Yakima County: 'It's saving taxpayer's money by consolidating services'

Yakima County: 'It's saving taxpayer's money by consolidating services' »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- A plan to make the most of Yakima County's resources is moving forward and saving taxpayer money and time.

A large-scale reshuffle is underway to bring Yakima County services into Yakima County buildings. It seems pretty basic.

"There was no general plan. And it was, we need extra space somewhere," said Yakima County Public Services Director Vern Redifer. "There's a vacant corner down in the second floor. Let's use that."

The result was a spread-out mess.

"They'd have to leave the courthouse, they'd have to go across the street," said Redifer.

But a plan put in place six-years ago is really taking shape.

The so-called 2020 plan puts guidelines on how the county uses its facilities.

"What is the benefit of all of this to taxpayers?" KIMA asked.

"Money, savings," said Yakima County Commissioner Mike Leita. "It's saving taxpayers money by consolidating services."

Most noticeably, the office for public defenders is now being moved into a Yakima County building.

Its current lease in a private building costs you more than $100,000 a year.

The move means the county will pay itself for rent, which will be used to offset operational costs.

But the facilities plan has deeper roots.

"The 2020 plan came about because of the issue the county found itself in building the jail that was ill-advised," said Leita.

An ill-advised plan that is still taxing your Yakima County resources today.

Other changes include moving probation and family court into the actual courthouse.

"People coming out of court can walk right into probation, get their fines and fees paid and start their probation right away," said Yakima County Court Consultant Harold Delia.

With budgets tight across the board, Yakima County leaders say taking full advantage of what's already in place; both the good things, and the bad, will not only save time but save you money.

Yakima County said there are some upfront costs associated with its facilities plan, like renovations.

The new courthouse alone is expected to save about $70,000 a year in energy costs.

Yakima county expects to recoup any spending in the long run.