Northwest NEWS

November 29, 1999

Front Page

Labor talks stalled due to passage of I-695

by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor

   DUVALL--One immediate effect of the passage of I-695 to the city of Duvall has been the freezing of ongoing labor negotiations with its public works and police unions.

   Police Chief Glenn Merryman said last week that the city had been discussing a wide range of labor issues, including benefits, salaries, and equipment. "We can't go any farther because we are still working on numbers," he said. "We are meeting daily. But until we get more information, we won't be ready to firm up anything."

   City Administrator Jim Bourasa said the city stands to lose up to $438,000 from next year's budget.

   Merryman said the city departments will have to make their adjustments based on the effects of the amount of loss from the MVET (motor vehicle excise tax) and sales tax equalization and make their recommendations to the City Council. The City Council will then have to make decisions on how to prioritize funds and send those recommendations back to the individual departments.

   "We are down to looking at pennies," he said. "On the plus side, we are having to look at numbers a lot closer than ever before. We have never been considered affluent--it has always been a struggle financially. Now we are looking at numbers again and again before we can submit anything to the City Council. And it doesn't make any sense to go to the unions without knowing where we stand.

   "I am finding, though, that I have an optimistic attitude," he said. "I think we will find a way to get through this."