Council to discuss Chamber funding at December workshop

by Richard Uhlhorn

At last Tuesday’s City Council meeting there was a public hearing on the proposed 2023 Final Budget.

Chamber funding:

Counciman John Olson asked Chamber Director Mike Steele to fofgo $400,000 of its requested $700,000 for 2023 marketing.

Councilman John Olson, who had proposed that the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce forgo $400,000 of their request for $700,000 so the City could address Tourism related infrastructure.

Bed tax, commonly known as 3% monies collected for heads on beds has been a source of tourism related funding for Chelan over a number of years. As the Lake Chelan Valley becomes busier and busier with visitors and tourists, there is a consensus among many in the Valley that it is time to slow down the Lake Chelan Chamber’s marketing efforts.

Olson, in his comments told the Council that Chelan is the No.1 tourist destination in the state. “All of our city is a tourist facility,” he wrote.

Olson continued by asking executive director Mike Steele to forgo $400,000 from is 2023 $700,000 request so it could be put into public infrastructure to support the community’s tourism.

Michael Steele, executive director of the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce is not interested in forgoing any of his requested $700,000 for 2023 marketing efforts.

Steele’s response at the workshop was that “it is not the Chamber’s responsibility to provide public infrastructure; it’s the City’s responsibility to do so.”

Olson retorted that he agreed with Steele and added, “it is not the City’s responsibility to financially support the Chamber. That’s the Chamber’s responsibility.”

Olson then told the Council that he was withdrawing his request for the $400,000 and, instead, requesting that the Council deny all of the $700,000 requested by the Chamber and earmarking that funding to go into the City’s CIP (Capital Improvements Fund) program to support tourist-oriented facilities like the Skate Park, Butte acquisition, Lake Street Pocket Park, downtown restrooms along with a number of other tourist related projects.

Councilwoman Erin McCardle – City’s liaison with the Chamber asked Olson to forward his comments to all of the council members. “I sit on the marketing committee,” said McCardle.

A decision was made to have the issue discussed at the upcoming December 6 City workshop.

Motion considerations:

 Social Media services – The Council unanimously agreed to an extended Social Media Management Services Agreement with Jenna Rahm.

Water Quality studies –The Council also agreed to authorize the Mayor to finalize and execute an Interlocal Agreement between the City and Lake Chelan Research Institute and Chelan County Natural Resources Department for $25,000 per year for the next five years to continue its long term monitoring program on Lake Chelan.

Phil Long, director of the Lake Chelan Research Institute.

Phil Long, director of the Institute gave a presentation outlining the monitoring efforts. Long told the Council that the City’s initial five-year agreement for $20,000 a year made a huge difference in the program.

“The lake is doing well,” said Long. However, there are changes occurring in the near-shore zone including algae growth on the shoreline rocks, pilings, etc along with 520 acres of Eurasian Milfoil and Pond Weed growing on the bottom mostly in the Wapato Basin.

Long hopes the Institute can determine how much nutrients are coming into the lake from various sources; pesticide/herbicide pollution, goose poop, storm water runoff and temperature changes. “We should have been monitoring near shore environmental impacts,” said Long. Most of the monitoring has been accomplished in the middle of the lake where no significant changes have occurred since 1986.

The Icicle Fund granted $25,000 to the Institute which is a first for Chelan. The Institute is also receiving private funding from residents, Campbell’s Resort, the Lookout and Lakeside Lodge & Suites.

Long hopes to receive funding and research help from the State and Federal governments.

Councilman Peter Jamtgaard asked Long about potential solution outside of the expensive underwater DASH solution. He asked about bulldozing the invasive weeds when the lake was down and a boat inspection program to keep the invasive species out of the lake

A DASH test program in the summer of 2022 collected over 900 pounds of invasive weeds off the bottom of Lake Chelan.

Jamtgaard said the first areas that should be cleaned up was where people accessed the lake. “Those are the most important areas. Olson asked how deep the milfoil and pond weed grew. Long replied up to 30 to 35 feet.

Apple Blossom Planned Development District:

Community Development Director John Ajax told the Council that there was no pressure to make a motion to prepare an ordinance to amend the ABC Development’s agreement at this meeting.

McCardle told the Council members that she highly recommends that they sit down with Ajax and go over the proposed agreement before making a decision. Both she and John Olson spent several hours with Ajax on the proposed agreement.

City Council is requested to review and consider this draft Development Agreement Amendment in order to prepare a final draft for consideration at a future public meeting. Any comments or concerns Council may have will be incorporated into a revised final draft.

Mayor/Council comments:

Chris Baker stated that if Chelan wasn’t so nice, “we wouldn’t have all these problems.”

Mayor Goedde said the County is disposing of two property parcels; one of which is a 5.7 acre gravel pit on Boyd Road. The County wants $120,000 and Goedde asked the Council if they want to consider purchasing the property. “I need a consensus,” he said and asked City Administrator Wade Ferris to give the City some time to consider the property.

Goedde also mentioned that Brian Patterson has put together a traffic count study. “I’m impressed with his work.” He wants Brian to work with Public Works on this issue.

Public Works Director Jake Youngren reported that the department has shared data with Patterson.

Upcoming meetings:

On Tuesday, December 6, Council and staff will hold a workshop to discuss the issues that have come forth, namely Olson’s request for Chamber funding for infrastructure and the ABC proposed Planned Development.

Chelan Fire & Rescue adds two firefighters

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan Fire and Rescue pinned two new career firefighters at their Wednesday, November 16 regularly scheduled meeting. Kyle Byrne and Duke Odenrider took the oath of office from Fire Chief Brandon Asher wherein they agreed to uphold the best traditions of the community and the District.

