Joint agency start date in question

Walla Walla County commissioners voted today not to sign off on the city-county planning agency.

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WALLA WALLA - The new city-county planning agency may not start up next month as hoped.

Walla Walla County commissioners today voted to not move forward with the Jan. 10 start date for the agency, which will combine the county and city of Walla Walla planning departments.

The board split 2-1 on the issue, with Commissioners Greg Tompkins and Perry Dozier voting "yes" and Commissioner Gregg Loney saying "no".

The new entity will be called the Walla Walla Joint Community Development Agency.

Commissioners had been asked to make a decision on backing the January start date last week during a joint meeting with the City Council. At that time, Tompkins, who represents the county on the joint agency's board, said he couldn't support going ahead because he has too many unanswered questions about the agency's proposed budget and many other issues.

City Attorney Tim Donaldson had told commissioners he needed to know before Wednesday whether the new agency was still on track to open in January. That deadline was because the Council, which holds its last regular meeting of the year that night, would need to approve an interim zoning ordinance to pass the city's authority to the new agency.

Loney promised Donaldson the commissioners would discuss that issue at their workshop today in order to give the city an answer in time for the Council meeting.

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