Elizabeth Alba

Elizabeth Alba is officially sworn into her position as Interim City Manager by Mayor Francisco Guerrero at Monday night’s council meeting.

The Sunnyside City Council unanimously voted to update their fee schedules when it comes to building in the city.

Previously fees were based off a structure from 1997 building codes, with valuations from 2008.

Some of the changes will be pretty dramatic with manufacture home permits tripling, swimming pool fees going up five times and a new commercial coach fee.

Council member Julia Hart spoke in favor of the raises noting that it was, “High time our rates caught up,” but wanted to make sure it was done comparably to other towns in the Lower Valley.

Interim City Manager Elizabeth Alba said that was the plan since if builders are looking to come to Sunnyside, “They want to be in the Valley,” so they won’t compare rates against similarly sized cities outside of the area.

During a workshop, Council member Mike Farmer expressed concern about the dramatic increases saying that he agrees they must increase but, “If we start laying a bunch of heavy fees on [building] maybe they’ll go someplace else.”

He later voted to approve the increase when shown the comparison between Lower Valley cities.

Deputy Mayor Dean Broersma said he wants Sunnyside to be known as easy to deal with but did admit that raises were probably needed and that it has been a long time.

Alba says this is a one-time occurrence and that she wants to build a structure within the city code where there are small, incremental increases on a yearly basis, so the changes aren’t as dramatic when they do need to be made.

In other council news: They rejected a memorandum of understanding with the Firefighters Union over updates to the contract after Governor Inslee’s mandate that public employees must vaccinated against COVID-19. The MOU would have included a bonus for getting the shot. The council members that voted against the deal said they wanted the word “mandated” to be removed. The city will rework the deal and submit it back to council. The City Council also agreed to make the Sunnyside Sun the Official City Newspaper for 2022.

Kevin Rounce can be reached at 509-837-4500 ext 110 or email krounce@sunnysidesun.com

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