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Voters In A Supportive Mood 4/18/2012

By a margin of nearly 2 to 1, voters in the two county Greater Wenatchee Public Facilities District granted a pardon to the City ofWenatchee and the PFD Board of Directors in yesterdays special election. First count of ballots shows Proposition 1 passing with a 65% voter approval to allow a 1/10 of 1% sales tax increase to support the ailing Town Toyota Center. 

The PFD and the City of Wenatchee were facing a dark future without the sales tax bailout plan crafted by local legislators. The construction debt on the event center was threatening to choke the financial life out of Wenatchee residents but that can now all be avoided with prudent management.

Yesterday’s decision by voters will change the makeup of the Public Facilities Board. Gone is Wenatchee’s dominance on the decision making board, replaced by members representing all nine entities that voted to save the Town Toyota Center from default.

The new board and the city of Wenatchee will work out a financial package, using the proceeds from the regional sales tax and the 0.2 percent sales tax imposed without voter approval in Wenatchee, to pay off the consrtuction bonds.

The 0.2 percent tax hike in Wenatchee will go into effect July 1 and the 0.1 percent tax increase across the nine jurisdictions will take effect on Oct. 1.

For the  Manson Parks and Recreation District… the third try was a charm. Voters approved a maintenance and operation replacement levy with a 67% yes vote. The levy had failed in February of 2011 with 58 percent of the vote, and last November with 54 percent approving. The levy approval will generate $150,000 to care for Manson’s parks for the next three years.

In the Methow Valley, three tax measures — a maintenance and operations levy, a technology levy and a bond issue to repair schools all received passing grades from voters. The  measures will replace existing levies and not significantly affect what property owners are currently paying –about $1.80 per $1,000 assessed value.

In Grant County a ballot measure that may hint at what might be in store for Lake Chelan Community Hospital…  voters approved a $13 million bond issue to upgrade the 55 year old Columbia Basin Hospital.