Business Briefs – December 2022
Hanford board seeks members
The Hanford Advisory Board is seeking applicants for several vacant seats.
The board is a nonpartisan group of local representatives that provides recommendations to the three parties responsible for the Hanford site cleanup. They include the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Ecology.
Positions are open for the public-at-large seat, for a regional citizen, environmental or public interest organization with an interest in Hanford, and a representative from a local or regional public health organization.
Applications will be accepted through Dec. 31. Go to bit.ly/HABApplications.
3RCF launches an online giving platform
3 Rivers Community Foundation has launched an online giving platform for holiday community giving. The grant catalog makes community giving easy for everyone and welcomes all sizes of donations.
“This is the first time we have offered a ‘crowd-funding style’ of community giving. There are 26 participating area nonprofit organizations in the catalog that will benefit greatly from online giving this holiday season. These are organizations we support and have vetted through an application process, evaluation and interviews,” said 3RCF’s Chief Executive Officer Abbey Cameron.
Each nonprofit listed is local and supports a wide variety of causes, from arts to youth programs.
The website can be found at 3rcf.org/grantcatalog.
This month, the foundation will distribute a total of 59 grants to area nonprofits for a total of $270,000. It hopes to attach another $100,000 through this first-time online platform.
Register now for Tri-Cities Day in Olympia
The Tri-Cities Legislative Council holds its Capitol Day in Olympia on Jan. 26, its first since 2020.
The event offers the community an opportunity to share local priorities with key lawmakers and leaders in state government.
The registration deadline is Jan. 9. Contact the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce for information, 509-736-0510, or email@example.com
Go to bit.ly/TriCitiesDay.
Partners sought for MLK Day of Service
Tri-City businesses are encouraged to donate items for distribution during the 2023 Martin Luther King Day of Service, observed on Jan. 16.
The Tri-Cities Diversity and Inclusion Council, in partnership with Hapo Credit Union and Lutheran Community Services Northwest, will hold a drive-thru distribution event from 10 a.m.-noon at Gesa Stadium in Pasco.
Businesses are asked to sponsor the event or donate essential items to support the cause of aiding 2,000 people. Sponsors may set up information tables and encourage their teams to volunteer by signing up at bit.ly/TriCitiesMLKDay.
Fire prompts closure of Clover Island boat launch
The Clover Island boat launch is closed until further notice after a Dec. 7 fire within the Clover Island Yacht Club’s boat house moorage.
The public launch, owned by the Port of Kennewick, was closed at the direction of the state Department of Ecology.
The closure allows time for removal and cleanup of debris from the fire.
Two of the yacht club boat houses burned and several other adjacent boat houses suffered exterior damage. Boat houses are boat storage shelters and are not residential buildings.
Responders placed floating booms within the marina to capture any materials, chemicals or spilled fuel.
Richland receives grants to improve congestion, pedestrian safety
The state Transportation Improvement Board awarded 173 street and multimodal improvement grants to local agencies totaling over $126 million at its Dec. 2 meeting.
Grants were awarded to agencies through seven programs.
Here are local projects receiving funding:
Richland received $225,324 toward its $304,493 project to improve pedestrian safety along Jadwin Avenue from Davenport to Gillespie streets.
Richland also received $3.5 million toward its $16.8 million project to improve downtown connectivity on George Washington Way and Jadwin Avenue from Bradley Boulevard to Torbett Street. The project will reconfigure the streets into one-way couplets with George Washington having three through-lanes northbound and Jadwin three through-lane southbound.
Benton City received $401,901 toward its $423,054 project for its 2022 seal coat program at multiple locations.
Prosser received $171,000 for its $1.7 million project to improve pedestrian safety from Old Inland Empire Highway to Wine Country Road.
Kahlotus received $113,900 to fully fund its 2022 crack seal program at multiple locations.
Mesa received $30,000 to fully fund its 2022 maintenance projects at multiple locations.
U.S. drivers cautioned about B.C. liability rules
A new auto lability law in British Columbia means Americans who travel north of the border for business or pleasure will want to review their auto insurance.
