WENATCHEE — The homelessness organization for Chelan and Douglas counties passed a set of bylaws that changed how it approves its $3 million biennial budget.
The Chelan-Douglas Local Homeless Housing Task Force, formerly called the Homelessness Steering Committee, approved its first set of bylaws during a Wednesday meeting. The task force consists of representatives from Douglas and Chelan counties, the cities of East Wenatchee and Wenatchee, the Chelan County Housing Authority, a small city in either county and someone who is or was homeless.
One of the new rules establishes how its budget is decided, a point of contention that led to the city of Wenatchee rejecting the organization’s budget and passing its own in June.
The new bylaws say if the Wenatchee City Council disagrees with the task force’s budget, it will be sent back for reconsideration. If the issue cannot be resolved, the money to be distributed to nonprofits in the form of grants does not get spent and is kept in the organization’s reserves.
Chelan County Commissioner Kevin Overbay said he felt comfortable with the changes.
Overbay and Douglas County Commissioner Marc Straub both took exception to the city council passing its own budget. The counties provide about two-thirds of the task force’s revenue, $2 million, through filing fees in their auditor offices.
The city of Wenatchee shouldn’t be deciding what happens to county dollars, Straub said.
City officials said in July the council was in a difficult position because they were up against a deadline to pass the budget. The budget approved by the city in June stands for this biennial cycle.
The two counties and the cities of East Wenatchee and Wenatchee still need to finalize the interlocal agreement that creates the taskforce. Without it each county would separately be in charge of creating a plan to combat homelessness.
The interlocal gives the city of Wenatchee the authority to manage the task force’s dollars and to hire staff focused on reducing homelessness.