News

$2 billion in sales, $17 million in wages

by AMANDA WINTERS
Sequim Gazette

From 2006-2010, businesses in Carlsborg generated close to $2 billion in goods and services, according to a recently released economic profile.

 

Other statistics included in the study: An estimated 1,050 people are employed by the 113 Carlsborg Urban Growth Area businesses, which in 2009 paid $17 million in gross wages.

 

The Carlsborg UGA Economic Profile, presented by the Clallam Economic Development Council and the Carlsborg Business and Property Owners Association, is the document economic leaders were looking for, said EDC Executive Director Linda Rotmark.

 

“We had been aware of the fact that both Sen. Patty Murray’s office and the county commissioners wanted someone to help aggregate economic indicators of what the business representation was (in Carlsborg),” she said. “But we didn’t have the manpower.”

 

Through partnerships with the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Economic Development Authority, a Western Washington University intern and the CBPOA, the study now is published and soon will be presented to both the Clallam County and Public Utility District commissioners.

 

Businesses and property owners in the 560-acre UGA are in their third year of a moratorium on development as the county addresses a ruling of the Growth Management Hearings Board, which declared the UGA invalid. The county simultaneously is challenging the ruling in court and investigating the possibility of constructing a $14 million sewer system to meet state Growth Management Act requirements.

Rotmark emphasized the economic profile is not a position paper, but a fact-based document on the economic impact of Carlsborg.

 

“It’s not about the suitability of sewer vs. non-sewer,” she said.

Economic value

Arthur Greene, owner of A-M Systems, said the economic profile answered one important question in the debate over the value of the UGA.

 

“Are we (businesses in the UGA) adding to our local economy?” he said. “Yes.”

 

Greene employs 23 people at his bio-medical manufacturing business and said his focus and that of other business owners is providing jobs and creating more jobs.

 

Don Butler, co-owner of High Energy Metals, said he moved his business from Port Townsend to the Carlsborg Industrial Park in 2002.

 

“We had an acre of land and a building that was the perfect fit for how business was in 2002,” he said. The UGA provided a long-term site for his business with room to expand.

 

“It all changed overnight,” he said, referring to the invalidation ruling in 2008 and subsequent interim controls.

‘Worth the investment’

The Clallam County Board of Commissioners created the UGA in 2000 and Butler said the economic profile shows the UGA is operating as it should.

 

From 2002-2009 the employment growth rate in the UGA was 29 percent, whereas during the same period the county as a whole only saw 7 percent growth in employment.

 

Additionally, in 2010 UGA businesses generated $314,000 in tax revenue for Clallam County, comprising 8 percent of all unincorporated county tax revenue for that year.

 

“We’re worth the investment,” Butler said.

 

Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequimgazette.com.

 

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