Yakima City Council on Ongoing Budget Problems - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima City Council on Ongoing Budget Problems

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- New information tonight on Yakima's ongoing budget problems. 

Last month a budget forecast showed the city $4 million in the red by 2016. Tonight, the Yakima City Council members heard some proposals for places where the city could save money. 

They include cutting the airport fire service, not hiring back current vacant city positions, and even asking for a zero cost-of-living wage increase for city employees.

"$0.72 of every dollar we spend in the general fund relates to wages and benefits. So, we can't really tackle our financial issues unless we get the cooperation of our employees and our collective bargaining units in holding our costs down," Yakima's City Manager Tony O'Rourke believes.

 The city council will use these ideas and information to help guide their budget planning for the upcoming year. 

Council members also approved a city reorganization plan tonight. The city manager says the changes will help optimize certain city operations. 

The reorganization consolidates the city's water, irrigation, waste water, and engineering departments as well as establishes and funds two fire inspectors to be re-hired, since that position was terminated earlier this year.