Sunnyside saves $31,000 by negotiating

A debt the Teamsters Union said the City of Sunnyside owed to the Teamster’s Trust Fund was reduced by more than $31,000 at the Sunnyside City Council meeting Monday night.

Mayor Julia Hart said Tuesday, the issue that almost made it to court was resolved by the efforts of Finance Director Elizabeth Alba.

“She got together with the Teamsters and worked through the process back-tracking, and resolved it,” Hart said.

Due to a conflict in the timing of billing and paying in January regarding a payment to the Washington Teamster’s Trust Fund, the city inadvertently fell behind by a month. The teamsters made a $32,215.38 claim.

However, Alba was able to negotiate a waiver. the city is now only to pay $530.71 in interest and attorney fees. The motion to accept the charge and make the payment was approved.

“It was a miscommunication in how the teamsters want things done,” Hart said.

The second big issue regarded leasing out the Monson Property to OneEnergy Development.

The Monson property is on the Yakima Valley Highway near Outlook.

OneEnergy intends to install solar panels and sell electrical power to the Northwest Power Grid. However, there are some logistical issues to work through before the lease can be approved.

The city will be essentially renting out the property to a private company, the city will be charged property taxes amounting to $9,244.

The city wants OneEnergy to pay the taxes as a part of the contract. Blake Bjornson, spokesman for OneEnergy does not foresee any contentions to the demand.

Council Member Craig Hicks brought up his concern that the property not become an eyesore due to overgrowth or lack of maintenance. Once again, Bjornson sees no issue with writing that into the contract.

The final issue regarding the lease is that the city wants the contract to state that OneEnergy is responsible for the removal of all equipment and structures once the lease is up.

The decision to approve the contract will be postponed until July 23.


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