GRANDVIEW - Last night (Monday) the city of Grandview took the lead in adopting an interlocal agreement with the cities of Sunnyside and Prosser.
The Grandview City Council agreed to the contract after hearing from City Administrator Scott Staples, Public Works Director Cus Arteaga, City Attorney Jack Maxwell and the mayor pro-tems of both Prosser and Sunnyside, Randy Taylor and Jim Restucci.
Much of the agreement for use of equipment between the three communities formalizes what, according to Arteaga, has been informally practiced in the past. He said there have been instances when the city of Grandview has borrowed equipment from either Sunnyside or Prosser. An example provided was the need for a tar machine. "We borrowed Prosser's tar machine when they were not using it. One of our (Grandview) public works employees traveled there to familiarize himself with the machine and one of their employees came here," said Arteaga.
He said the exchange was beneficial to both cities because both employees received invaluable training.
Staples said the interlocal agreement is a tool that works much in the same way as the current agreement between the city and Grandview School District. He said that particular agreement eliminates usage fees when one or the other entity utilizes facilities.
The agreement with Sunnyside and Prosser, said Staples, is one that allows the municipalities to borrow equipment from one another without having to consult with City Council.
"The public works director from Sunnyside can call up Cus (Arteaga) and ask to borrow equipment from us and he will not need to consult with council," Maxwell agreed.
There are exceptions that will need council approval. Those include circumstances needing funding.
Staples added the proposed agreement for the three municipalities to share costs associated with contracting with the Humane Society of Central Washington would not be possible without the adoption of the interlocal agreement.
The animal control agreement is an example of a situation needing funding approval and as a result needing council approval.
Maxwell agreed and said animal control funds must be approved by City Council.
Councilman Mike Bren asked if there will be a way for the three cities to track the use of equipment and Staples assured him such use will be included in regular reports for the purpose of revisiting the agreement.
Mayor Norm Childress said he believes the agreement will be beneficial to the three communities and if at any time one of the three cities doesn't feel it is meeting expectations, those involved in developing the agreement can review areas of concern and amendments can be made to address issues that arise.
Because the interlocal agreement was adopted, Grandview was also able to adopt the contract between the cities of Sunnyside, Grandview and Prosser with the Humane Society of Central Washington.
The Humane Society will serve as animal control for the three cities and both Grandview and Sunnyside will pay $4,100 per month for those services. The animal control officer will be available to those two cities 16 hours each per week.
"The situation that exists today is none of the three cities can afford animal control," said Staples.
With the new agreement, the shared expense will alleviate that problem and the animal control officer position is flexible in that the person serving the three cities can be dispatched according to need. "For example, if the city of Grandview has a severe issue on a Tuesday and the officer is not in Grandview, the officer can leave Sunnyside and help with the problem," said Staples.
Grandview Police Chief Dave Charvet said he feels the agreement will be a win-win for all three cities involved.
In addition the three municipalities will be addressing issues such as common licensing and ordinances. Staple said Prosser's attorney, Charlie Bush, has agreed to review ordinances and licensing practices to "tweak" them for the purpose of developing standards for the animal control enforcement.
When asked where the animals will be housed once they are picked up, Charvet told council both Prosser and Grandview have facilities where animals can be kept on a temporary basis. This gives the owners of the animals a timeframe in which an animal can be claimed.
The Grandview City Council voted to approve both the interlocal agreement and the animal control agreement.