Kyle Byrne (left) and Duke Odenrider took their oath of office from Chief Asher at the District’s November 16 commission meeting.

Fire Chief’s report:

Asst. Fire Chief Sherman (left) and Fire Chief Asher report the District’s activities to the Fire Commission on a monthly basis.

Asher told the commissioners that the October financials were not ready and would be shared at the commission’s next meeting.

“We had a 36 percent increase in calls,” Asher said. Seventy four percent of those calls were EMS related. The callouts were one of the busiest the department has seen; 105 calls versus only 67 i 2021.

However, it was also a busy month for fire/accident related calls for the department. On October 2, … Jones was spent 14 days on the Bolt Creek Fire; October 10 the department responded to a motor vehicle accident on the Boyd Loop and Swanson Gulch intersection; October 16, firefighters were sent on another State mobilization in Clark County on the Nakia Fire; they responded to a structure fire on October 20 at 2334 Bradley; and on October 29 responded to a motor vehicle accident on Hwy. 97 and Hugo Road. One person involved in the accident did not survive.

Staff is working on a Community Newsletter which should be published in January, 2023.

The District has two more firefighters attending the Fire Academy.

The District is working on a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grant to help replace a brush truck in 2024.

They are currently researching a $30,000 block grant which would be used to redo the residents quarters.

Asher stated that the District is hoping the waterline to the airport gets constructed. “It will help increase our services.”

Commissioner Russ Jones suggested setting up a meeting with the City Community Development department to explore where growth in the valley is going.

Commissioner Phil Moller asked if there was a plan for the $30,000 grant. Asher replied that the cost associated with a remodel of the resident quarters was around $500 per sq. ft.

Assistant Chief report:

Assistant Chief Shawn Sherman stated that the District was building a volunteer training camp and hoping o revitalize the District’s volunteer group. He also mentioned a Truck Academy to train fire fighters on the variety of fire fighting units the District deploys on fires.

Lake Chelan’s near shore water quality is in trouble. Algae (that green stuff) and Eurasian Milfoil has taken hold. Visit keepitbluelakechelan.org to see how you can help reverse this.

Hearing Examiner considering approval of two Manson residential developments

By Richard Uhlhorn

Last Tuesday’s Manson Community Council preceded the Hearing Examiner’s meeting on Wednesday, November 16.

Andy Kottkamp, Chelan County hearing examiner, had several Manson issues to consider during his hearing on Wednesday.

Hearing Examiner Andy Kottkamp

Two of these issues were residential developments; the 66 lot Sundance Estates on 9+ acres and a 14 lot Summerset Vista Crest development north of the Sundance property.

At the Community Council meeting, Chairwomen Kari Sorenson asked Brian Patterson for an update. Patterson stated that he had talked to the County and their comments were confusing. “The Staff Report was not what I expected… there was no mention of old regulations.”

Brian Patterson

Patterson went on to state that the current County Code requires a minimum lot size of 10,000 sq. ft. but Sundance is asking for lot sizes from 2,077 sq. ft. to 6,462 sq. ft. with access off Hwy. 150 and a private road to the north. Based on the staff report received, Patterson said, “I don’t know how the public can evaluate this… I’m just as confused.”

The Sundance project has been a major concern with the both the Council and public throughout the north shore of Lake Chelan.

Patterson wrote a letter to Hearing Examiner Kottkamp on May 15 addressing the SEPA review on the project. In his November 14 letter to Kottkamp he stated that he had requested the Staff Report on three different dates but had no response from the County Planning Staff. He had to get the staff report from the Manson Community Council.

His letter to Kottkamp stated that the County obviously didn’t want the public or Kottkamp to understand “how it is that this project is supposedly compliant with Chelan County Code which based on lot sizes requested, it isn’t.” Patterson added to his letter that the project clearly cannot be approved.

Hearing:

On Wednesday, November 16, Kottkamp called the hearing to order and heard several other issues before him before opening the hearing on the Sundance and Summer Crest development proposals.

“I have lots of locals commenting on this project and these comments are a part of the record,” said Kottkamp.

The staff gave their confusing report on lot sizes and an existing zone change based on a December 23,1996 code. Interim Director Dianna Walters came to the staff rescue and tried to explain the density issues which were as clear as mud.

The project manager for Sundance Estates said it was their intention to build single family houses, put in all infrastructure including storm water retention ponds. “We have no plans to allow Short Term Rentals,” he said.

Kottkamp replied that the developer has the burden of proof to address all issues covered in the staff review including the contaminated soil issues. “The proper procedures will be monitored,” said Kottkamp.

Kottkamp opened the hearing for public comment, but none was forthcoming. “I will have my determination in 10 days.”

Summerset Vista also had no public comment.

Manson Community Council continued:

Missing from the meeting was Kathy Blume and Gordon Lester.

Manson Community Council members John Frolker, Cindy Smith and Kari Sorenson.
Absent – Gordon Lester and Kathy Blume who was removed from the council at the meeting.

The three council members present; Kari Sorenson, Cindy Smith and John Frolker unanimously removed Kathy Blum from her seat on the council for non-compliance with Council bylaws.

Lester’s term is coming to a close and the council will have to elect someone to his position. Blume has two more years remaining on her seat, so the counci will have to appoint someone to her seat.

They decided to kick the bylaws for discussion at the next meeting.

Speeding was discussed on Manson Blvd. and Boetzke Avenue. The speed limit is posted at 25 mph but vehicles including fruit trucks commonly speed up to 40 mph on Manson Blvd at the Boetzke Avenue intersection creating a dangerous situation.

