Starting next week, the Yakima City Council will host budget review meetings at multiple locations as heads of various city departments discuss their projected needs and possible cuts.
Each department will discuss its service areas and propose spending reductions, said Randy Beehler, the city’s director of communications and public affairs.
“During its retreat last month, the City Council asked department heads to determine which service lines could be reduced based on a 10% reduction in each department’s budget,” Beehler said. “Department leaders will present their proposal for 10% across-the-board reductions to the council.”
The City Council is not expected to make any decisions about reductions during the budget review meetings, Beehler added. That process will not take place until budget discussions in the fall.
Budget review meetings are scheduled at 16.00 on the second and fourth Tuesday of the next three months as follows:
• Police (jail, services, animal control, parking), May 9, Yakima Convention and Event Center, Room G.
• Fire and SunComm (911 call center), May 23, Harman Center.
• Community Development, Planning, Codes, June 13, Washington Fruit Community Center.
• City Manager/Administration (includes Airport, Economic Development, IT, Clerk, Community Relations), June 27, Henry Beauchamp Community Center.
• Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Streets/Traffic, July 11, Yakima Convention and Event Center, Room G.
• Human Resources, Legal and Finance, Billing and Purchasing, July 25, Harman Center.
• Municipal Court, Aug. 8, Washington Fruit Community Center.
All sessions are open to the public and the meetings are recorded and viewable beginning at 7:00 PM the following day on Y-PAC, Charter Spectrum Channel 194. They will also be available the following day on Y-PAC’s website, https://videos.yakimawa.gov
Agendas will be available prior to each of the budget review meetings under the City Council tab on the city website, yakimawa.gov.
Rules for membership of Cykel/Pædagog
At the meeting on Tuesday 2 May, the city council adjusted the rules for who can sit on the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee.
In a 4-3 vote, the council changed the rules to allow one of the committee’s seven members to live outside the city limits (but within Yakima County), provided the person owns property or a business in Yakima.
Council members Soneya Lund, who requested the change, Eliana Macias, Danny Herrera and Mayor Janice Deccio supported the rule change.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to expand (the number of committee members) because it’s not a difficult committee to fill,” Lund said.
“There are people who have wanted to be on that (committee) who own property or a business in town and ride their bikes into town, but they live out of town,” she added. “There are others (committees and commissions) that allow members to live outside the city in specific cases.”
City Clerk Sonya Claar Tee and City Attorney Sara Watkins reported that the city’s Tree City USA Board, Yakima Arts Commission, Sustainable Yakima Committee and Planning Commission all allow members who live outside city limits, provided they own either property or a business in Yakima.
Councilman Matt Brown, who along with Patricia Myers and Holly Cousens voted against the rule change, said it could appear to the public that this change is to accommodate a specific bike/pedestrian committee member who travels outside of Yakima. He said he would prefer the rule change to take place after her term expires.
Claar Tee noted that the City Council considered bicycle and pedestrian committee membership changes in the fall of 2022 and then decided that the resident rule should remain to be consistent with most other boards and commissions.
Public hearing on car dealership
Also Tuesday, the City Council held another public hearing on a rezoning request for property at the northwest corner of South Fair Avenue and LaFollette Street.
In March, the council voted 5-2 to reject a hearing decision to rezone two residential lots at 1406 S. Fair Ave and 909 LaFollette St. to accommodate a proposed car dealership opposite Fiesta Foods.
Several council members were concerned that the area’s predominantly Latino residents were not given enough notice to comment on the case.
Planning Chief Joseph Calhoun said updated notices in English and Spanish were given to property owners within 300 feet of the site on April 14. Those notices identified the date, time and location of Tuesday night’s public hearing, along with how to provide comments and where to view additional information about the proposal.
No written testimony was received for the new public hearing, and none other than Tom Durant of PLSA Engineering, who represented the zoning applicants, Sarah and Rosa Harati, spoke at Tuesday’s meeting.
After concluding the public hearing, the council voted unanimously to direct staff to bring a decision on rezoning the two parcels back to a future meeting.