State sales tax to go toward affordable housing

Source: The Wenatchee World

EAST WENATCHEE — Part of the sales and use tax the state collects within the city will help address affordable housing.

A law the Legislature passed this year created a revenue-sharing program for cities and counties. The East Wenatchee City Council on Tuesday voted to participate.

“The program doesn’t actually increase any sales tax that’s collected in the city or change any of the rates,” Community Development Director Lori Barnett told the council. “We basically just share it with the state.”

East Wenatchee is eligible to receive .0073% of the sales and use tax collected by the state, Barnett said, amounting to $34,640 annually. The program expires in 20 years.

Barnett said there are no specific plans yet, but the funding can be used for acquisition, construction or renovation of affordable housing facilities, or operations and maintenance costs of affordable housing programs. Because East Wenatchee has a population of less than 100,000, the money can also go toward rental assistance.

Funding must be used to help people whose income is at or below 60 percent of the city’s median income.

The city of Wenatchee distributes local homeless funds. The Chelan-Douglas Homeless Steering Committee guides the planning and funding distribution processes.

Barnett suggested to the council that the sales tax money could be added to the pot.