“It’s only a matter of time before someone is injured there,” said a resident who lives on that intersection. “We need to put a camera in there and have the Sheriff’s Department start writing tickets.”

Frolker said that perhaps a discussion with Manson Growers would be helpful. “It’s something the Sheriff needs to address. Perhaps they could put their portable radar machine there.” Sorenson added that a letter could be written addressing the issue and have it posted to the Council’s Facebook page and on the Manson Tribune website.

Sorenson reported that Gordon Lester would be retiring from the Council and that the Council needs to appoint someone to his chair and for Blume’s chair.

The Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce’s move into Manson across the street from the Manson Chamber of Commerce was brought up. The Council members and others were curious as to why the Lake Chelan Chamber would move an office into Manson.

City Council member John Olson said he’d found out that the Chamber signed a $3,000 per month three year lease on the property and planned to have it manned 8 hours a day, seven days a week.

Chelan City Councilman John Olson

Olson also remarked that he asked the Chelan Chamber’s executive director Mike Steele to forgo advertising in the valley because the valley can’t take care of the visitors that are coming already. He asked that some of the 3 percent money be used for tourism related infrastructure which is now allowed by law.

Property taxes are going up

by Richard Uhlhorn

2023 Property Tax increase:

At last Tuesday’s City Council meeting there was a Public Hearing on the 2023 Property Tax Levy and other Revenue Sources.

Outgoing Finance Director Steve Thornton (left) reported the property tax increase that will take effect in 2023.

The City is allowed to increase its property tax one percent per year and according to outgoing finance director Steve Thornton that increase will be based on $1,711,318.62 and will amount to an increase of $17,113.19 plus $47,321.75 from new construction and $3,437.10 refund from prior years bringing the total amount to $67,863.04.

“That does not mean that everyone’s tax goes up,” said Thornton. Seventy five percent of the property tax revenue goes to Chelan’s Street Fund.

Thornton told the Council that the City had $400,000 more in sales tax revenues this year up to $2.1 million. “I think we will get close to $2.7 million,” he said.

The Planning Department will be bumping up building fees by $525,000.

Lake Chelan Reclamation request:

The Lake Chelan Reclamation District has requested the City sponsor them as a Non-City Entity for the Association of Washington Cities Benefit Trust. The Council unanimously approved a resolution to sponsor the LCRD. The sponsorship is allowed to a non-entity when it has a formal agreement. A sponsorship will allow the Reclamation District to offer employees more affordable insurance rates.

City Administrator Wade Ferris

Attorney Services Agreement:

The Council approved a new City Attorney Services Agreement with Davis Arnell Law Firm for 2023. “Costs have gone up and this is a reasonable request,” said City Administrator Wade Ferris. The cost per hour increase to $318.

ParksMaintenanceBuilding:

The Council approved a not to exceed $74,500 Professional Services Agreement with Design West for Design Services of the Parks Maintenance Building. Design West will provide construction administration for the new project.

The City has agreed to a $2,880,000 contract with Halme Builders, Inc. for the construction of the 4,600 sq. ft. building and another $320,000 for construction of a 540 sq. ft. Public Restroom.

The base bid has been reduced by $600,000 by a change order that reduces the building contract to $2,280,000. City Staff will be conducting work on the project that reduces the cost.

Parks Director Paul Horne explained that the building project first went to bid in 2017 and construction costs have risen considerably since that time. Councilman John Olson said, “We are seven years into this. I would like to see it move forward.”

Parks Director Paul Horne (right)

Park Street:

The development of street ends to improve access to the Lake took another step forward at the council meeting. Park Street adjacent to Peterson’s Waterfront is the first street end to be developed. Horne stated that it is a fairly simple plan that includes a sidewalk, some basalt columns, landscaping and benches. “Mark Elliot (Peterson’s Resort) worked well with us,” said Horne. “We are waiting on cost estimates and permitting.”

Horne added that Community Development Director John Ajax has recommended that the City go after permits on all the selected street ends in a comprehensive permitting process. Ajax told the Council that the city would work with Grette Associates Environmental Consultants. Work will hopefully begin in the spring.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth stated that there were several projects that the City should move forward on including the micro park adjacent to the Chelan Ranger District. “It is low hanging fruit and would be aa benefit to the public.” Horne replied that the Forest Service is very much on board to opening up access to the lake off their property. “The Forest Service is open to making lake access more accessible,” said Horne.

SkatePark:

Horne provided the Council with a Don Morse Concept Plan for the Skate Park/Pump Track but Councilwoman Erin McCardle through that plan under the bus and requested that consideration be given to re-locating proposed skate facility to the Chelan Athletic Fields (commonly called Stinky Fields). This is despite the public’s wish to have the facility built in Don Morse Park.

The Skate Park is estimated to cost $750,000 in 2022 dollars. Changing its location could increase that cost considerably. When Horne was asked how many local kids utilize the current skate park, he stated that somewhere between 10 and 15 locals use the park. During peak summer periods Horne says the park has 1,200 to 1,800 people enjoying the park on any given day.

According to Horne, the Don Morse Plan would include ADA trails throughout the park, a promenade along the lake, event space and a new playground. The existing basketball courts would be moved to the concrete pad now used by skaters. The skate park would compliment other athletic venues in the park from the basketball to the volleyball courts.

The proposed Skate Park would be constructed in this little use area of Don Morse Park.

Horne said more public input on the park is desired. “It is an excellent plan that could be transplanted elsewhere.”

