Opinion

One Community. One Mission. A Shared Future

Franklin County and the city of Pasco should collaborate to create a community discussion that results in a mission and vision for the next 20 years at the TRAC and surrounding public lands (TRAC Complex). That discussion should include lessons learned, opportunities missed and things we love about the complex as it exists today. The information would be used to determine how the county and city would structure the ownership, funding sources and oversight to support the mission.

Why now? The facility is coming off intense scrutiny, top management has departed and additional operational changes will be needed as identified in the performance audit completed by CliftonLarsonAllen. The presentation of the performance audit is scheduled to be discussed April 29 at the Franklin County Commission meeting.

The audit identifies critical areas that need improvement, and provides recommended policies and reporting procedures that can be used to improve operational efficiencies. If followed, the recommendations will allow for better tracking of the performance and operation of the facility by the governing bodies charged with its oversight. Now is the time for us to take TRAC to the “next level” operationally. To do that, we need to have a clear mission and vision for TRAC.

The community has grown and changed a lot in 20 years. A local business owner summed it up well when he said, “We should take a moment to celebrate ‘mission accomplished’ and then decide what’s next.” After 20 years, the TRAC has achieved its biggest goal, anchoring the development of the Road 68 off-ramp area. Those of us who have been around since 1995 can attest to that. The question now is, with the population growth, increased traffic and the explosion of business in the area, what should the next 20 years look like? The process needs community members who appreciate the current mix of events and uses and those that want to see different uses considered. The city of Pasco recently discussed the idea of building a new civic center next door. The Tri-Cities Regional PFD ballot measure for a regional pool passed in Pasco. Those two points illustrate that our community is looking to the future and is ready to engage in the community discussion.

The current structure of ownership, funding and oversight delivered on the initial mission. We have to answer the question on whether it is the right combination for the next 20 years.

As your county auditor, I believe that a clear mission is the basis for developing the policies, procedures and reporting structure that lead to good controls in government operations. Good controls lead to accountable, efficient government.

The best possible outcome is for the county and city to collaborate on the mission and vision process. To view their separate interests in the TRAC through the eyes of the same citizen they both represent. If we, as one community, can view the TRAC and its surrounding public lands with one mission, the county and city can create a shared future that benefits all of us for another 20 years. I look forward to the community discussion.

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