Benton County Fair Grounds rate hikes highlight faulty economic models on which taxpayer-funded event centers operate (any business owner can tell you that doubling/tripling prices will not similarly increase revenue, especially when you loose customers). Another example, $45 million was sought for new entertaining buildings at the Toyota Center while costly problems with existing facilities were concealed.
Taxpayer supported venues (Kennewick’s Toyota Center, Richland’s Reach, Franklin/Pasco TRAC, Kennewick’s Southridge Sports Complex, etc.), pilfer funds from basic services (e.g. public safety) in order to keep the doors open. Event revenue rarely covers operational costs. Reserves for anticipated capital improvement/maintenance are not established, veiling the actual burden of operating public event centers.
Agencies continue to seek sales tax increases to breathe life into existing and future civic ruins. Fortunately, the public has not approved taxes imposed on all, for amenities that benefit few. Pasco residents should keep these issues in mind when they are asked to increase taxes for an aquatics center with scenic views, nestled between I-82 and the gravel pit.
Taxpayer’s should not ensure that hockey teams have arenas, your neighbor has a venue for their daughter’s wedding, or Snoop Dogg has a stage from which to spew his filth.
Roger E. Lenk, Franklin County