McCardle said the skate park was predominately for the local community. She said that a survey that was held was answered by 70% who did not live in the City and 22% that were 18 and under. “Don Morse is already overcrowded,” said McCardle who wants to explore the South Chelan area and ball fields as a potential location.

Councilwoman Erin McCardle

McCardle argued that their was a lack of activities for middle school kids. She wants to conduct a survey at the school. Horne replied that a lot of little kids on scooters use the existing park and might not fill out a survey. “This is just an update to get input.

Councilman Mark Ericks asked it the south Chelan area was an appropriate location. He stated that in a past life (law enforcement) that security and safety is always a concern with location. “This design work is really good,” he said.

Councilman Mark Ericks

Horne added that there are not a lot of eyes on the south Chelan location. “The lights are on at Don Morse and there are more eyes on the existing park.”

Tim Hollingsworth agreed with McCardle. “I think it would be better at the community field. Don Morse is crowded.”

John Olson said he like the conceptual plan and added that security an issue at the Community fields. “We put outside lighting at the Senior Center and they were gone within a week.” Olson added that the VFW building also has issues along with Chelan Valley Hope. “It is a problem area and we need to have a cohesive plan.”

Councilman John Olson

McCardle said there needs to be next steps. “We need to look at the concerns at the athletic fields and move forward.”

During Mayor/Council comments, councilwoman Sheri Dietrict said she liked the idea of utilizing the athletic fields because they are close to the schools.

Mayor/Council Comments:

Olson encouraged the City Council to move forward on Chelan Butte Draft Resolution. “The Trust for Public Lands is ready to move forward,” he said.

City Administrator Wade Ferris replied to Olson’s comments on the Butte. “We need to be careful how we do this,” said Ferris. “There are a lot of moving parts with other organizations.” He added that purchasing the Butte brings liability issues to the surface and that the City needs to figure out the best course of action. Ferris suggested a workshop on the Butte issue in December or January.

John Ajax reported that he would be bringing a draft Development Plan for Apple Blossom Center to the next meeting.

Ferris reported that there were 700 touch and goes from the airport in October.

The City Council meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. The next council meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 22.

Chelan Butte and Chelan Airport topics of Mayor/Council Comments

by Richard Uhlhorn

City Council Meetings can be boring as the Council considers staff requests and decides who to hire or where to spend money. Currently, they are entering into the budget period and there is a lot of talk about various programs that receive money from the City over the course of the year.

On the other hand, the Mayor/Council comment period can get really interesting as members of the Council discuss their personal observations about various projects. This past Tuesday, October 11, Chelan Butte and the Airport Revitalization Project were topics raised by several councilmen.

Mayor/Council comments

Council member John Olson wants the Butte preserved in its natural condition.

John Olson said he hoped each council member had a chance to read the many emails regarding the Save the Butte program instigated by the Chelan Basin Conservancy.

Olson had a prepared statement which he read to the Council encouraging them that a clear message has been received from the public to preserve and maintain the open space of Chelan Butte for future generations.

Olson’s statement talked about the $400,000 spent to preserve the last nine acres of open shoreline space in Spader Bay. He wrote, “Now the Council has the opportunity to preserve 900 acres of uplands with a deposit of $500,000 from the City with other funding sources for the purchase.” His example of local efforts to preserve open spaces is the Wenatchee Foothills project.

With the 2020 census count showing Chelan with a population of 4,800 residents and Manson with another 4,600 residents combined with the south shore brings the Valley up to 15,000 residents total.

Other information states that an estimated 50% of homes in the Chelan valley are second homes and those owners are not included in the census numbers.

“Let’s stop the deception and let’s support efforts to preserve what is left before it is all gone,” said Olson.

Councilman Holllingsworth wants the City to conduct an economic impact study on the airport.

Tim Hollingsworth acknowledged the letters received by the City, but said he hasn’t seen that much support.. “I’ve been hiking up there for 30 years,” said Hollingsworth. He stated that the trailhead to Elephant Head and the PUD trails are full on Sunday’s. “I have concerns of how the City would manage this property.”

Mayor Goedde said there were a variety of comments by a number of people and the City needs to wrap up their portion of the movement to preserve the Butte.

Airport

City Administrator Wade Ferris reported on the Chelan Airport and the status of its upgrades.

Wade Ferris said there were 750 landings at the airport so far this month and 4,800 over the course of the year. “It’s a pretty busy airport.”

Hollingsworth asked about the economic impacts and the use of taxpayer dollars to upgrade the airport. “How does that translate to the flow in the community of what we are spending.”

Ferris replied that the City expects a significant impact. Mayor Goedde added that it is not just about the airport. It is about water, hanger expansion and new business opportunities.

Ferris added that the original purpose is to bring the airport into FAA compliance by expanding the runway. “As the Mayor reports, it is about industrial uses out there… maybe some affordable housing too. It is hard to quantify.”

Hollingsworth said the City did an economic survey for the Golf Course. “Why can’t we do one for the airport,” He wants confidence that the City is spending money wisely.

Ferris replied that the City and Port are sharing only 5 percent of the $20 million dollar cost. The FAA is carrying the rest.

ARTS COUNCIL EVENT

Tim Crandall, president of the Arts Council invited everyone to an open house at the Chamber of Commerce where Jerry McKellar’s newest piece will be revealed.

Stan Crandall, president of the Lake Chelan Arts Council, told City Council that the Arts Council would be holding an open house at the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce to introduce Jerry McKellar’s latest project for the City.

This Arts Council event will take place on Saturday, October 22, from 5 to 7 p.m. The new sculpture is based on Lake Chelan’s legendary lake monster, Tsilly which is the topic of John Fahey’s new children’s book, Tsilly, The Monster of Lake Chelan, which is based on the legends that have been passed down to the present day.

