Union Gap could be handing court system to Yakima County

Union Gap could be handing court system to Yakima County
UNION GAP, Wash.-- Union Gap city council gave their 'ok' to negotiate with Yakima County to take over the reins of justice.

Grandview was the first to do it and now maybe Union Gap: it's eliminating the city's municipal court system and having everything go through Yakima County district court.

"They're willing to explore this with us," Union Gap city manager said about both courts support.

The old municipal court was a part of the city hall building. The new one needs work too and that work would be expensive.

"We don't have a jury room for juries to deliberate their trials," Otterness said. "We don't have witness rooms."

Those are just some of the reasons it could be shutting down. Yakima county is a larger operation.

"They clearly have the resources and the staff to do this successfully," said Otterness.

Yakima County has shown interest in exploring the proposal. After Union Gap's City council meeting Monday night, the city is behind it.

Grandview has all their municipal court operations run through Yakima County now.

"Their city officials are very pleased with it," said Otterness.

Based on how Grandview runs, Union Gap has calculated how much money they would potentially save. More than 12% of all court costs going through the county would be allocated to Union Gap. That would be roughly $350,000 a year to the city.

As negotiations continue, a set proposal will be presented to the Union Gap City Council for review.