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Yakima City Council considers ways to raise money

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- Yakima City Council is prepping for 2018. They've had four preliminary study sessions where city departments have met to discuss how they plan to spend and raise money.

“We knew that this was going to be a very challenging budget year, and I’m very proud of the department directors all across the city who have been very careful about their expenditures in 2017 so that we can start the process of helping rebuild our fund balance,” said City Manager Cliff Moore.

Fund balance refers to the money the city has in reserve. Yakima's fund balance is around 8 million dollars, but the goal is to be at 12 million, which is the amount legally required for Yakima .

Assistant Mayor Carmen Mendez said the council has proposed a few ways to get to that goal.

“We're looking into charging for parking at 50 cents an hour as a possibility in the locations of the larger established downtown parking spaces. There are three city-owned parking spaces and we would like to be able to start charging,” said Mendez.

She said they've also suggested removing a utility tax cap for major electric users, which would allow the city to tax the users on their entire amount of usage, instead of the current six percent.

“That would give the city the flexibility to be able to start building our reserves, which is something by state law, we have to be at a certain percent, and we're currently not meeting it,” said Mendez.

The preliminary budget will be published online by November 1st, and there will be two opportunities at City Hall for public comment on December 5th and 12th.

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