PASCO -- Pasco may be closer to securing space for its municipal court.
City Manager Gary Crutchfield told the Pasco City Council on Monday that a few details remain to be worked out between the city and Franklin County before a new lease can be approved.
Pasco has asked for an extension of its 40-year lease for space in the county courthouse because it runs out in May 2012 and building new court space would take more time than that.
Crutchfield said the cost of the lease still needs to be determined.
But since the city paid for the court space to be built during the 1972 remodel of the county public safety building, he said the price should be less than market rate.
The city and county have indicated a desire to keep municipal court at the county courthouse so it remains close to the county jail. If the court were moved, transporting prisoners to and from court would become an added expense.
Crutchfield said the city needed to make sure the extension would give enough time for the city to build a new municipal court.
The lease under discussion would give the city a three-year rolling lease extension, so that the county would need to give the city a three-year notice before the city would have to move its court.
Crutchfield said he's hopeful that when the county expands its jail, the city will be able to build new municipal court space.
A 0.3 percent sales tax measure that would have funded both projects and a Pasco police station failed during the 2009 elections. Franklin County commissioners decided not to ask for a similar measure for the third time in 2010 because of the economy.
* Pasco may form a public corporation to take over downtown revitalization efforts in December.
Pasco is considering creating a public development authority, where the council would determine the charter, appoint board members and vote on the corporation's suggested plan of action.
Crutchfield said creating the corporation and approving its charter Dec. 20 would allow the council to appoint the board members in January and have the foundation in place by March.
The Pasco Farmers Market begins in May, and the corporate structure would need to be ready before then, he said.
The corporation would cost the city $94,000 a year, including a director. About $34,000 would come from operating the Pasco Specialty Kitchen and Pasco Farmers Market.
The city could use its industrial development fund to pay the remaining $60,000 a year, Crutchfield said.
The council made finding the best way to launch an economic boost in downtown one of its goals for 2010-11. In the past, the city has taken a hands-off approach.
The Pasco Downtown Development Association, a volunteer group of business owners and leaders, likely will dissolve as a result of the city's proposed actions.