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Frustration mounts as Wenatchee City Council Ponders City's Financial Future

May 23, 2011

Wenatchee City Council members were visibly distraught following last Thursday’s work session

where discussions continued over the City’s financial future. The discussion on how to further involve

community and business leaders in deciding how to cut expenses or raise taxes to cover Town Toyota Center debt

payments resulted in no clear answers. The city has solicited wider public input on how the city’s budget

will be affected by the arena debt. The City has been paying $1.6 million a year for the past two years to cover

the majority of the arena’s debt payments. The City Council has said it will likely sign a new loan

agreement to continue paying the debt when the current short-term, interest-only bonds are refinanced later this

year. When that happens, the city could be paying between $2 million and $3 million a year toward the debt.

Community leaders told the council last week that they need more information from the city before they can make

any recommendations on city financial issues. Wenatchee Bureau Chief Steve Hair talked to Mayor Johnson after

Thursday’s work session . . Some City Council members want to give the group specific tasks, such as

exploring the idea of raising the sales tax or creating a metropolitan parks districts, while other members wanted

to give the group free reign.

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