The state’s investment budget of $ 6.3 billion for 2021-2023 is the largest in state history.
And there is a little something in it for the communities of Grant County.
The investment budget, which is separate from the state’s operating and transport budgets, finances the construction and improvement of state buildings as well as grants for local infrastructure improvement projects, such as clinics, water treatment systems and high-speed Internet connection.
“My philosophy on the capital budget is to bring money to those who need it most and who will benefit from it,” said representative Alex Ybarra, R-Quincy.
Ybarra said there was a lot more money available for local projects this year, in part because the state’s finances are quite strong and because the legislature wanted to provide money for the recovery in the event of pandemic.
“I always do it out of need, and that hasn’t been helped,” he said.
Ybarra said he is particularly trying to help finance the types of infrastructure projects that will drive economic growth and development in small towns in the Columbia Basin.
“I don’t think a business is going to downtown Quincy or Moses Lake unless you have great infrastructure in place,” Ybarra said. “When you strengthen the downtown areas of our small towns, that’s a good way to help attract business. And when you start a business, the assessed value is much higher and everyone pays less tax.
Major recipients of funding in the 2021-2023 Capital Budget include: $ 1.3 million for the Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce Business Incubator; nearly $ 1 million for the Coulee City Medical Clinic; $ 856,000 to convert Soap Lake Elementary School to an early learning center; $ 618,000 for wastewater treatment at the Port of Mattawa; $ 155,000 to help pay for fiber optic connections in the village of Wanapum; and financing of water supply projects in George and Royal City.
“A business incubator is exactly what it sounds like, a space to help young start-ups grow healthy with a solid financial foundation. Then they will move into traditional commercial spaces with long term leases or purchases, ”said Debbie Doran-Martinez, executive director of the Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Doran-Martinez said the chamber plans to have multiple suites, from 500 to 1,000 square feet, for mixed use by retailers, professionals or artisans, and the chamber will also offer continuing education “in all aspects of owning and managing a business “.
The Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce is still looking for a place to set up its business incubator, Doran-Martinez said, but it intends to have the facility up and running by spring 2023.
The nearly $ 1 million funding for the Coulee City Medical Clinic will allow the clinic to move out of the WWII-era building where it currently resides and move into a new 4,000-space space. square feet owned by Coulee City Port.
“We realize the importance of rural areas having access to high quality health care,” said Sen. Brad Hawkins, R-East Wenatchee.
Hawkins said the clinic, which is run by Coulee Medical Center in Grand Coulee, has been working with the port city of Coulee for the past few years to make the move happen.
Coulee Medical Center CEO Ramona Hicks said the town of Coulee has long needed a new and improved health care center.
“It is really time to create a new clinic for this community,” she said.
Charles H. Featherstone can be contacted by email at [email protected]