Put this one on your calendar. It should be a good one.

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

Mayor Goedde read a proclamation into the record regarding Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Mayor Bob Goedde paid respect to his Mother who died of breast cancer after an 18 month battle by reading into the record a proclamation about the 2022 Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

As the second leading cause of death amongst women, Mayor Goedde urged all women to avail themselves to getting a mammogram.

LIBRARY

Executive Assistant of Special Projects for the NCW Regional Library System, Tim Dillman and Facilities Manager Amanda Lawson were on hand at the City Council to present a $10.3 million dollar upgrade to library facilities and programs with $7.5 million dedicated to facilities. “We are hoping to meet the needs of the public in the five county region,” said Tillman. “Chelan is fortunate to have great spaces.”

Hessburg and Smith vying for Chelan County Commission seat

by Richard Uhlhorn

At the Manson Community Council’s candidate forum on Wednesday, September 28, Anne Hessburg and Shon Smith squared off in an effort to convince voters to put them in the Chelan County Commission seat being vacated by Bob Bugert.

Anne Hessburg told the Manson/Chelan residents that without an honest dialogue, commissioners “can’t come up with solutions!”

Ann Hessburg

Hessburg was raised in Wenatchee and now resides in Leavenworth where she has 15+ years of land use planning and served on Leavenworth’s Planning Commission. Currently she is Leavenworth’s Mayor Pro Tempore on its City Council. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and the Link Transit Board.

Hessburg said, if elected, she has three priorities including restoring confidence in Community Development; being transparent in her dialogue with residents; and working collaboratively with people, organizations and agencies to provide leadership to find common ground.

Shon Smith grew up in Cashmere and claims to be a Christian conservative. “I’m very concerned about the future of Chelan County,” he said. Smith is a businessman with 63 employees in Wenatchee and Leavenworth (he owns the popular Wok About Grill).

Shon Smith

His major concern is the high density growth the County is experiencing and, if elected, he wants to work for small business jobs, public safety support, responsible taxation and a limited government

Both candidates were asked what differentiated them from each other.

Hessburg said her experience and background as a planner, city council person and non-profit work separate her from Smith. “My background in development design and implementation helps to protect property rights. I want projects to be successful.”

Smith, on the other hand stated that his perspective from operating a business and feels that a business man on the Commission is important. “We are getting a lot of pressure from the westside,” said Smith. “Our county is changing and I want to preserve the quality of life we have.” He also wants to protect the rural lifestyle in the County.

Asked what three issues are most important to him, Smith replied that homelessness, protecting private property rights and the county budget. Huge increases in taxes is becoming “unbearable” for property owners.

Hessburg stated that “thing are complicated and solving issues doesn’t have one answer.” She sees a serious need to providing opportunities for different income levels. Creating confidence in consistent development standards. “It is a multilayered problem. People are searching for solutions.”

She wants to keep rural portions of the county rural. “I want to see people successful.”

Smith said he has had a lot of conversations with people and there is a need to keep prices down. Property owners need to have some freedom and that regulations need to be addressed. “I’m willing to look at all options,” said Smith.

He feels that high density development needs to be in the cities, not the county.

Hessburg was asked about her being a registered delegate at the March 2016 Democratic caucus. “You claim to be independent,” he said. He also brought up her stance on “Black Lives Matter” and the defunding of law enforcement. “What is your position,” he asked”?

Hessburg replied that 2016 was the first year that she became interested in the election process. “I wanted to know and learn and became a part of that process.” She added that the two party system has changed and said, “I never registered and I have voted on both sides of the aisle. I’ve always been an independent.” She added that the commission should be a non-partisan position.

As far as her Black Lives Matter involvement is that behavior of law enforcement officers can be unacceptable. “I believe in protect and serve and am not interested in defunding police.”

Smith said promoting tourism is all good and well if it doesn’t impact life in the County. “We need to go back to small towns like Lake Wenatchee and Plain. It needs to be don responsibly.”

Hessburg said that tourism is an important part of the County’s economy. “Chelan and Manson are big draws,” she said. “I believe we need to be transparent where we are spending those (tourism) dollars. How are we reinvesting those dollars back into the community.”

Chris Willoughby, an orchardist and past Manson Community Council member, asked with the increase in development issues, how would the County keep up with infrastructure needs.

Hessburg replied that infrastructure is definitely a challenge. “We are getting ahead of ourselves with development regulations. We need to move down the road with infrastructure deficiencies. We need to coordinate and work together.”

Smith said the infrastructure issue needs to be handed back to the developers. “It needs to fall back to those making a lot of money. It goes to how they are benefiting and how we are benefiting.”

Asked if either of them would support a fast food chain in the Lake Chelan Valley. Smith said, “I compete with that every day. It is the reason prices are higher. I would say definitely not in the Valley. Rural towns are not meant for that.”

Hessburg added that no one was coming to Chelan County to eat at a McDonalds. “We need to stay focused on local businesses.

Ballots for the November election will be mailed on October 21.

City council selects Mark Ericks to replace Servando Robledo

by Richard Uhlhorn

Mark Ericks was selected from five applicants to serve the rest of Servando Robledo’s council term after all applicants had a chance to present themselves and answer questions.

The five applicants for Servando Robledo’s vacated council seat were allowed a five minute introduction to their interest in the seat and answered Council questions at its Tuesday, October 4, workshop.

After all five gave their presentations and answered questions, the Council, Mayor and City Administrator entered into an executive session to discuss each applicants attributes and made a decision of who would finish out Robledo’s council term which ends in November, 2023.

