As much as I would love an aquatics center for my family and the rest of the families of the Tri-City area, this proposal from the Tri-Cities Regional Public Facilities District (TCRPFD) is not the right way to do it. The reason they want to raise our sales tax to pay for the center is because it is estimated that it will lose $400,000 every year, and our sales tax hike is expected to cover that gap. It is irresponsible to build an amenity like this aquatics center if it can't even make enough money to be operational, on its own.
Also, this sales tax hike isn't temporary, it is permanent, so if this aquatics center is built and then flops, we will still be paying a higher sales tax. There needs to be a better way to fund this. The TCRPFD is on the right track, but it needs to go back to the drawing board and propose an aquatics center that at least breaks even every year.
Vote NO on the aquatic center and let's try to build a regional aquatic center that doesn't force a permanent tax hike and can pay for itself.
MATT MILLBAUER, Richland
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Aquatic center: Yes
Please vote yes for the aquatic center. An aquatic center is long overdue in our community. It has been thoroughly researched. I trust in the expertise of the board that this proposal is the best one for our community.
Swimming and water activities can provide much needed exercise for all ages and improve the health of our citizens as well as provide a fun family-centered activity. The center has the potential to improve the quality of life in the Tri-Cities. Please vote yes!
Aquatic center: No
I'm not in favor of the aquatic center proposal but not for the usual reasons. The regional public facilities district (PFD) did their due diligence and polled the community on which of several projects they would like to have. By the narrowest of margins, the aquatic center prevailed. But that's not what has me concerned.
In last Sunday's paper, Vic Epperly hit right on the crux of this proposal -- it's a sales tax that never goes away, not ever. In addition, section 3(c) doesn't restrict the PFD to just the aquatic center. Once it's under way -- should this monster be approved -- they're free to gallop off to their next pet project. And this end runaround our taxing system has a never-ending supply of pet projects.
OK, it's "only a penny" on a $10 purchase. But put that penny into a different context. Let's say the next car you buy costs $15,000. The PFD tax will add $15 to that cost and it'll be spent on something you may never use and might actually have voted against. Frankly, I'd rather squander that fifteen bucks on groceries.
Please join me in voting down this proposal until someone comes up with a better plan.
Aquatic center: Yes
As a retired school administrator and longtime resident of the Tri-Cities, I recognize the need for an aquatic center in the Tri-Cities. My perspective comes from three reference points: school athletics, as a senior citizen and as it relates to the economy of the Tri-Cities.
First, not all Tri-City schools have facilities that allow them to have a swim and dive team. The aquatic center would provide a facility that would allow all Tri-City and small outlying schools a place to practice and, especially, a place to hold swim meets.
Second, senior citizens would have a large-scale facility where they could exercise and receive water therapy offered by amenities like the lazy river and the wave pool all year around.
And lastly, the aquatic center would bring a boost to the Tri-City economy, attracting visitors -- young and old -- to the Tri-Cities and keeping money in the Tri-Cities instead of water parks in communities such as Moses Lake or Pendelton.
Please join me in showing your support by voting "yes" for the aquatic center.