Pasco no longer may have to rely on grants for smaller economic development projects starting in 2016.
The city council unanimously approved transferring the city's 14 farm circles east of Highway 395 to the city's economic development fund Monday.
The city disposes of water that food processors use to wash vegetables through the city's process water reuse facility and onto the farm circles. Farmers rent the circles from the city.
The rental revenue will become available for economic development projects because of the fund ownership change.
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The city will pay $1.3 million to the city's utility fund so the circles can be moved to the economic development fund. The payment would be made over three years and would pay off some of the utility fund's outstanding debt.
Pasco Mayor Matt Watkins said the city will see some long-term benefits from the change. Pasco will be able to use rent from the farm circles for projects instead of having to rely on state and federal grants that may not exist because of budget cuts, he said.
That revenue is possible because Pasco officials made the decision in 1990 to buy the farm circles and create the Pasco Processing Center, Watkins said.
-- The council unanimously approved a $35,000 settlement with Winthrop Construction.
The city hired Winthrop Construction to build a wellhouse in the Desert Sunset neighborhood for about $100,000. Pasco City Manager Gary Crutchfield said the project was extended for several months past the original expiration date, and the company filed a claim for damages related to the delay.
The city was liable for some of the delay, Crutchfield said. The project started and finished when the city lacked a city engineer, and the city employee assigned to the project did not have enough experience for the role and was not checked enough, he said. The wellhouse was completed in September.
The settlement will be paid from the city's utility fund, Crutchfield said.
-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org