Nealey’s public facilities district bill sent to the governor

Measure clarifies previous law; would allow Tri-Cities to move ahead with aquatics center and other regional projects


The House of Representatives has given final approval and sent to the governor a bill that clears the way for the Tri-Cities to create a regional public facilities district (PFD) which could build a regional aquatic center, a performing arts center, or other special events centers.

Rep. Terry Nealey introduced House Bill 2525 to fix a technical problem in a law that passed last year which was intended to allow the creation of regional PFDs.

“Richland, Pasco and Kennewick all agreed this is important legislation because it gives the municipalities within the Tri-City area the flexibility to form a regional public facilities district and pool their resources to build facilities, such as an aquatic center and other public event facilities. The bill went through last year, but it didn’t quite get the job done, so this year we fixed it,” said Nealey, R-Dayton.

Under the bill, new multi-city public facilities district may only be created by a group of at least three contiguous cities with a combined population of at least 160,000, each of which must have already established a public facilities district. In effect, that language limits qualification of the measure to the Tri-Cities. The measure allows for the multi-city public facilities district to construct regional centers and special events centers in addition to recreational facilities.

Nealey said the measure could help to bring more jobs to the Tri-Cities.

“We’ve been fortunate that the economy has been fairly good in Southeast Washington, but this could really be an economic boost for the Tri-Cities. Projects from the public facilities districts will create new jobs and provide additional recreational opportunities that will attract people from throughout the region,” he said.

The measure passed the House on Tuesday, 94-1. As a freshman lawmaker, it’s Nealey’s first bill to make it all the way through the Legislature.

“I’m very pleased that this bill has gained the nod of approval from both the House and the Senate,” added Nealey. “It was quite a process, because we thought the measure was dead after the first committee cutoff. But then it was resurrected and brought back to the floor for a vote. I appreciate Senator Jerome Delvin’s help in moving it through the Senate. Now it’s heading to the governor for her signature.”

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Washington State House Republican Communications