Large commercial projects like Kenyon Zero Storage's cold storage facility have fueled taxable sales growth in Pasco.
The city saw nearly $222.5 million in taxable sales through the first quarter of this year compared with about $212.3 million through the same period last year. The 4.81-percent increase was the largest of the Tri-Cities and was only topped in the area by taxable sale increases in Prosser and unincorporated Franklin County.
Prosser jumped 9.86 percent from about $27.9 million to about $30.7 million, while unincorporated Franklin County increased 7.75 percent from $31.8 million to nearly $34.3 million.
Kenyon, of Grandview, purchased the last large parcel of land in the Pasco Processing Center in January with plans to build a roughly $12 million cold storage plant.
"There's a huge, major increase in industrial construction, and those construction projects are all buying material," said Dave McDonald, Pasco city planner, noting that construction of the cold storage facility is almost complete.
New industrial construction through the first half of 2013 was about $6.1 million, McDonald said, compared with about $21.4 million through the first half of this year.
"Even if you took that $12 million out of the $21 million, we're still ahead of last year significantly," McDonald said, referring to the Kenyon Zero Storage facility project.
Prosser Finance Director Regina Mauras partly attributed that city's nearly 10-percent increase in taxable sales to a $1 million remodeling project at Prosser Memorial Hospital, as well as expansions of area wineries.
"(The increase) is primarily because of construction improvements both privately and publicly," Mauras said.
Richland saw the second-highest increase in taxable sales in the Tri-Cities, increasing 2.28 percent from approximately $218.5 million in the first quarter of 2013 to about $223.5 million through the first three months of this year. Kennewick's taxable sales remained almost flat during the same time, increasing .07 percent from about $385.9 million to about $386.1 million.
Unincorporated Benton County experienced the largest decrease during the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of 2013, dropping 38.49 percent from about $84.5 million to about $51.97 million. Benton City recorded a 13.52 percent drop from $9.9 million to $8.6 million, and first-quarter taxable sales decreased 10.28 percent in West Richland, from $16.6 million to almost $14.9 million.
Benton County as a whole experienced a 3.71-percent decrease in first-quarter taxable sales in 2014 compared to 2013, while Franklin County saw a 4.58-percent increase.
Statewide, taxable sales through the first quarter of this year increased 4.81 percent over taxable sales through the first quarter of 2013, growing from about $26 billion to about $27.27 billion. Industry sectors recording the largest first-quarter upticks in taxable sales included public administration at 52.70 percent, personal service at 23.42 percent, e-commerce and mail order at 18.85 percent and information at 17.17 percent. The largest drop-off in taxable sales was recorded in the mining sector at 23.32 percent.
The retail trade sector recorded $12.3 billion in taxable sales through the first quarter of this year, leading all industries in the state.
-- Drew Foster: 509-582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org