Yakima on losing end of 2014 legislative session

Yakima on losing end of 2014 legislative session »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima wound up on the losing end of this year's legislative session. City leaders lobbied for money to pay for several projects, but lawmakers didn't show them the money. KIMA learned how that impacts the city, as well as the game plan from here.

Yakima has its priorities. But, it's not clear that Yakima is a priority for state lawmakers.

Most of the bills Yakima wanted passed this year wound up stalling in House or Senate committees.

"I think it's common knowledge this was a not a very productive session," said Yakima City Manager Tony O'Rourke.

The biggest disappointment for city leaders? Transportation. A comprehensive bill could have meant tens of millions of dollars for Yakima - money for work on the I-82 interchange and a new east-west corridor.

There was also money to clean up contamination at four abandoned gas stations. The city can afford to clean up one on its own.

"If we don't get this additional funding, it will stymie progress on the other three sites," O'Rourke said.

A bill failed that would have restored cash for two Washington trust funds, utilized for local public works projects and public safety initiatives.

Yakima's courts didn't fare any better for help limiting the caseloads of public defenders. Hiring more lawyers could cost the city another $500,000 by 2015. Yakima supported a bill that would have helped offset the potential cost increase by imposing more fees on indigent defendants. That bill stalled in committee.

Then there's the State Fair. Yakima hoped it would get a liquor license so adults could drink alcohol throughout the fairgrounds - not just the beer garden.

Some, like West Valley neighbor Tim Parker, are happy that bill stalled.

"I know people enjoy their beer. I enjoy my beer, too. But, I don't need to have it around kids and old people."

Despite the losses, O'Rourke tries to stay optimistic.

"This is a nine-inning game, so I think our next at-bats, I hope that we get some more hits for the community and for the residents and businesses of Yakima."

Yakima will keep working with state lawmakers and the city's lobbyist during the hiatus.

It wasn't all negative for Yakima. State lawmakers passed a tourism marketing program that will pour millions into attracting visitors to Washington. The city manager is confident that will help Yakima.