Two applicants came out on top of these discussions; Wendy Isenhart and Mark Ericks, with Ericks getting the nod.

Isenhart had served on the council previously and said her interest was in serving out Robledo’s term and then letting the public select who would take his place. She had no interest in running for the position, but felt that her past Council experience which included nine yearly budget sessions would be of help to the Council. “I thought that (experience) would be helpful to Chelan,” she said.

Ericks, who became a full-time resident in Chelan in 2016, told the Council that his entire adult life was spent in government service. “I’m a firm believer in the value of citizen participation in government,” he said.

Ericks career carried him through as a police officer and detective at the city of Bellevue, Police Chief in Bothell and after retirement from law enforcement, became Bothell’s assistant city manager and administrative services director. He was elected as State Representative for the 1st Legislative District where he served three terms. He was also appointed as a U.S. Marshall for the Western District of Washington.

Asked if he would commit to running for Robledo’s seat when it came up for election, Ericks said, “I’m a partner of a partner. The decision is up to my wife.”

Both Isenhart and Ericks tied in the votes with Ericks getting the nod. After being sworn in by Mayor Bob Goedde, the Mayor thanked the rest of the applicants and told them that next year, five council seats along with the mayor will be up for election. He encouraged all of them to consider running.

Capital Improvements Program:

After seating Ericks, the workshop turned to the City’s Capital Improvements Program (CIP) with Finance Director Steve Thornton explaining that the CIP is a 23 item project request for 2023 to 2027.

While some of the projects will be funded through a variety of City funds like the 2% bed tax and potential grant awards, Thornton told the Council members, “How do we propose to fund it.”

Some of these projects already have dedicated funds toward them, but need further funding options to complete.

Because significant residential home development has occurred in Chelan and the Valley, these changes lead to the need for the City to reassess existing city facilities and infrastructure.

New residents and visitors create a larger impact on parks and lake access which leads to the for more sidewalks, bike paths, additional turn lanes, roundabouts and other “people moving” investments. Water and sewer capacity also need to be addressed as well and the challenging transportation problems.

Council and Administration priorities:

These 23 priorities on the CIP list will be discussed by the Council in upcoming meetings beginning this coming Thursday, October 6 at a workshop beginning at 4 p.m. in Council Chambers.

The public is welcome to attend, but will not be allowed to speak unless approved by the Council.

A few of these 23 funding priorities include:

  • Parks and Maintenance Building/Public Restrooms. Total design and cost for construction is $3,912,920;
  • Skateboard Park $$1.500,000;
  • Golf Course Irrigation System and Clubhouse improvement projects – $2,383,000 total;
  • Lakeside Bicycle/Pedestrian Trail Grant Match – total cost $2,983,750 which includes $715,000 in a City match; and
  • Airport Waterline Grant match -$868,000.  

Input and citizen comment are welcome. Community members are encouraged to contact City Administrator Wade Ferris – 509-682-8019 or any of the department heads to discuss this CIP.

The City will have the entire CIP package on-line at the City’s website by October 6, 2023 for review by the community.

Sheriff Burnett challenged by Deputy Mike Morrison

by Richard Uhlhorn

The Manson Community Council hosted a candidate’s forum for the upcoming mid-term elections in Chelan County. Both the Sheriff’s and Chelan County Commissioner’s candidates were on hand to give their backgrounds and answer questions from the audience.

Brian Patterson, representing Residents United for Neighbors, sponsored the event. “We sponsored the candidate’s forum because these positions are important,” said Patterson.

Kari Sorenson introduced the rest of the council to those in attendance and said, “There are a lot of things happening in the valley,” said Sorenson. She said the Council is hoping to steer development in the community and keep agriculture as one of the major components of the area.

Councilman John Frolker acted as Master of Ceremonies. Each candidate three minutes to introduce themselves. They also had time to answer submitted questions and questions from the audience which numbered an estimated 40 individuals. Sorenson reported after the forum that there were another 26 residents following the forum on-line.

Sheriff’s session:

Mike Morrison has challenged Sheriff Brian Burnett for his position. Morrison is a 42 year old law enforcement veteran who began his career in Thurston County.

He has served in Chelan County in various positions including as a training officer, school resource officer, swift water rescue and law and justice. “I love serving my community and want to continue serving.”

Brian Burnett has served Chelan County’s Sheriff’s Office since 1998 and as its Sheriff for the past 12 years. He is seeking another four year term in that position.

Burnett said, “Being a trusted leader is a big responsibility.” He calls law enforcement a calling, not a career and claims to have built a solid team and numerous relationships throughout the 12 years. “Now is not the time to change a team that is respected,” said Burnett. “I’m looking forward to the next four years.”

Morrison however feels it is time to transition the office from politics back to law enforcement. “I too have connections and I see the challenges.” Morrison’s biggest concern is eliminating what he calls costly lawsuits and settlements plaguing the department. “There is another federal lawsuit coming. We need to get back to focusing on law enforcement and honor our contracts with the Forest Service, marine patrols and schools.”

Burnett calls Morrison’s lawsuit claims as half-truths and says that over the years as Sheriff, he has created a lot of different programs that serve the Chelan County taxpayers.

Recruitment is an area that Burnett struggles with when competing with different police departments who pay better including Wenatchee who has a higher rate of pay; up to $800 to $1,000 more per month. One of the big draws for Chelan County is not just pay,

but life style.

Morrison also wants to honor the commitments with the organizations the department works with. He also wants to focus school safety and conduct shooter drill training for all deputies in the department. Morrison sees a need to prioritize efforts and resources to address the homelessness issue and drug crisis currently facing the county.

