Yakima City Council accidentally kills street cut ordinance

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima City Council plans to try again after a mistake during a vote Tuesday night. It killed a proposal that's been in the works for months.

The ordinance would charge new fees for home construction projects and utility work. After the vote, a councilmember who voted no said she made a mistake.

Yakima City Council voted against an ordinance that would require private and public contractors and utilities to pay a fee for tearing up streets during their work. The money would be used to restore the streets before any damage was done.

"Our roads are critical to the community, but even more so to our economy," said Yakima City Manager Tony O'Rourke. "If we all work together, we can better protect and preserve that."

Kelly Coons is a contractor and the president of the Central Washington Homebuilders Association. Coons is glad the ordinance failed.

"How relieved are you about that?" KIMA asked.

"Well, greatly relieved other than the fact that it may go back to the vote there," said Coons.

Yes, it might come up for a vote again. That's because Councilmember Maureen Adkison indicated she accidentally voted no. Now, it will be brought to City Council in two weeks.

Coons says any fees generated by the ordinance would be passed on to customers.

"Ultimately it falls on the public," said Coons. "The public always ends up paying in the end. There's going to be higher fees, higher utility fees, higher costs on homes."

"Someone has to bear the cost of damaging our roads," said O'Rourke. "We don't think it solely should be on the backs of the taxpayers of the city of Yakima."

The ordinance would charge contractors and utility companies more than $4 for every square foot and three feet around the excavated area. There's also a $100 administrative fee and an inspection fee of $60 an hour. All of the fees were negotiated with contractors over six months.

To get all sides, KIMA called Maureen Adkison Wednesday to get an explanation for her vote. She told KIMA she wouldn't be available to talk with us or answer our questions over the phone.