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City of Wenatchee to Help Town Toyota Center? 8/15/2011
The city of Wenatchee finds itself between the proverbial rock and a hard place when it comes to the financing of construction bonds for the Town Toyota Center. The city wants to honor a commitment it made in 2006 to loan money to the arena’s owner to make its annual debt payments, but city leaders do not want to exceed their legal debt limit.

The city says state laws passed in the late 1800s to limit city spending are not clear enough to easily determine whether Wenatchee can legally back the Town Toyota Center’s nearly $42 million outstanding debt.

If the city signs the loan agreement with the Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center Public Facilities District, it would be committing to pay about $65 million over the life of a 20-year bond issue, or about $85 million if the bonds are paid off in 30 years.

Documents filed Thursday in Chelan County Superior Court state that the PFD would not be able to refinance the current short-term, interest-only bonds that expire on Dec. 1 without the city’s backing.

The Wenatchee City Council has already passed an ordinance saying that it intends to back the bonds when they are refinanced if the court determines that it would not constitute debt. Superior Court Judge John Bridges will hear the case on Sept. 8 to determine if the City of Wenatchee can legally foot the bill for the event center.