Port of Chelan County to purchase Kelly Property

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by Richard Uhlhorn

City Council meetings can be interesting, and sometimes very revealing about the council’s, mayor’s and administrator’s mind set. The recent Council meeting on March 12 was one such meeting.

The big question going into the Tuesday, March 12 meeting was how the Council would vote on the acquisition of the Kelly Trust property at the airport. A little background is necessary to set the stage.

On October 23, the Council and members of the Port of Chelan County met to discuss this acquisition. The price is $294,000 and the Port told the Council that it would finance the purchase with the City paying it back over a five year period at 2.5% interest. No action was taken.

On November 6, the Council moved to provide notice to the property owner that the City intended to exercise its Right of First Refusal and make a bona-fide offer, execute all documents necessary. The motion passed with both Councilmembers Erin McCardle and Ray Dobbs voting Nay.

The City Administrator and the City Attorney continued to work with the Port to seek information and develop an Interlocal Agreement. On March 12 a copy of proposed Interlocal agreement with the Port has been attached to the Council’s agenda bill.

Mayor Mike Cooney stated that City Administrator Mike Jackson has been working on the issue non-stop and “has reached an agreement (with the Port) we can all be happy with.”

In the final agreement, the Port will purchase the property outright with a sunset clause to turn the property over to the Chelan Airport no later than January 1, 2035. In the meantime, the Port will clean the property up and make the property into an expanded enhanced storage facility that they will operate, hopefully at a profit.

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City Attorney Quentin Batjar

“The will take all the revenue from that,” said City Attorney Quentin Batjar. Also, it the Port decides to get out of the agreement before the sunset clause, the City has the Right of First Refusal. “They are not thinking about getting out,” said Mayor Cooney.

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Mayor Mike Cooney

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said that this long term development by the Port is doing what its mission is. “It seems like a good division of labor between Chelan and the Port.”

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Councilman Tim Hollingsworth

McCardle stated that there was a private entity that had made an offer on the property and that the Port wanted it for economic development.

“It serves our purposes,” said Jackson. “The basis of the agreement is to give the property back to the Airport. They think they can recover their costs.”

The Council’s major heartache on the purchase was taking money from the City’s General Fund which would, in turn, take away from some other City project on the books.

So, what started out as a City/Port acquisition, has turned into a Port acquisition with a sunset clause that will have the Airport gaining control of the property in 15 years. Not a bad outcome for the Port or the City, if the Port passes its resolution to go forward at its Tuesday, April 19 meeting.

In other business:

With all the talk about the dangers of egress and ingress adjacent to Chelan High School and adjacent intersections, Councilman Ray Dobbs and his grandson, seventh grader Charlie Morgan gave a special presentation on the only exit from South Chelan at Farnham St. and Hwy. 97A.

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Councilman Ray Dobbs and his grandson, Charlie Morgan gave a special presentation to the City Council regarding the only outlet from South Chelan and suggested a small round-about be installed to help traffic flow.

Dobbs and his grandson walked the South Chelan neighborhood and ascertained that there were up to 700 to over 1,000 people living there in the 234 residential units counted. “That’s a quarter of the population of Chelan,” said Dobbs.

They both feel that it is a dangerous situation because of the one-way change into Chelan that is now forcing more and more traffic to leave town over the new bridge.

Both feel that the City and State should be looking at installing a small roundabout at the Farnham intersection, “so the people on Farnham have an equal opportunity.”

When asked about an alternative exit, Planning Director Craig Gildroy said that they were looking at secondary access during the Holiday Hills development.

During the Council Comments several items of interest to the community came out.

Councilwoman Wendy Isenhart said that the Arts Council is looking for art work which will be displayed in the Library and then in the park during the Arts in the Park weekend.

Councilman Ray Dobbs mentioned that the City Crews jumped on a water leak in his neighborhood and got it covered quickly. “Nice work you guys.”

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Councilman Ty Witt

Councilman Ty Witt said the Century Challenge staging area will be moved to the PUD Park by the High School to alleviate issues at Don Morse Park.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said the Town Hall meeting on wildfire brought awareness to the community about the need to prepare the 2019 fire season.

Councilman Cervando Robelia said he was organizing an open house for the Hispanic Community on Affordable Housing.

It was also mentioned that the kids would be out cleaning the town in preparation for Earth Day. Mayor Cooney said that 800 cubic yards of material are collected each year for recycling.

Mayor Cooney wanted to dispel a rumor that the only reason he wants to buy the Butte is to develop it. “It will be turned into a conservation easement,” said Cooney. “It will never be developed.” However there is an idea of using 40 acres at the Far East end as a potential affordable housing area.

City Administrator Mike Jackson brought up the subject of potentially having food trucks parked on the old Bumper Boat Pad as an additional revenue source for the city and another attraction for visitors.

“This would not displace the boats,” said Jackson. “I’m trying to see if we can get some takers.” Jackson handed out a Request for a Proposals at the Lakeshore Marina.

