Sales tax rebate could boost proposed conference center

"A state statue that enables public facilities districts to take a rebate on county sales tax could prove to be a boon to a proposed Silverdale conference center and other local projects.It appears the convention center is eligible. We may be able to bring in enough money annually to pay off a 20-year bond to build a facility - that's if all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed, said Rick Smith, president of the board of the Kitsap Public Facilities District (PFD).Smith learned about the rebate recently when he read that a PFD in Everett was working to obtain rebate funds to build a special events center. While most PFD funding options depend on new voter-approved taxation, the agency might be eligible for a state sales tax rebate of .033 percent if it commences construction of a regional center before 2003, according to RCW 36.100. The sales tax in question already is levied by the state. The money simply would be redirected to the PFD, instead of proceeding to state coffers.To qualify for the rebate, state and local government must invest a minimum of $10 million into the project, including debt service costs. WestCoast hotels owner Joe Diamond has offered land near the chain's Silverdale outpost for the proposed center. He would provide the 1.5 acres of land if the county agrees to build the conference center. A similar project recently was completed near a WestCoast hotel in Wenatchee. The convergence of these factors has community members hopeful the project will get off the ground.I feel really optimistic, said Hank Mann-Sykes, a member of the Central Kitsap Community Council. There seems to be real enthusiasm about building, the elements seem to be there. The PFD may have funding and Joe Diamond may be willing to work with the county on his 1.5 acres.A meeting between the PFD and the community council is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, May 21, to continue discussion on this topic and other public facilities projects. The meeting will be at the WestCoast Silverdale Hotel. "

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