Both said they follow the constitution. Burnett said, “I feel strongly about state and local laws.” Morrison stated that constitutional rights need to be honored. However, when legal issues plague Labor & Industries or the Department of Health, Morrison doesn’t feel it is in the Sheriff’s Office to be involved. Burnett sees a potential battle coming and feels the need for the department to address those concerns.

Mary Sherer asked if the department got any serious pushback by not enforcing the State’s mask mandate?

Burnett said some residents were upset that deputies weren’t wearing masks. “If they were required in by a business, I told the officers to respect that,” said Burnett. He also stated that vaccinations were a free choice. “I’m not going to ask an employee if they are vaccinated.”

Morrison said, “We have the same view. I agree with the Sheriff.” He stated that masks made communication difficult when he had to collect a statement. “Officer safety is first.”

Asked by another resident how he reconciled with the new liberal laws the State handed down. “How do you reconcile that support for the left side,” Morrison was asked. Morrison replied that the laws that came down helped law enforcement do a better job. “We needed to slow down and become more effective. My job as a law enforcement officer is to protect and serve despite my personal feelings.”

Burnett stated that officers needed to treat individuals as human beings and follow the laws. “A lot of things being said here about lawsuits. I work closely with our Human Resources department. Do your research. These positions are very important.”

Morrison said the state came up with new ways to do the job. “No more politics… let’s get back to law enforcement.”

Another resident asked, “What constitutes the Sheriff overstepping his boundaries with mandates? Is it up to the community or the courts to decide.”

Burnett stated he has a problem with the State mandating issues like vaccination mandates. Morrison added, “We follow our oath to  protect your rights.”

Another resident asked about their personal thoughts on the alleged January 6 insurrection. “The final outcome was horrible,” said Burnett. “Many people got caught up, but those who broke the law need to be held accountable.” Morrison said he didn’t disagree with Burnett. He added that he also didn’t like what went on in Portland and Seattle. “Chaos can’t happen. I didn’t like the way our they damaged property… that was unacceptable.” He also felt, like Burnett that those radicals need to be held accountable. “Fellow officers lost their lives… that’s not acceptable.”

A retired Las Vegas police officer asked what their plans for the future were with all the growth going on. Morrison said that the optimum number of officers was 2.5 per 1,000 people. As to the proposed 720 apartment complex planned for the Apple Blossom Center, Morrison said, “We had better get more guys.”

Burnett stated that Washington State was last for officers per capita, but they are paid higher. “How can we be creative,” he asked. A part of that creativity is forming partnerships with schools and other agencies.

Both candidates are experienced law enforcement officers. Burnett has more administrative experience, but Morrison comes from a different direction. Chelan County voters should do their research regarding their choice to lead law enforcement forward in the County. For more information, visit each candidate’s website:

morrisonforsheriff.com
http://www.sheriffburnett.com – 509-699-3700


CITY TO SELECT NEW COUNCIL MEMBER ON TUESDAY, OCT. 4

By Richard Uhlhorn

The City of Chelan has received five applications from residents to fill Servando Robledo’s vacant council seat. These applications will be considered in executive session at Chelan’s October 4, workshop with an appointment following in public. The chosen individual, if present, will be appointed at that time and take part in the Workshop’s agenda.

The following individuals have applied:

Edinger, Jim

Ericks, Mark

Isenhart, Wendy

Laughlin, Ben

Scofield, John

Grant writing contract:

The Council unanimously approved a $20,000 contract with T-O Engineering for grant funding assistance.

Members of the City Council have been asking for this type of assistance for quite some time. After a presentation by T-O’s funding specialist, Annalisa Noble at a previous council meeting, it didn’t take long for the council to approve the contract.

Noble, over the past seven years, has procured $68.5 million for municipalities and non-profits, most of whom are in the North Central Washington region.

The council will now have to determine which projects they consider important for financing strategies with T-O Engineering. On a ZOOM call during Tuesday evening’s, September 28 council meeting, Noble stated she would look at the city’s list and seek funding sources for those projects. “Funding strategies are step 1 in the process,” she said.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Proposal:

Bob Stowe, Stowe Development and Strategies, gave council a presentation into tax increment financing strategies.

Mayor Goedde suggested that the Council and Staff conduct a workshop on Tax Increment Financing.

Mayor Bob Goedde, after the council discussed the presentation and asked questions, said, “I think we need a workshop to help identify projects.” The council unanimously moved to direct city staff to work with Stowe Development to prepare a Professional Services Agreement for the companies financing services.

Total cost to the City is $58,500 for this contract. John Olson that this service could be beneficial in bringing forward projects that are possible for TIF financing.

City Parks:
Parks Director Paul Horne has secured a $100,000 grant from the PUD to help the City enhance the quality of life for its residents.

The Parks proposal is a plan to renovate the underutilized PUD athletic fields into a community park. The PUD would like to see a dog park and pickleball courts added to the park. Horne said those two amenities would be shovel ready when the plan is complete. In addition, the park would be near the Chelan Senior Center.

Public input meetings will held to determine what park amenities and features would be included.

For more information on this grant go to https://cityofchelan.civicweb.net/document/43342/PUD%20Planning%20Grant%20for%20PUD%20Athletic%20Fields.pdf?handle=0B8AEA92AA884CA184F0F90C9088C2E9

Mayor Goedde stated that South Chelan property near the PUD Trailhead should also be considered because South Chelan neighborhood is underserved. Tim Hollingsworth agreed that the City should look at South Chelan as a potential site for the park. “I will be interested in seeing the public input,” said Hollingsworth.

