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Public Facilities Districts (PFDs)


This page provides information on the formation and operation of Public Facilities Districts. The existing districts are listed by county. For historical information on this topic, see the Bellingham Public Facilities District's document, Public Facilities Districts in the State of Washington: A History, updated April 2004 and a companion Summary, updated July 2006. There is also a membership organization, the Association of Washington Public Facilities Districts which provides summary information on its member districts.

In December 2011, the Greater Wenatchee PFD was unable to refinance short-term bonds issued in 2008 and it defaulted on its obligation. Legislation was passed during the 2012 session to allow an anchor Public Facilities District that has defaulted on debt to impose a councilmanic sales tax of two-tenths of one percent for the purpose of refinancing the debt in addition to any sales tax imposed by the PFD. See summary of the 2012 legislation below.

About Public Facilities Districts

Public facilities districts (PFDs) are municipal corporations with independent taxing authority and are taxing districts under the state constitution. There are two enabling statutes, Ch. 36.100 RCW for counties and Ch. 35.57 RCW for cities, towns, and contiguous groups of cities and towns. A PFD may charge fees for the use of its facilities, levy an admissions tax not exceeding five percent, and impose a vehicle parking tax not exceeding 10 percent. In addition to these revenue sources, state law allows PFDs to impose two different types of sales and use taxes. Public facilities districts may impose a local sales and use tax of up to 0.033 percent to finance regional centers and with voter approval, PFDs may also impose a local sales and use tax up to 0.2 percent to finance, design, construct, remodel, maintain, or operate public facilities. For additional discussion see, City and County Options for Creative Financing: PFDs, PDAs and 501(c)(3)s,by Jay Reich and Stacey Crawshaw-Lewis, Attorneys, Preston Gates Ellis, Washington Economic Development Association’s Spring Conference, April 15-16, 2003.

In 2009, SHB 1692 (Laws of 2009, ch. 167), was passed which requires a public facilities district to identify, in its annual budget, proposed expenditures for promotional activities and to adopt rules governing promotional hosting.

The Laws of 2012, ch. 4 (SB 5984), effective March 1, 2012, amends Ch. 35.57 RCW. SB 5984 was introduced in response to the Wenatchee Public Facilities District bond default. It would require an independent financial feasibility review to be performed prior to any of the following events: the formation of a public facilities district, the issuance of any indebtedness by a public facilities district, or the long-term lease, purchase, or development of a facility. See Legislative Summary in House Bill Report 5984 . Also see Public Facilities District Feasibility Review, Washington State Department of Commerce.

List of Public Facilities Districts by County

Asotin County

Asotin Public Facilities District

Benton County

Kennewick Public Facilities District

Richland Facilities District

Benton and Franklin County

Tri Cities Regional Public Facilities District

The district was formed through an interlocal agreement between Richland, Pasco and Kennewick to assist in the financing, construction and operation and maintenance of a regional aquatic facility and water park.

Chelan and Douglas County

Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center Public Facilities District

See Legislative Summary of Laws of 2012, ch. 4 (SSB 5984) in the Final Bill Report SSB 5984 regarding the Greater Wenatchee Public Facilities District December 31, 2011 bond default.

Pursuant to the 2012 legislation, Proposition 1 was placed before the district's voters at the April 17, 2012 special election. The ballot title was as follows: Proposition 1, Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center Public Facilities District Sales and Use Tax For Public Facilities District.

The Board of Directors of the Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center Public Facilities District adopted Resolution No. 2012-02, concerning a proposition to finance the Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center. This proposition would authorize the District to impose a sales and use tax equal to one-tenth of one percent (0.1%), for support of the operations of the Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center and to refinance existing debt, all as provided in Resolution No. 2012-02. This sales and use tax must terminate one year after such refinancing debt is repaid. Should this proposition be approved?
The proposition was approved by 64.55% yes votes.

In an October 2012 Washington Supreme Court decision, In re Bond Issuance of Greater Wenatchee Reg'l Events Center, the Court held that a "contingent loan agreement" had to be considered in determining whether the city had exceeded its debt limit. Wenatchee had agreed to make debt payments on behalf of a public facilities district, if the district failed to do so. Even though the debt was contingent, it was essentially a guaranty placing risk on the city and its taxpayers; to be valid, the agreement needed to be approved by a vote of the people
The Greater Wenatchee Public Facilities District was formed via an interlocal agreement between Chelan and Douglas Counties, the Cities of Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Chelan, Cashmere, Entiat, and Rock Island, and the Town of Waterville.

Clark County

Clark County Public Facilities District

Vancouver Public Facilities District

Last Modified: September 24, 2015