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Library, parks, city clerk holding 2010 budget to 2009 numbers

GRANDVIEW - With little changes anticipated at Bleyhl Community Library, the city clerk's office and with parks and recreation programs, the Grandview City Council Monday heard much of the 2010 budgets will remain as they were in 2009 in those three areas.

Library Director Linda Dunham was the first to speak about her budget, stating there isn't a lot that can be cut from the library budget. If anything, she said, the $900 budgeted for travel could be taken from her budget.

"The customers at the library don't care much whether or not we get training," she explained, stating a cut in travel expenses would also allow another $400 to be cut out of her budget.

Dunham told the council the unknowns regarding her budget are associated with the hiring of her successor. She retires at the end of 2009 and the city is currently in the process of finding a library director to replace her.

Budgeted is more than $97,000 for regular salaries and wages. Dunham estimated more than $16,000 will be saved with her departure.

She also noted the benefits figures may change from her estimates, depending on the number of dependents the new librarian has in his or her family.

Dunham explained each line in her budget, holding to similar figures from 2009, with few exceptions.

The library's total budget is estimated at just shy of $215,000 for 2010.

Mike Carpenter, director of Grandview Parks and Recreation, also anticipates much of his budget will remain similar to 2009 figures. He said there will be approximately $11,000 saved in the Carl L. Stevens Senior Center budget.

"The college (Yakima Valley Community College) has taken over utilities, janitorial and maintenance of the senior center," he explained.

In the area of recreation, too, Carpenter forecasts little change. He said the department "relies heavily on the community jobs program," keeping its expenditures at a minimum.

As for the city pool, Carpenter said there will be a few changes. To meet federal requirements an additional $2,000 has been allocated for the installation of new drain covers. Also, chlorine tablets rather than chlorine gas will be used to reduce liability exposure.

"I believe the insurance authority and the fire department will be pleased with the changes," Carpenter told City Council.

City Clerk Anita Palacios spoke to the council, stating her 2010 estimated budget is much like 2009.

She said reductions can be made in the area of travel, but otherwise many of her budgeted items are not terribly flexible.

Palacios' budget includes District Court expenses, which the city is saving money through the consolidated services with Yakima County.

The court services is budgeted just under $200,000, including indigent defense attorney fees.

The clerk's office is in charge of handling all business and construction licenses, as well as official records. Because of this, Palacios noted her communications budget is $2,000.

City Treasurer John Myers, too, spoke to the Grandview City Council Monday regarding his budget.

"The primary change will be the cessation of the Centennial celebrations," he told the council, noting $4,400 was reduced from the community support services, which is part of the city's current expense fund.

Discussed, too, is the more than $30,000 paid to Prosser Memorial Hospital for ambulance services. Myers said 2010 is the final year the city is obligated to pay for the service under the current agreement.

Councilman Mike Bren spoke to the matter, asking if the hospital has produced a promised report of response times. "We still haven't seen one and we were supposed to in June," he said.

City Administrator Scott Staples spoke to the matter and said he has called the agency two times, but has yet to see results. He told the council he would pursue the report further.

"In the meantime, maybe we should hold on to our check," Bren suggested, stating the hospital is not fulfilling its end of the agreement with Grandview.

Moving on to the current expense fund, Myers told council the city has been balancing the street fund via a transfer of $75,000.

"All property taxes go into the current expense fund and we are using a portion of those taxes for the street fund," he explained.

The current expense fund budget for 2010, however, remains at just more than $5.6 million.

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