Kennewick PFD moves toward sales tax on ballot

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldMay 30, 2013 

The Kennewick Public Facilities District Board continues to take steps to prepare a sales tax increase for the November ballot.

The one-tenth of 1 percent increase would pay for expansion of the Three Rivers Convention Center on West Grandridge Boulevard.

The board on Thursday approved the application form for the pro and con committees that handle writing the official statements for the voters pamphlet.

The board isn't expected to advertise for the committees for a while; it isn't far enough along in the process yet. The Kennewick City Council still must give its blessing to sending the sales tax increase to voters.

For now, "we want to make sure we get all of our ducks in a row as soon as possible and follow all the protocol," said Corey Pearson, executive director of the Three Rivers Campus.

The sales tax increase would add one penny to a $10 purchase in Kennewick, generating an estimated $1.3 million to $1.5 million a year. That money would be used to pay down bond debt incurred to expand the convention center.

The expansion would include an exhibit hall of up to 50,000 square feet.

Kennewick Public Facilities District officials have said the expansion is needed to maintain business, capture more events and keep the convention center competitive regionally.

If the sales tax measure ends up on the November ballot as planned, it won't be the only one Kennewick voters consider this year.

The Tri-Cities Regional Public Facilities District is seeking a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax increase to pay for an aquatics facility and water park. That regional attraction, planned for land off Sandifur Parkway in Pasco, is to include indoor and outdoor elements, from a competition pool to river channels to a surf simulator to slides.

The aquatics sales-tax increase will go before voters in Richland, Pasco and Kennewick in the August primary.

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