Wenatchee Arena Tax Passes

The struggling Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee, Wash., may finally get some relief following the passage of a new bill to help pay down the venue’s debt.

The state’s House of Representatives voted Feb. 29 to pass SSB 5984, which will allow the city to impose a 0.2 percent sales tax increase.

Rep. Mike Armstrong of Wenatchee praised the measure in the leadup to vote.

“This bill is going to keep Wenatchee from going into bankruptcy,” he told the Wenatchee World.

The Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center Public Facilities District that oversees the venue defaulted on nearly $42 million in debt in December, much of which was tied to the construction of the facility.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission began an investigation into the default earlier this year, seeking documents related to the venue’s financial projections, the ability of the district and the city to finance the venue and the disclosure of such information during bond sales.

The facilities district has sought some additional help in the form of a 0.1 percent tax increase that would need approval from voters in the region during an upcoming election.

“We have a long way to go before this is through,” Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz told the World. “We can thank our partners around the region and thank legislators for helping us out. But now the real work begins.”

The facilities district was expected to meet March 2 to file paperwork with the county to get the 0.1 percent tax increase on the April 17 ballot, the paper reported.