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Grandview City Council approves additional $31,000 in service cuts

GRANDVIEW - Grandview residents could begin seeing more stray animals on their streets and the city will be a little less festive during the holidays thanks to budget cuts authorized by the Grandview City Council Tuesday night at a special meeting.

Looking to trim $91,000 from the 2008 budget, city staff presented council with a proposal that would have surpassed that amount by $5,000.

Earlier this summer council agreed to not fill three seasonal positions, scale back summer playground programs and eliminate the annual soap box derby for a savings of $25,000.

At last night's meeting council agreed to eliminate downtown holiday decorations and eliminated the animal control officer position for a further $31,000 in cuts.

Council can choose to save another $8,800 if the city swimming pool is closed Aug. 1 and another $2,500 if the museum is closed on Aug. 1, two and a half months early.

Councilman Mike Bren asked council to hold off on the pool and museum decisions until the next council meeting on Monday, July 21. Bren expressed hope the museum could remain open until after the fair, community picnic and reunions are finished sometime in the middle of August.

City staff also recommended restricting graffiti removal to city property only, which would have saved another $20,000.

Both Bren and councilman Jesse Palicios opposed that idea with Bren saying he would rather see the park grass go brown than restrict the graffiti removal program.

He was able to successfully argue to keep the graffiti program intact.

As for animal control, Grandview Police Chief Dave Charvet said his department will respond to vicious dogs, animal bites and nuisance calls. An example of a nuisance call would be a dog barking at night.

But, Charvet said, police will not respond to complaints of stray dogs on private property or regarding sick animals will not be responded to.

City staff also found just over $9,000 in revenues. The Grandview School District will increase its share of the contract for a student resource officer, giving the city an extra $6,140. The school district will also reimburse the city for the cost of programs the city offers to students. That will add another $3,000 to city coffers.

If the cuts to the pool and museum are approved this Monday then the city will have identified $76,000 in cuts leaving Grandview just $15,000 short of the goal of $91,000. Grandview Mayor Norm Childress said the city would probably just eat that loss for this year instead of finding additional cuts.

The city will have to identify more cuts for the 2009 budget and current ideas range from selling parks in Grandview, reducing recreation staff, selling the city cemetery and annexing the city library into the Yakima Valley Regional Library system.

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