Tri-City Public Facilities District Sales Tax, Proposition 1 (August 2013)
A Tri-City Public Facilities District Tax, Proposition 1 ballot question was on the August 6, 2013, election ballot for voters in the cities of Pasco, Kennewick and Richland in Franklin and Benton counties, which are in Washington. The measure was defeated.
The proposed aquatic facility and water park would have been located on 13 acres off of Sandifur Parkway in wast Pasco. There would have been an indoor area of 46,000 square feet open year around and an outdoor area of 42,000 square feet open seasonally. The cost of the construction of these facilities was estimated at $35,000,000. The park would have been complete in 2015, if approved by voters.
Text of measure
Question on the ballot:
|“||The Board of Directors of the Tri-Cities Regional Public Facilities District adopted Resolution No. 2013-02, concerning construction and operation of an Aquatics Facility and Water Park. This proposition would authorize the District to impose a sales and use tax equal to one-tenth of one percent (0.1%), for the financing, design, construction, maintenance and operation of an indoor/outdoor regional aquatics facility and water park, all as provided in Resolution No. 2013-02. Should this proposition be:||”|
The text of the full resolution No. 2013-02 can be viewed here.
|Voting on Property|
|Not on ballot|
Arguments in Support
Supporters of the water park construction argued that Pasco, Kennewick and Richland need more and updated swimming facilities and that building one central facility to serve all three cities would be cheaper than repairing, upgrading and operating many separate facilities in each city. They also argued that the building with public money allows certain needs to be met that are not met in the private sector such as swim lessons, lap swimming, competition and therapy. Proponents pointed out as well that admission prices will be more affordable with the help of public funds.
Official arguments in favor of Proposition 1 can be found in the Franklin County Voter's Guide.
Arguments in opposition
Opponents to the construction of the water facility argued that one big water park is not the best way to serve three different cities and that the TCPFD should instead work to improve the pools that already exist in Pasco, Kennewick and Richland. They also argued that a water-park such as the one proposed by Proposition 1 should be built by the private sector not taxpayers. Critics were also concerned that the official Prop. 1 resolution did not require that all the funds from the tax increase be spent on the water park. They believed that this should have been made clear in the ballot text.
The official arguments in opposition can be found in the Franklin County Voter's Guide.
Below is the official explanatory statement for this measure found in the Franklin County voter's guide:
|“||This proposition authorizes an additional one-tenth of one percent sales tax (1¢ on a $10.00 purchase) in Kennewick, Pasco and Richland, for construction and operation of an indoor/outdoor aquatics facility and water park. The $35 million facility would be financed over 25 years and is proposed on 13 acres, north of I-182, west of Road 100 in Pasco. The facility is planned to include an indoor, 25y x 25m competition pool, diving and multi-use pool; an indoor water park with slides, and surf simulator; and an outdoor water park with wave pool, slides and river channel, subject to budget adjustments.||”|
About the facility
Beyond the swimming and water park areas, the planned construction would have also included a parking lot, changing rooms, viewing areas and concessions.
Planned indoor features:
- 25-meter-by-25-yard competition pool
- 1-meter and 3-meter diving boards
- a multipurpose lap
- warm-up and training pool
- a surf simulator
- multiple water slides
- an activity pool with volleyball and basketball
- a leisure pool with sprays and a play structure
- and a river channel.
Planned outdoor features:
- wave/leisure pool with sprays and a play structure
- multiple water slides
- a river channel
- a volleyball and sand play area.
Funding the facility
Construction and the sales tax
The estimated cost of construction was $35 million, which, on the approval of Proposition 1, would have been paid for through sales tax revenue bonds to be paid off over 25 years. The proposed 0.1% sales tax increase was estimated to raise $3.35 million per year, $2.5 million of which would have gone to paying down the construction debt and $250,000 to be used for administrative costs and an equipment reserve. The remaining $600,000 would have been used for operations costs not covered by admissions.
Admissions and operations
The cost of operating the facility was predicted to be about $3.4 million per year and the expected admissions and concessions revenue was estimated at $3 million per year. The remaining $400,000 shortfall would have been covered by part of the sales tax revenue from Proposition 1. The price of admissions was not determined yet but these estimates were made based on potentially charging $7 for kids and seniors, $8 for teens and $9 for adults, with alternative fees for summer and annual passes.
- Franklin Elections Department website
- Benton County Elections Department website
- Tri-City Public Facilities District website
- Franklin County Voter's Guide
- Q&A: If the aquatic center sales tax measure passes
- Tri-City Public Facilities District
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Tri-city Herald, "Fast Focus: Indoor pools in each city would be better," July 12, 2013
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