City council considers ways to finance plaza

City council considers ways to finance plaza

YAKIMA, Wash-- The plaza is a go. City council met today to discuss how they could go about paying for the downtown centerpiece, moving the project even further, but there are some who still aren't happy with the idea.

“There’s not gonna be any parking available around the area, and as far as I know, I think that's gonna be a big problem for a lot of people, especially if they’re going downtown,” said Jay Choi of Yakima.

Despite how some people may feel, the city is considering a number of options - one being going through a state program to get a lower interest rate.

“This results in much lower upfront financing costs for us, and it also lets us take advantage of the state's lower interest rate on debt. The only disadvantage to the local program is we can't pay off the debt early,” said Financial Services Director Tara Lewis.

The council is also thinking through the possibility of a private placement bond, which financial services Lewis says is flexible. Principle can be prepaid, payments can be doubled, and the bond can be paid off early.

City Manager Cliff Moore says council has yet to decide which path they'll choose, but he says he sees advantages in the options presented.

“From a city manager perspective, I’m looking at the budget, and so the overall interest rate would be lower in the local and that's attractive, and the taxable bonds however, the flexibility of managing the facility increases, and so that also has some attraction as well,” said Moore.

Terry Wilson of Yakima says he's excited for the project to come to fruition, and he'll make good use of it.

“I have an 8-year-old son. We could come down and hang out. I'm all about the farmer's markets, supporting local businesses,” said Yakima’s Terry Wilson.

Moore says the next steps for the plaza are to get the final estimate of the cost from engineers and to continue monitoring the pledged payments that come in.

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