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The final vote was six to one. The City of Chelan is moving forward on a Tax Increment Financing proposal. The city council voted Wednesday afternoon to designate an area encompassing East Chelan as a Tax Increment Area, or TIA, the purpose of which, according to the city, is to fund a portion of the cost of further developing its water utility infrastructure. The primary public improvement is the construction of the East Chelan Reservoir and Booster Pump Station; other elements of the project include four water main extensions from the reservoir to the surrounding neighborhoods. At the meeting, no one in attendance – which was standing room only, by the way – spoke against the formation of the TIA, their complaints were focused on how the water system improvements would be funded, and their fears on how it would impact the junior taxing districts, as well as the city. Fire Commissioner Russ Jones:

That was not the only comment about the firm the city chose to help put together the TIF plan; here's Manson resident Byron Schmidt:

Schmidt works for Lake Chelan Health, as did most who spoke before the council yesterday. Attorney Stan Morse also spoke, and compared TIF to opening a “Pandora's Box:”

After public comments and a presentation by consultant Bob Stowe, then some discussion, it was time for the council to have their say. Council Member Erin McArdle started it off:

Councilman John Olson gave a list of observations, stressing that the council was only voting to establish a Tax Increment Area. He also voiced a list of concerns should the city not find financing to upgrade a water system. Among them:

Councilman Mark Ericks noted that decisions on water infrastructure had in his words been punted by the council in the past :

In his comments, Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said he was skeptical that TIF was the best way to fund the water system improvements, however . . .

Council member Shari Dietrich added her support, saying the city needed to work with the junior taxing districts to make it work:

Councilman Chris Baker was the lone dissenter on the TIF issue:

Mayor Bob Goedde, though he didn't have a vote on the matter, spoke, calling the water project an enhancement above and beyond what they can ask developers to do, and get things ready for future development in East Chelan, such as the High School: