I recommend a no vote on Proposition 1, the tax levy to protect Fairchild Air Force Base. Spokane County in March lost $1.45 million in a land deal with Spokane International Airport, ostensibly due to encroaching development. Similarly, the county purchased a racetrack in 2008 for $4.4 million, and spent more on improvements.
According to the Air Force’s KC-46A draft environmental impact statement, cost, not encroachment, appears to be the primary factor in selecting McConnell Air Force Base over Fairchild for the new mission: $32 million more in construction; 3.8 million square feet of facilities demolished or constructed at Fairchild vs. 431,000 square feet at McConnell.
According to the report, there would be minor impact from existing incompatible residential land use with the Northern Accident Potential Zone II, recommending Fairchild work with developers to adopt zoning regulations that ensure compatibility with the Air Force mission. Whereas residential use is incompatible, retail is not.
Given the county’s track record, they could spend millions now, then sell it to developers at a loss in the future. And since this tax levy may be adjusted per 84.55 RCW, it has the potential for unlimited annual increased tax levies in subsequent years.