The Spokane Public Facilities District was the greatest beneficiary of Spokane Valley’s decision to refinance about $7 million in outstanding bond debt earlier this month, and now city leaders are hoping for a piece of the savings.
Spokane Valley City Council members suggested this week that the regional agency could use a portion of its estimated $1.38 million reduction in long-term bond debt to update audio-visual equipment and other electronic sound and presentation systems at CenterPlace, the regional meeting center near Mirabeau Park. Other possible projects include new signage outside the meeting center, located at the Valley’s Mirabeau Park, or expanded playground opportunities.
“This is really just a discussion starter,” said City Manager Mike Jackson. “We need to sit down and talk with them.”
In 2003, the Valley issued $9.43 million in long-term bonds to raise money for two primary projects.
Most of the borrowed money, about $7 million, was used for construction of CenterPlace and is being repaid by the Public Facilities District, an independent state-authorized agency that manages the Spokane Veteran’s Arena and other regional convention and gathering places. About $5.65 million is still owing on the CenterPlace bonds and the refinancing is expected to shave payments by about $70,000 a year.
The decision to ask for a portion of the savings came after Councilman Ben Wick said he’d learned that the facilities district had shared some of its savings from a similar bond refinancing arrangement with Spokane County.
Jackson said he’s had some initial discussions with district officials and they’ve indicated they’re open to discussing it further. He said the district indicated it would prefer to limit discussions to potential projects benefiting CenterPlace.
Wick and Councilman Chuck Hafner said top priority should be given to upgrading and expanding the audio-visual capabilities of meeting rooms at CenterPlace. Other council members agreed.