New home construction continues to lag behind in Yakima county. Rain isn't the only thing that halts construction. Our news partner KIMA Action News reports the economy plays a big role. In fact, building permits are down about 23 percent in the last year. Now, work is much harder to come by. When they do get calls it's usually for a renovation. County building official Dave Saunders said those permits aren't enough to sustain his department. Now there's empty desks where his employees once sat. Half the Building and Fire safety staff was laid off the last year.

The public services department even has a sign warning about delays.

Saunders doesn't deny the problems in his department, but says more building is the only way to fix the problem. The county said march will be the first time this year the department is going to break even in its budget. Losses stretch back all the way to September.

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