Wash. Rules On Arena Debt

The city of Wenatchee, Wash.’s Town Toyota Center dodged a bullet last year by helping to secure a regional sales tax increase to back nearly $42 million in bonds for the building, according to a new Supreme Court decision in the state.

The court recently upheld a town judge’s ruling that the city could not guarantee the bonds on its own without exceeding its constitutional debt load, according to the Wenatchee World.

In a majority opinion obtained by the paper, Justice Charlie Wiggins wrote, “we conclude that this case implicates the very concerns that prompted our framers to enact limits on municipal debt in the first place. … The city could enter into the (bond agreement) if approved by a vote of the people, but not without a popular vote.” 
The 5,000-capacity venue Town Toyota Center defaulted on its debt last year and began looking for ways to cover the cost.
City and venue officials coordinated with the state legislature to get a sales tax issue on the ballot, and voters passed the measure in April. Long-term bonds for the building went on sale in September.