The state Legislature has approved a measure clarifying the powers of the public agency building Spokane’s new arena and allowing its board members to receive small paychecks.
The Senate sent to Gov. Mike Lowry a bill on Sunday that will allow the Public Facilities District’s five board members to be paid up to $50 a meeting, though members may refuse the money.
The board meets two to three times a month, said Kris Mote, district executive director. Mote described the bill as a “housecleaning” measure.
Although the district was created in 1989, the attorney general and the state auditor advised that its powers be spelled out more explicitly in state law.
The bill also grants the district authority to sell bonds to finance future projects.
Lawmakers liked the Spokane model so much, they expanded the bill to let other counties set up facilities districts of their own. Some are eyeing the idea as a way to finance a new stadium for the Seattle Mariners.
“Our story in Spokane has certainly been a success story,” Mote said.
The Spokane Public Facilities District was created by the Legislature to build and operate the $50 million Veterans’ Memorial Arena, scheduled to open in September.
The district receives money from a voter-approved one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax and a 2 percent tax on hotel and motel rooms in Spokane County.