Yakima will take a new approach to spending tax payer dollars - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima will take a new approach to spending tax payer dollars

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YAKIMA, Wash- Budget talks are underway at Yakima City Hall, but decisions will be made differently this time around.  The city faces a one million dollar shortfall for 2012, but we may not see the same sorts of cuts as we did last year.

In the 2011 budget did include cuts when the shortfall was twice as big, and there will almost certainly be cuts in the 2011 budget but there is one big difference: the man running the budget process.  Don Cooper the new city manager has a different approach to handling the city's finances.

He's called on the Yakima City Council to look at the process in terms of 'level of service'.  Basically, they will have to look at the specifics of what they want to provide, not just generalities of what percentage of the budget they want to spend where.   For example, how many officers per resident?  What will the response time be for fire fighters? Is it acceptable to have no city-run public pools?

"We have to determine whether or not we can pay for it and it's a question if you're not willing to pay for it then you have to start making priorities", says Cooper.

The city council will sit down with the budget committee Tuesday with the goal of outlining those levels of service.