Business Incentives

Considering Ellensburg? Sit down with us and review your project.

Development can be simple or complex. The City of Ellensburg provides a comprehensive review of proposed projects in a Pre-Application Meeting. Because the City owns and operates electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, stormwater, and fiber utilities, you’ll have the right people at the table to provide an overview of the process, timeline, constraints, and requirements for a successful development. Contact the Community Development Office at 509-962-7231 for more information.

Opportunity Zones

Ellensburg’s two Opportunity Zones provide a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into dedicated Opportunity Funds.

Ellensburg has two Opportunity Zones for business investors who are looking for a financial tool to reduce the impact of capital gains. The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017. The Opportunity Zone program was included in that act, which was designed to provide tax incentives to investors who fund businesses in underserved communities. Investors can defer paying taxes on capital gains that are invested in distressed communities designated as Opportunity Zones by the governor. View City of Ellensburg map to locate two eligible Opportunity Zone census tracts in the City.

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) #203

Ellensburg and the whole of Kittitas County is designated as FTZ #203. In the United States (U.S.), a foreign-trade zone (FTZ) is a geographical area, near a U.S. Port of Entry, where commercial merchandise, both domestic and foreign receives the same Customs treatment it would if it were outside the commerce of the U.S. Merchandise of every description may be held in the zone without being subject to tariffs (customs duties) and other ad valorem taxes. This tariff and tax relief is designed to lower the costs of U.S.-based operations engaged in international trade and thereby foster global competitiveness. Find more information at info@FTZ203.com or call 509-762-5363.

Main Street Tax Credit Program

For businesses located in Ellensburg’s Historic Downtown, the Main Street tax credit incentive program provides for a Business & Occupation (B&O) or Public Utility Tax (PUT) credit for private contributions given to support eligible downtown organizations that provide events, marketing, and more. Once your business’ donation request is approved by the Department of Revenue, you are eligible for a tax credit worth 75% of the contribution to your downtown revitalization organization. Designated Washington Main Street Communities such as the Ellensburg Downtown Association are eligible to receive contributions through this state tax credit program.

Because the EDA organization is a 501(c)3 participants may be eligible for a federal income tax deduction as a charitable contribution.

The Main Street Tax Credit Program was established in HB 1279 and is contracted out for management to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation. Visit their website or contact EDA Director at director@ellensburgdowntown.org or 509-962-6246 for more information.

Traffic Impact Fees

Expanding the street network and non-motorized, or active transportation infrastructure is important to a growing community. Traffic impact fees are collected for projects during the building permit process. These fees are used on prescribed projects on the City's vehicular and active transportation systems and are only used to fund infrastructure projects that increase capacity. Some projects are exempt or partially exempt, including those with no net peak hour trip increase, low-income housing, and early learning centers. In addition, there is a 50% fee reduction for those building permits in the commercial and industrial zones, and a 100% reduction for those in the central commercial zones. Find information at Ellensburg City Code (ECC) 14.04 or call 509-962-7230 for details.

Competitive Utility Rates

The City of Ellensburg owns and operates its own electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, stormwater, and public fiber utilities. Local control provides customers with competitive rates and excellent service.

Historic Property Rehabilitation Incentives 

If you’re considering rehabilitating a nonresidential building on a historic property, find out if it’s eligible for the “special valuation for improvements to historic property” program, a property tax incentive program.

Incentives are available to property owners for the acquisition, preservation, restoration, development and continued use of outstanding historic properties. Rehabilitation of eligible historic properties is encouraged through the “special valuation for improvements to historic property” program, a property tax incentive as provided in Chapter 84.26 of the Washington State Code. The amount spent on renovation can be deducted from overall tax evaluation.

