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Union Gap Working The Budget to Make Ends Meet

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The City of Union Gap is trying to make ends meet and is considering cuts in different departments and increases in others.

However, one cost-cutter was already made official Tuesday night, when council voted unanimously to reduce city codes enforcement job from full-time to a part-time position.

KIMA has covered issues with codes enforcement in Union Gap repeatedly in this year. Beginning in January at a trailer park, where the owners faced several extensive code violations.

In July, tall weeds and grass were fire and safety concerns.

In August, neighbors were upset about foreclosed properties that weren’t being maintained.

Even with these issues, council decided the codes enforcement position doesn’t have to be full time.

“We fought pretty hard to get this to become a full-time position in the past,” said Dave Spurlock, Union Gap Development Director. “The city has gone some time without this position; we had to play some catch-up on a lot of code issues. And, even with having the position full-time, we still had code enforcement issues within our community.”

City Administrator, Chris Jensen, said the city decided to cut this particular job based on the anticipated amount of construction next year.

He says their big projects, like JCPenney and Cabellas, are over and they don’t need a full-time officer. He said they would consider bringing the job back if they find themselves in over their heads.

“I do believe that if we came back and had some dramatic changes and things were lacking, the council would make an informed decision at that time,” Jensen said.

Still, Spurlock questions the move.

“Depending on our work load going into next year and what level of construction we have, it could put some strain on not only myself but other members of the department,” Spurlock said. “These are career-type positions for us. It’s not a job, it’s a career.”

Groc Fyrre is the codes worker whose job was cut. We expected to see him at Tuesday night’s meeting; however he and Mayor Jim Lemon did not show up.

We reached out to Fyree late Tuesday night, but could not get in touch.

The Mayor told Action News he plans to veto this decision while he still can.

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