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Mayor’s Blog: Something Has to Give if We Cut the Utility Tax

Yakima City Hall

Yakima City Council meetings can get heated, especially when the topic involves taxes. For some reason it’s tough to have a civil conversation and debate when dealing with an issue like that.

At last night’s meeting, Councilman Rick Ensey made a motion to lower the utility tax by 2 percent, which would cut average household bills by about $2 a month. That would reduce the city’s annual revenue by about $804,000, leaving a significant hole in the budget.

I’m not opposed to lowering taxes if we can first hear from the public and second agree as a council on all of the budget cuts that would be needed to be make up for that lost money. Thankfully, the council voted to have a public hearing and agree on all the cuts before the tax is lowered.

We as a body have been talking about a charter amendment for parks to the tune of $750,000. We have aging city pools, a North First Street revitalization project and a number of major issues on the horizon.

No matter what happens, we will see the city budget and possibly services take a hit if we let this go through, and before that happens I want to know what those services and cuts would be and allow the public a chance to sound off on the matter.

I’ll keep you posted as this progresses.

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