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Grandview library lease agreement in question

GRANDVIEW - The Grandview City Council had before it at last night's meeting a lease agreement for the new joint library and didn't approve it due to unanswered questions.

City Administrator Cus Arteaga said the agreement to lease the library from Yakima Valley Community College was required by the state, giving Grandview the ability to pay a $750,000 state loan via a lease over 20 years.

The proposed agreement would expire July 31, 2032.

The council members understood the need for the agreement, but had issues as to the city's interests after the expiration date.

"What happens in 2033?" questioned Councilman Jesse Palacios.

To further clarify the question Councilman Mike Bren questioned whether there are any guarantees the city will be able to continue using the library after 20 years.

Arteaga said, "The loan will be paid off and we will continue to operate the library."

Attorney Tony Menke said the city's financial obligation will change, but the city would be in a position to renegotiate with YVCC.

Bren again asked where in the agreement the city's rights in regard to the library property were noted.

"The college could say it no longer wants a library...what in the agreement perpetuates the use as a library," he asked.

Mayor Norm Childress pointed out there are no guarantees that anything will be in 20 years what it is now. He said changes in technology and the needs of the citizens may be different. He also said there aren't any guarantees for YVCC in the agreement regarding the library building's use in 20 years.

Mayor Pro Tem Pam Horner said she doesn't want Grandview to be in a position similar to the one it was in when the college wanted to take possession of the senior center.

"Mike's right. We need to protect ourselves," she said.

Bren said, "Twenty years goes by quickly and the (college) campus could be completely different."

Menke, understanding the council's concerns, said the city is currently relying on good faith, but said he could explore the possibility of adding language that would protect the interests of both the city of Grandview and the college.

He said he would need to speak with the Washington State Attorney General's office because the proposed lease agreement came from there.

Horner suggested language that would allow the city to pay $1 for every successive year following the expiration of the lease.

Councilwoman Joan Souders believed that might be a good idea, and Menke said it is something to explore in the interest of assuring the city its investment of $750,000 is secured.

Bren said, "We are talking about property...I don't want to put all the money into the building with no place to go."

Prior to the discussion Palacios had made the motion to approve the lease agreement. However, he withdrew that motion pending further inquiries regarding language that will protect the city's or the college's interests in the joint library.

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