Walla Walla City Council signs off on joint agency

The last piece of the puzzle is in place for the new city-county planning agency.

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WALLA WALLA -- A week after having serious concerns about whether the joint city-county planning agency would open on time, if ever, the City Council on Tuesday approved funding the agency.

The move was an almost complete turnaround from last week's Council meeting, where members and city staff voiced concerns after county commissioners voted 2-1 against moving forward with opening the Walla Walla Joint Community Development Agency to the public by Jan. 10.

But at a special Council meeting Tuesday night, City Attorney Tim Donaldson reported the joint agency will be ready to open to the public Jan. 10, and should be under budget for the first year of operation.

The projected figures had been around $1.4 million, and Donaldson said the first year of operation is now project to be closer to $1.36 million.

The news of being on time and under budget, coupled with the fact that earlier Tuesday, county commissioners unanimously approved their portion of the budget and stuck with the original Jan. 10 deadline, was enough to win unanimous approval from the Council for the city's portion of the budget.

All Council members were present.

The city will pay roughly 63 percent of the yearly costs, about $854,000 for 2011; the county will pay the remaining 37 percent, which will be roughly $505,000 for the first year.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

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