GRANDVIEW - Wal-Mart plans to increase the number of jobs at its Grandview food distribution center, according to City Administrator Jim Sewell.
Sewell said the center will grow from 600 employees to about 750 by April 2006. The jobs are full-time with benefits, he said.
Wal-Mart plans to start filling the jobs in December.
"It's not just important to Grandview," he said. "It's important to the entire valley."
Sewell said the increase in jobs will help to increase the amount of disposible income people have, and will help increase sales tax revenue, not only from purchases made by those working at the center, but by those who build the homes center employees may rent or purchase.
Sewell said the city expects to see population growth of about 4.5 percent, one of the highest growth rates in the Yakima Valley, and an increase in the number of new homes built.
About 90 new homes, including houses and apartments were built in 2004, he said. This year Sewell said 120 new homes will be built.
The city will also bring in an extra $30,000 in property taxes in the future as a result.
Tax revenue will also give the city a chance to provide better services to its residents, Sewell said.
He said home ownership could increase as well because young families looking for starter homes will have more to choose from and more money to spend on a house.
That's important to Grandview Mayor Norm Childress. He said the jobs created by the center help people stay in the valley if they're just out of high school or maybe have gone to community college.
Most people who work at the center live in the communities of Prosser, Sunnyside and Grandview, Childress said, and Wal-Mart has done a good job in hiring people that live in the area.
He said it's been nice for people who, in the past, had to commute to Yakima or the Tri-Cities for work.
The new jobs coupled with the chance to keep Lower Valley residents closer to home is something Childress admitted he's excited about.
"Any expansion out there is just terrific," he said.