Yakima customers will see an increase in garbage collection charges in the new year.
The refuse tax increase approved earlier this month will be passed to customers, the Yakima City Council decided at its meeting Tuesday.
With the increase, users with a 32-gallon cart would pay an additional $1.30 a month, or $15.60 each year. Users with a 96-gallon cart would pay an additional $1.50 a month, or $18 a year. Users with yard waste would pay an additional $1.15 a month, or $9.20 a year.
The tax increase will support the city fund to clean public spaces, coordinate neighborhood cleanup events, and support the Yakima Police Department in enforcing unlawful camping policies for people experiencing homelessness.
The ordinance passing the increase to customers was approved unanimously. Mayor Patricia Byers, Assistant Mayor Holly Cousens and Council members Kay Funk, Brad Hill, Soneya Lund and Eliana Macias attended the meeting. Councilmember Jason White was absent.
Byers said the increase is needed to support cleaning efforts and code enforcement.
Funk said she supported the ordinance but raised concerns about more expenses falling on Yakima’s low-income population.
The council unanimously approved a 1% property tax revenue increase Tuesday.
With the revenue increase, the collection rate will decrease from $2.53 per $1,000 to a projected $2.32 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. It is a decrease of $0.21 per $1,000.
As home valuations increase, the collection rate will decrease, Finance Director Jennifer Ferrer-Santa Ines said.
Byers said the property tax revenue goes to general operating funds. It will be put toward budget plans such as police and fire vehicle replacement and to support two domestic violence and violent crime analysts and a grant writer, Byers said.
Funk said the revenue will be needed to cover the cost of inflation.
“We have to pass it, but we’re not passing a tax increase,” Funk said. “This is a tax decrease.”
The city is allowed a 1% annual increase without going to voters.
Dulce Gutiérrez, a Yakima resident and former council member, asked the council to consider east Yakima capital investment projects in budget discussions.
The proposed capital budget said the city would prioritize existing capital assets over new facilities. The council will consider adopting the proposed budget at its Dec. 7 meeting.
Gutiérrez said prioritizing existing projects would exacerbate inequities across the city.
“While this approach is helpful in some circumstances, it effectively reinforces the lack of parity across different areas of town, and documented history shows communities of the east side of Yakima have not enjoyed the same level of asset investments as other areas of town,” she said.
In public comment, Gutiérrez said she supported the council’s priority to find funding for a pool in east Yakima.
The council authorized a contract for $750,000 in HOME funds to support the construction of a 16-unit farmworker affordable housing complex at 615 N. 16th Ave.
HOME funds are directed to the city by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to be put toward affordable housing projects.
The project is being developed by a division of Catholic Charities Housing Services and is estimated to cost $6 million.
The council also approved a number of appointments to city boards and committees: