Fire and police jobs in danger under proposed budget - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fire and police jobs in danger under proposed budget

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YAKIMA, Wash- Cutting budgets is never easy and the City of Yakima is dealing with a $1 million dollar shortfall.  One firefighter and seven police jobs are at risk.  Those are just some of the vacant positions the city manager proposed to eliminate for the 2012 budget.

But now the city council needs to make some decisions.  Monday we explained that they were asked to set levels of service.  For example, how long it should take to get a building permit?  How many police officers should there be per resident?  How many failing streets are acceptable?

Today the council struggled to answer these questions.  Some including the mayor called on the city manager for more decision-making.   But Don Cooper says he wants to avoid the impression that he's running city hall.

"This is really a decision of the city council.  The city council is the representative of the people they should be telling the staff", says Cooper.

 This is the council's first time using this different model for handling the budget.  They haven't spelled out what the levels of service will be for every department, but they did set a baseline for law enforcement at least.  They don't want to lose those seven police jobs. 

The council hasn't come up with any solutions at this point, but the city manager says they made more progress than he expected at Tuesday's meeting.

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