Pasco residents to vote on upcoming aquatic center proposal, sales tax increase

PASCO, Wash. — Pasco city residents will have the opportunity to vote on a newly proposed aquatic center next week.

On Monday, the Pasco city council passed a resolution with a 5 – 2 vote supporting the Public Facility District’s (PFD) efforts for an upcoming April 26th ballot measure.

That measure is seeking public approval on a two-tenths of a 1% sales tax increase, equivalent to paying two cents for every $10 dollars that are spent within city limits.

Those funds raised would go toward paying off a bond to construct the facility.

ORIGINAL STORY: Pasco City Council approves aquatic center ballot measure

“The PFD passed their own resolution on February 15th to put it on the ballot with Franklin County so the city council’s efforts, because we are separate agencies, passed their resolution supporting the efforts to bring an aquatic center to Pasco,” said Administrative and Community Services Director Zach Ratkai.

Ratkai said the center would be open year-round and feature both indoor and outdoor pools and waterslides.

But this isn’t the first time the center has been a topic of debate in the Tri-Cities.

Back in 2013, nearly 60% of Pasco residents voted to approve the facility but a regional vote shot down the initiative.

Now nearly 10 years later, officials like Mayor Pro-Tem Craig Maloney, said it’s a chance for a change.

“This is the single most discussed item that happens when I’m talking to my voters and my residents in my district,” Maloney said during Monday’s council meeting. “I believe that the voters in Pasco have made clear in their position that they think this is important and that they think this is worth investing their dollars in.”

Currently, Pasco has the Memorial Aquatic Center but Ratkai said it’s only open in the summer.

“The nearest similar facility you see is in Moses Lake or down in Hermiston, Oregon,” Ratkai said.

Maloney added that “this is our opportunity as a city to say yes.”

“A lot of people in the city of Pasco simply ask the question, ‘why not us?’ Why don’t we have the nice things in the Tri-Cities?” Maloney said.

However, not everyone agrees. Officials said it will all come down to the vote on April 26th.

To view the council meeting, click here.

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