The Wenatchee World



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League approves new Wenatchee hockey team

WENATCHEE — The North American Hockey League has approved the relocation of the Fresno Monsters to Wenatchee. The league sent an email to Town Toyota Center officials early this morning saying that its board of governors voted to allow the move. The arena’s board earlier this week to approved a new contract with the Fresno, Calif.-based team, but the move was contingent on the league’s approval.

Arena will go it alone starting next year

WENATCHEE — For the first time since it was built, the Town Toyota Center next year will not rely on the city of Wenatchee for any of its operations. “As of Jan. 1, it will be running as a stand-alone, independent public entity,” said Pete Fraley, the arena’s attorney.

Original arena bond investors relieved to get paid back

WENATCHEE — Jacqueline Chilcote got her investment back just in the knick of time. The 77-year-old Virginia woman invested $35,000 — what equated to a year’s worth of her living expenses — into the original Town Toyota Center’s short-term financing to help earn money for her mounting medical bills.

Firefighters’ jobs appear safe for now

Mayor Frank Kuntz and the firefighters’ union are closing in on a cost-cutting plan that should eliminate the need for layoffs in the department.

City won’t help with next interest payment on arena debt

WENATCHEE — The city of Wenatchee will not loan nearly $1 million to the Town Toyota Center to cover an upcoming interest payment on its outstanding debt. The City Council voted unanimously to decline a request sent by the arena’s governing board last week to loan the money to make the $967,765.63 payment on June 1.

Arena board plugs in voter-approved fee

WENATCHEE — The governing board of the Town Toyota Center voted Thursday to impose a regional 0.1 percent sales tax increase to help pay off the arena’s debt. Voters in nine local jurisdictions approved the tax increase in a special election last month.

Arena’s bottom line improves

WENATCHEE — The sold-out Kelly Clarkson concert has helped ease the financial strain on the Town Toyota Center, at least for now. The arena was expected to start losing money in March, mostly due to soaring legal bills connected to its nearly $42 million debt.

As expected, arena tax measure won biggest support in the Wenatchee Valley

WENATCHEE — A regional tax to support Town Toyota Center was strongly approved by voters in East Wenatchee and nearby Douglas County neighborhoods, official results released Friday show. But the support dropped off for voters living farther away from urban area. And it was narrowly rejected in Rock Island and Waterville.

Arena tax passes by 65 percent

WENATCHEE — With most of the ballots now counted, voters in much of Chelan and Douglas counties voted 2-to-1 in favor of a sales tax increase to rescue the Town Toyota Center. After more ballots were tallied Friday, the measure was passing with 65 percent approval in Chelan County and 63 percent approval in Douglas County.

Ballots due today in Town Toyota Center tax issue

WENATCHEE — After all the campaigning and debating, election day for the Town Toyota Center regional tax has arrived. Voters have until 8 p.m. today to either drop their ballots in an official election drop box or have it postmarked at the U.S. post office to weigh in the on the proposal to raise the sales tax in much of Chelan and Douglas counties to help pay off the arena’s debt.

We weigh the tax alternatives

Members of the Lake Chelan Lions Club were kind enough to host me for lunch Thursday and engage in a discussion of Proposition 1, which would add a tenth of a percent sales tax and stop the default on bonds sold to finance Town Toyota Center. Former Chelan Mayor Jay Witherbee gave his reasons for opposing the measure and I, of course, made the case for supporting it.

East Wenatchee council endorses arena tax

EAST WENATCHEE — The East Wenatchee City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to endorse a regional tax effort for Town Toyota Center, though the action has no official purpose. “Whether we vote on it tonight or not, I don’t think it will make a difference,” Councilman Wayne Barnhart said. “But I think we ought to vote in favor of it because I think it’s in the best interest of the majority of citizens of East Wenatchee.”

Vote yes, and the end will begin

Say we vote yes for Proposition 1, then what? Nothing glamorous, that’s certain. We’re voting to impose a 0.1 percent sales tax on ourselves and our customers, not to build big beautiful arena or some other great civic project, but to fend off financial calamity and all the complications that result from what we’ve already done. That makes this tax vote different.

Remember just what’s at stake here

Today, the ballots for Proposition 1 were expected to be sent out to voters throughout much of Chelan and Douglas counties. Voters will be deciding whether to impose a tiny one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax increase to prevent a default on the bonds sold to finance the Town Toyota Center. That amounts to only 10 cents on a $100 purchase. In my view, this is the most important vote to be taken in years because of the implications for our economy. We have an opportunity to step up and ...