McCardle stated she was also partial to the South Chelan location because of its proximity to trails. She also noted that a lot of activities happen at Stinky fields throughout the summer.

Horne stated that one of the benefits of having the park at the ball fields is that infrastructure already exists.

AppleBlossomCenter:

The applicants for housing development at Apple Blossom Center were on hand at City Council to talk about their progress.

Guy Evans addressed the Council about the Apple Blossom Center development process moving forward.

Guy Evans stated that the development he is helping with is senior focused. “We are looking forward to the process and moving forward,” said Evans.

Weidner’s representative stated that he understood that some residents are against the apartment project and some of the problems the group faces, but added the Weidner is a long term player in the apartment building business. “He’s on track to build 80,000 units and has 64,000 now,” said Harold (last name missed). “He’s been very successful at providing housing. I think he is a great partner for you. Hopefully it will benefit the community.”

John Olson stated that 44% are now housing cost burdened. “There are only two counties out of the 39 counties in the state that are affordable,” said Olson.

Councilman John Olson kept the council informed on affordable housing and said that Washington State has only two counties considered affordable to live in out of the 39 counties in the state.

Erin McCardle mentioned the cost to build… the cost of lumber. “There are things we can control like permit fees. The state could be helping us with affordable housing.” She added that affordable housing is a regional issue.

Mayor/Council comments:

Mayor Goedde, in a comment about the flooding issue in Chelan Hills, said, “Years ago I had a lot of water in my basement.

Several Chelan Hills residents spoke out during the Citizen Comment period about the recent flooding of their properties. Much of this flooding, according to one, is the impermeable surfaces being established above them allowing water to flow over the roads and down instead of entering a storm system. He brought up city code violations. “We need the city to help me with ditches.”

Paul Rodgers, another resident stated that he sees the city as a part of the problem. The Chelan Hills Home Owners Association are discussing legal concerns about liability and Rodgers said they would return to discuss progress. The residents have collected 150 signatures.

Citizen comments:

Brian Patterson, president of the Chelan Basin Conservancy (CBC), thanked the City for helping preserve a portion of the Butte.

CBC President Brian Patterson once again addressed City Council and stated that the CBC will be helping restructure amendments in the Comprehensive Plan’s land use element.

He also stated that the CBC would be asking for amendments in the land use element in the City’s Comprehensive Plan to help preserve the Butte.

They are also interested in helping with the transportation element. “The WSDOT count data from March to August this past year is much higher than ever,” said Patterson.

Fire department helps DNR get quick control over Union Valley fire

by Richard Uhlhorn

Fire Chief report:

“Fire wise has been quiet this summer,” said Fire Chief Brandon Asher during his Fire Chief report to the fire commission. The district responded to 125 calls to service beating the average.

Asher said that other fire chiefs from around the state commented on the initial attack on the Union Valley Fire that helped get quick control over. The Union Valley Fire, under DNR control, broke out along the Union Valley Road and the cause is under investigation. “We had a unified command set up quickly,” said Asher. “We had good response on this fire.”

The administration is working on the 2023 budget and a commissioner budget hearing will take place on October 18 at 10 a.m. unless something changes.

Chief Brandon Asher, Assistant Chief Shaun Sherman and Administrative Assistant Carol Kibler are busy preparing the 2023 budget.

The public relations group is putting together a summary of what the district as done this year. “It will let the people know what they voted for.”

With Douglas County having four major incidents calling for mutual aid, Commissioner Phil Moller asked how far south or east the District was required to respond. Asher replied that second alarms stop a Sun Cove; third alarms will get response everywhere.

Assistant Chief report:

Assistant Chief Shaun Sherman reported that the District received a five-year funded program from Washington State to create fire breaks and fuel reduction.

The program will also allow putting wood chippers and sprinkler systems for suppression at homes. It is a 25% matching grant.

At a total cost of $265,000 to refurbish Chelan 71, the ladder truck is back and ready to respond when needed.

Fire 71 is back at a total cost of $265,000; $240,000 of which was the complete overhaul and another $25,000 for a new transmission that failed. “It’s running great and the tranie cost $5,000 less than expected.

Sherman stated that the District continues to look for State apparatus availability. “It is not good.”

With regards to replacing the old chief’s rig, availability is still tough. Russ Jones said he doesn’t have a problem with a purchase. “We’ve got to be able to act,” said Jones. “We should see more availability in the future.” In the meantime, Chief Asher will be driving the old chief’s vehicle.

Commissioners Phil Moller and Russ Jones listen to reports from the administration. Commissioner Oules attended the meeting via ZOOM.

Commissioner Phil Moller said, “We are spending a lot of money. Is there money in the budget for a vehicle?” Jones added that new would be better than used. Sherman replied that a new unit will cost between $55,000 and $80,000. “The price has gone up $25,000.”

Station 73 received Internet over the weekend. The District is waiting on the Forest Service for options they want to do at the airport’s Station 74.

Recruitment:

Ben Barnes, owner of Steelhead Cidery, has indicated an interest in volunteering at the District. Another individual, Peter (last name not noted) wants to volunteer for the marine program only. He has 27 years of ladder company experience.

Sherman said that several opportunities are coming up for structure training burns on Little Butte.

EMS is offering a new EMT class beginning in November. “this is good for our membership.”

New business:

The recent fireworks show came up and Chief Asher said the permits were in place, but that from now on, a special event permit would be required. (Note: The City of Chelan is proposing new rules for fireworks that will allow them to be displayed only on the Fourth of July, during Winterfest and on Memorial Day).