Sunnyside accepts gang prevention monies

The Sunnyside City Council approved an agreement with Educational Service District 105 to allow $13,500 in funding to be used by Sunnyside United for gang prevention and intervention services.

The agreement passed 4-1 with Councilman Jason Raines opposing. Council members Theresa Hancock and Francisco Guerrero were absent.

The grant money comes from Yakima County and the city of Sunnyside will be acting as the fiscal agent. According to City Manager Don Day, the services the city is required to provide under the agreement were being provided by Sunnyside United prior to funding running out at the end of August. City personnel were already involved in providing those services.

Day explained that the grant will allow the gang prevention efforts to restart and continue until the end of the year.

Raines argued that he had not had sufficient time to review the agreement and that he had been promised by a former interim city manager that the city would not be required to expend any money when it joined Sunnyside United. He asked to delay the vote until the next meeting.

Mayor Jim Restucci pointed out that no city money is being expended to provide the services. Delaying the vote would mean no gang prevention services to the city for six weeks.

Raines was still firmly opposed to the agreement.

“Under a previous city manager, we were told (Sunnyside United) would not have any impact to the city financially in this current year, and here we are again,” said Raines. “And this time it’s a last minute surprise. I’m doubly offended.”

In response to a question from Deputy Mayor Don Vlieger, Deputy Police Chief Phil Schenck said he is already on the gang free initiative committee and the agreement would not be a burden on the city.

Councilman Craig Hicks moved to approve the agreement and Councilman Dean Broersma seconded. The agreement was approved 4-1.

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