“Special valuation for improvements to historic property” or “special valuation” means, for purposes of Chapter 15.280 ECC, the local option program established under the authority of Chapter 84.26 RCW which, once implemented, makes available to property owners a special tax valuation for rehabilitation of historic properties, under which the assessed value of an eligible historic property is determined at a rate that excludes, for up to 10 years, the actual cost of the rehabilitation. For complete details, visit Chapter 15.280 of the Ellensburg City Code or call 509-962-7231.

Small Business Flex Fund

Supported by the Washington State Department of Commerce, the Fund helps small businesses and nonprofits access the financial support they need to thrive. smallbusinessflexfund.org – Small Business Flex Fund

WA Economic Development Finance Authority

The Washington Economic Development Finance Authority (WEDFA) is a public corporation of the state authorized to issue nonrecourse tax-exempt and taxable economic development revenue bonds. The Tax-Exempt Manufacturing and Processing Equipment Financing Program (TEMPE) allows bond interest to be exempt from federal income tax. This program is designed for equipment financings of $250,000 or greater. Washington Economic Development Finance Authority (wedfa.org)

New Markets Tax Credit

The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) was designed to increase the flow of capital to businesses and low income communities by providing a modest tax incentive to private investors. Over the last 15 years, the NMTC has proven to be an effective, targeted and cost-efficient financing tool valued by businesses, communities, and investors across the country. Ellensburg has two qualifying census tracts. This incentive is set to sunset on 12/31/2025.

Community Economic and Revitalization Board (CERB) - When access roads and rail lines, sewer and water extensions, or some other public improvement is needed to spur private sector investments in the community, the revolving loan and grant program of the Community Economic Revitalization Board may be utilized. CERB monies are awarded to local communities on an “as needed” basis for public works projects. Contact the City Manager’s Office for more information.

.09 Fund – Funding is available for qualifying public facilities improvements. This is a special program directed by Kittitas County. The fund is only available to rural communities in Washington State. The City of Ellensburg can provide public infrastructure improvements through this fund.

Industrial Revenue Bonds - Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs) serve to finance the acquisition, construction, enlargement or improvement of industrial development facilities. These bonds are issued by local governments to honor that purpose. The key advantage of IRBs lies in their tax-exempt status. Interest paid to the buyer of the bonds is not subject to federal income tax. As a result, the bond buyer will accept a lower rate of interest on the bonds.

Tax Increment Financing - Tax increment financing (TIF) is a method of redistributing property tax collections within designated areas to finance infrastructure improvements within these designated areas. This financing tool was made available to cities in Washington in 2021 to fund local infrastructure projects.

Local Improvement District – Local Improvement Districts (LIDs) are a means of assisting benefiting properties in financing needed capital improvements through the formation of special assessment districts. Special assessment districts permit improvements to be financed and paid for over a period of time through assessments on the benefiting properties. LIDs are financing tool that allows private development projects to obtain long-term financing for on-site public infrastructure at relatively lower interest rates.

Utility Incentives The City of Ellensburg operates its own natural gas utility and offers Service and Extension Credits. Service Credits are based on the size of meter needed to supply the listed appliance load(s) and are outlined in City Code under Section 9.92.200. In almost all situations the Service Credits eliminate any charges associated with a new service allowing a new customer a secondary energy choice at little to no cost.

There are also Extension Credits offered by the City’s Gas Utility to help cover costs associated with the extension of natural gas for new developments or individual customers.

The City of Ellensburg operates its own Electric Utility and offers Service and Extension Credits. Service Credits are based on the panel amp size of the electric panel needed to supply the electric load of the home or building and are outlined in City Code under Section 9.92.100. 

There are also Extension Credits offered by the City’s Electric Utility to help cover costs associated with the extension of electrical facilities for new plat developments, based on number of buildable lots in the plat.

The City's conservation program has rebates available through the Bonneville Power Administration to help businesses upgrade to more efficient electrical systems. This includes systems such as lighting, compressors, motors, pumps, refrigeration systems. For businesses with electrical heating systems, rebates are also available for insulation upgrades for floors, walls, and ceilings.