their own projects and is requested to limit the number of applications to three for Public Facilities Fund grants and three for prioritization for other community development projects. Further project
development may be recommended, and potential applicants may be strongly encouraged to attend the Infrastructure Assistance Coordinating Committee (IACC) conference held annually in Wenatchee where funding agencies gather to provide project development assistance and to present their infrastructure funding programs. A “Tech Team” session may be arranged at this conference, or a community may decide to arrange such a meeting with funders on their own. Regardless of the approach, the Alliance will favor projects that demonstrate an effort to leverage other funding in order to maximize the local funding sources. The Alliance supports projects with good return potential, and/or projects that build strategic infrastructure improvements that enhance the County’s competitive position for economic development.
Emerging Opportunities Process
Emerging opportunities are economic opportunities or infrastructure enhancements, which require immediate action outside the normal funding cycle (e.g. a “Bird in the Hand” business that will sign a contingency agreement or a time-sensitive investment requirement from another funding source or private individual or business). These projects will be reviewed using the same application and criteria described below. However, the timeline for review and recommendation by the Alliance is shortened to provide for quick responses to emerging opportunities. The emerging opportunities review process is described in the following paragraph.
When a proposal for emerging opportunities funding is submitted to the Alliance, staff will immediately (within 2 business days) notify members of the Infrastructure Committee, the Economic Alliance Executive Committee, and the County Commissioners. A copy of the application and related materials will be provided to each member of these groups by the most expeditious means possible. The Economic Alliance staff, Executive Director, or another designee will poll the above groups and ensure a simple majority concurs with funding the project. If a simple majority of the Infrastructure Committee and a simple majority of the Executive Committee, each voting separately, exists then the Economic Alliance will present the project to the County Commissioners at their next regular meeting. Following the Commissioner’s action, the project will be managed the same as any other Public Facilities Fund project.
The County Commissioners have the final decision on all projects to be funded through the Public Facilities Fund.