Under the new law, drivers who are involved in vehicle accidents in the Canadian province are responsible for paying for their own injuries or damages regardless of who is at fault.
The Northwest Insurance Council advises U.S. residents who plan to drive personal, business or rental vehicles in British Columbia to consult with their insurance agents and employers before they cross the border. U.S. drivers won’t be able to make claims against another driver’s insurance, even if that driver is at fault.
The insurance council advises reviewing collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, personal injury protection, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, towing coverage, rental cars and deductibles.
“We’ve already begun to see the impact of this change to B.C. liability laws, just as the US-Canadian border has fully reopened and more U.S. drivers are once again visiting places like Victoria and Vancouver,” said NW Insurance Council President Kenton Brine.
401(k), IRA limits increase in 2023
The maximum contribution individuals can add to 401(k) retirement plans in 2023 increases to $22,500, from $20,500 in 2022.
Income ranges for determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional IRAs, contribute to Roth IRAs and to claim the Saver’s Credit also increase, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan will increase to $22,500.
The limit on annual contributions to an IRA will increase to $6,500. The IRA catch‑up contribution limit for individuals age 50 and over is not subject to an annual cost‑of‑living adjustment and remains $1,000.
The catch-up contribution limit for employees age 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan will increase to $7,500.
The catch-up contribution limit for employees age 50 and over who participate in SIMPLE plans will increase to $3,500, up from $3,000.
The phase‑out ranges for deducting contributions to a traditional IRA will also increase. Taxpayers should review Notice 2022-55 regarding the details for their situation.
The income phase-out range for people making contributions to a Roth IRA will increase for taxpayers filing as single, head of household and married filing jointly. Again, taxpayers should consult Notice 2022-55 for specifics about their situation.
The income limit for the Saver’s Credit for low- and moderate-income workers is $73,000 for married couples filing jointly; $54,750 for heads of household; and $36,500 for singles and married individuals filing separately.
The amount individuals can contribute to their SIMPLE retirement accounts will increase to $15,500.
Go to irs.gov.
Workers comp rates rising for 2023
The state Department of Labor & Industries announced a 4.8% increase in the average worker’s compensation premium rate for 2023.
The rate increase, prompted by wage inflation and rising medical costs, means employers and workers will jointly pay an additional $61 a year, on average, for each full-time employee. It takes effect Jan. 1.
L&I workers’ compensation insurance covers 2.7 million workers and 198,000 employers. The proposed rate is an average, with individual employers’ actual rates varying depending on industry and history of claims.
“We’re adopting this modest increase in the workers’ compensation rate to boost the long-term health of our state workers’ comp system. This move will assure that our contingency reserves, which we’re using to buy-down the impacts of the rate increase, will continue to be healthy and viable,” said L&I Director Joel Sacks. “We want to keep rates steady and predictable. When the new rates go into effect, on average rates will be about the same per employee as they were back in 2016.
Go to Lni.wa.gov/Rates.
Rock Wood Fired Pizza settles ADA claim
Rock Wood Fired Pizza in Kennewick will pay an $11,000 fine after refusing to serve a customer who required a service animal in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act in November 2021.
According to a settlement announced by the U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldreff, the owners admitted that they did not have a written policy or formal training for employees.
The Kennewick restaurant and three others operated by the same owners agreed to take remedial measures to comply with the act over the next three years, including implementing an ADA and service animal policy, training employees, providing a grievance procedure for customers and employees, posting notices that service animals are welcome and submitting regular reports to the U.S. Attorney’s office, which investigated the incident after the disabled individual’s family filed a complaint.
Failure to comply could lead to a $75,000-per-violation penalty.
Pasco chamber to induct Ag Hall of Famers
The Pasco Chamber of Commerce inducts agriculture leaders into the 2023 Mid-Columbia Ag Hall of Fame on Jan. 19.
The annual celebration opens with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by dinner and a program at 6:30 p.m., at the Red Lion Hotel & Conference Center Pasco.
The chamber and the Port of Pasco established the Ag Hall of Fame in 2000 to recognize and honor people who have made significant contributions to agriculture in Franklin County and surrounding communities. The nomination deadline passed in November.