Kennewick to get money back from downtown group

By Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 16, 2013 

The city of Kennewick will get reimbursed for 75 percent of what it contributes to the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership this year.

City Manager Marie Mosley explained to the Kennewick City Council on Tuesday that with the state's Main Street Tax Credit program, the city will get a discount on the business and occupation tax it pays the state for the city water and sewer utility.

The tax credit will cover $28,000 of the $37,500 the city will contribute to the partnership during 2013, Mosley said.

Part of the goal of the last contract the city had with the partnership was to reduce the partnership's reliance on city funding, Mosley said.

The partnership has grown its membership in the past year.

The tax credit also helps decrease the amount of general city funding used to support the partnership, she said. In the past, the city has given the partnership about $50,000 a year, and this year, it will be closer to $9,400, Mosley said.

Mosley said they also are looking at in-kind contributions that could help the partnership, such as having a jail crew cleanup downtown.

Kennewick Mayor Steve Young said the council still wants to hear some key goals for the partnership for 2013.

The city made a decision some time ago that it was important to support the partnership's efforts because of how integral the downtown area is to the entire city, Young said.

It's important to have downtown be aesthetically pleasing, safe and economically viable, he said.

The original idea was to support the partnership for a while and then let businesses step in to take over that support, Young said. It's time for that transition to happen, he said.

Those businesses that do may qualify for the Main Street Tax Credit program, he said. That's something businesses would need to check with their accountants about, officials said.

Also Tuesday:

w The council unanimously approved a zone change for two acres near Clearwater Avenue that would allow Great Western Partners to build up to 26 apartments.

The maximum building height for the properties at 5809 and 5901 West Clearwater Avenue would be 35 feet, which generally means a two-story building, city officials have said.

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