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Grandview Council, administrators view D.C., Olympia trips as worthwhile

GRANDVIEW - In the past two weeks Grandview City Council members visited lawmakers in Washington, D.C. and Olympia for the purpose of attracting attention and funding for the city.

City Administrator Scott Staples provided an overview of the D.C. trip to the council and Mayor Norm Childress last night, stating the meeting with Sen. Maria Cantwell was encouraging. He said the representatives for the city met with Cantwell for approximately 20 minutes.

Discussed during that meeting was Grandview's downtown revitalization project and the vision for the project. Staples said he and City Council members Pam Horner and Jessie Palacios provided Cantwell with a packet containing information about the project.

The group also spoke to Cantwell about the economic impact that the project would have on the city.

"They (the U.S. Senate) were literally debating and voting on the stimulus package while we were there," said Staples. He said Cantwell, Sen. Patty Murray and Congressman Doc Hastings were provided with the 2010 budget for the downtown project.

Although he doesn't anticipate federal funding will be utilized for the project, Staples explained that funding might be necessary as a "back-up plan."

Horner and Palacios both felt the trip was productive. They said they realize there won't be much funding provided to Grandview as a result of the recently passed stimulus package, but their role as ambassadors for the city is a good one.

Palacios explained the contacts made while in Washington, D.C. serve to benefit the city in that the lawmakers now know more about Grandview.

Because Cantwell is familiar with the city, she provided some advice to the city leaders. "She made a statement saying we need to get people to come off the freeway," said Palacios.

He said to further promote awareness with the lawmakers, the group provided Murray and Cantwell with Grandview caps and pins.

The group also invited both senators to participate in the community parade later this year to help celebrate the community's centennial.

"Cantwell provided me with the sense that she sincerely wants to attend," said Palacios.

The trip to Olympia was informative, according to Grandview Councilwoman Jan McDonald.

Councilman Bill Moore agreed, stating the realization that state funding is low was made more evident as a result of their recent trip.

Childress traveled with the council members to visit several legislators and said he felt the trip provided him with insight. He said the group was provided information on the federal stimulus package and the city of Grandview is looking to receive approximately $400,000 in funding.

That funding, according to Staples, will be a result of the street and transportation provision in the package. He said the stimulus package provided Washington state with $341 million and $150 million will be provided to local municipalities. Thirty percent of the funding will be given to cities and counties.

The Yakima County Conference of Governments looked at projects on the horizon and the state requires funding be allocated to projects that can begin within 120 days.

Grandview has been looking at such a project at the corner of Euclid Road and West Fifth Street. Staples said it was decided that project is suited for the funding.

He said any funding remaining after projects have been decided upon is subject to further dispersal. The funding can be dispersed according to a project's regional priority and if the project can begin within the 120 days required by the state.

Staples said the city's downtown project meets both criteria and the Yakima County Conference of Governments has placed the downtown project in the position of top priority.

"There have already been projects eliminated because they could not meet the (date) requirements," noted Childress.

Staples said city leaders spoke with the state legislators about a number of bills to be introduced during the legislative session. Of concern was the possible passage of a bill requiring executive session meetings to be taped.

Staples said, "As of the last bulletin, there wasn't enough support to keep the bill moving." He said that is encouraging news, but until the bill is completely "dead" the city leaders will keep apprised as to its status.

He said the city is also keeping watch on a bill intended to reformulate the sales taxes paid throughout the state.

Overall, Grandview city leaders agreed the visit to Olympia proved insightful and they felt continually keeping the legislators aware of the community's needs is important.

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