Umatilla County granted the city of Umatilla’s request to drop Stanfield and Echo from its enterprise zone, but not under the exact format it wanted.
At a Umatilla County Board of Commissioners meeting on Wednesday, Umatilla City Manager David Stockdale said the city wanted to be able to offer enterprise zone incentives to incoming businesses without having to involve the two other cities or create a conflict by competing with them.
Enterprise zones are state-sanctioned areas where local governments can offer large-scale employers a multi-year property tax exemption.
Since the city’s proposed boundary changes to the enterprise zone extend beyond city limits, Umatilla needed the county’s consent or co-sponsorship to proceed.
But the city and county disagreed whether the former or latter were the better option.
Stockdale and city staff wanted the county to consent to the new enterprise zone, meaning the county wouldn’t be involved in the zone’s operational decisions.
Stockdale said negotiations can slow down and get “murky” if multiple entities are involved. He added that he expected the Port of Umatilla to consent to the enterprise zone.
But Commissioner Bill Elfering argued that a co-sponsorship model was fairer to the county and the “general citizenship.”
Ultimately, the board voted unanimously to co-sponsor the revised enterprise zone.