The food truck business is a $250 million dollar enterprise in larger Cities. Jackson’s proposal outlined the City’s thoughts on how it would be handled. Food trucks would, if approved by the Council be allowed to operate from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

This proposal started the obvious conversation.

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Councilwoman Erin McCardle

McCardle asked about the longstanding businesses in the area. “My concern is the impact this would have on local businesses,” she said.

Jackson said each vendor would have only 30 days to operate. “It is not meant to give them a permanent location.”

Hollingsworth felt that it could have an impact on the Lakeview Drive-in. “They only have three or four months to make money,” said Hollingsworth. “I do get the appeal of it,” he added.

Former council member and candidate for Mayor, Stan Morse added that the Lakeside area has no real option for food. Why not find a place there.

Not sure this idea was dead on arrival or not, but it is an interesting concept.

The next City Council meeting is on Tuesday, March 26. The public is encouraged to attend.

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City Council to decide on Kelly property purchase at March 12 meeting

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by Richard Uhlhorn

The proposed purchase of Gene Kelly’s three acre parcel adjacent to the Chelan Airport all comes down to a City Council vote on Tuesday evening, March 12.

The Council was presented with three options at a Special Council meeting on Tuesday, March 5.

  1. Walk Away;
  2. Port will only support the purchase if the City Council supports it; and
  3. Continue forward with the proposed 50/50 partnership using the City’s General Fund which has already been approved by the Port of Chelan County

The proposal to purchase the Kelly property for $294,000 is based on the City’s Right-of-First-Refusal. The Port agreed to front the $294,000 if the City will agree to pay its half back over a five year period at 2.5 percent interest.

While both parties feel it is a good purchase, the Council is having second thoughts, primarily about using the City’s General Fund to pay back the Port loan.

City Administrator Mike Jackson told the Council that utilizing General Funds from the City budget will take away from other capital projects the City has planned.

At the March 5 meeting, Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said, “I’m just a little uncomfortable using general funds. What is the short term benefit to the City.” He also remarked that there is no water available to the property. “Let the Port run with it. The Port may manage it more effectively.”

Both Kelly Allen and Tim Hollingsworth are skeptical of using the City’s General Funds to help purchase the Kelly property at the airport.

Councilwoman Kelly Allen said, “They want to defer to us… whatever we are comfortable with.” Mayor Cooney added that the Port has said that if the City doesn’t want the property, they would purchase it.

An extension to the purchase was mentioned by City Attorney Quentin Batjar who called Kelly’s real estate agent who replied they were not interested in extending the deal.

Hollingsworth said, “I’m skeptical of spending $150,000 and am not prepared to make that commitment.”

Mayor Cooney at the City Council meeting on February 26 stated that he didn’t see where the purchase would ever benefit the citizens or the airport. Jackson added that the City still hasn’t solved the water issue which will cost around $7 million. “We will have to discuss this the March 12 meeting,” said Jackson. The City has to make a decision prior to March 15.

It will all come to a head at the Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting when the Council will once again discuss and come to a decision regarding the property.

Chief Lemon to retire… District faces numerous issues

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By Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan County Fire District #7 (Chelan Fire & Rescue) held a special meeting on Thursday, March 6 to disseminate information concerning the department.
Board Chairman Russ Jones announced that Chief Tim Lemon will be retiring at the end of the year. After the meeting, Lemon stated that he had agreed to serve the District for 10 years and that this was the tenth year of his tenure at Fire Chief. “We decided that it was time to enjoy our lives while we are still healthy,” said Lemon.
The District will begin its search for a new chief this coming Fall. “We will get through the summer before addressing that position,” said Lemon. Deputy Chief Donnell’s position is being eliminated at the end of the year, but he will be able to apply for the Chief’s position when it becomes available.

 

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The District has budgeted the funds to replace Administrative Assistant Faye Barker when she retires at the end of March. Jones stated that her position was important enough to move forward with a new hire to fill it. Commissioner Jay Witherbee was not in favor of moving ahead.
“What are our priorities,” asked Witherbee? He is reluctant to hire for the position because the long term planning is not finished and the person who is retained might be let go because of budgetary reasons. “They are people,” said Witherbee. “I take the responsibility of hiring or dismissing someone seriously. I’m not suggesting we eliminate the position, just delaying it for a short while.”
Commissioner Phil Moller agreed with Witherbee, but was willing to go forward with the replacement because of the day to day business that Barker was handling. “So I support replacing that position,” said Moller.
The motion to replace Barker passed with Jones and Moller voting yes and Witherbee voting no.
Staffing issues continue to be discussed and Commissioner Jones stated that the District needs to strategize for two or three years down the road on running any kind of Bond for the department. “My opinion is that in two years we will be ready to go.”
The Safer grand funds that are keeping Chief Brandon Asher employed run out in 2021. His job is recruitment of volunteers for Orondo, Entiat and Chelan.
The District is headed towards a $254,000 shortfall and has zero money for apparatus replacement. Most of the District’s apparatus is 30 years old and in constant need of maintenance. “This is the exact example of what I’m talking about,” said Moller.
Jones stated that the one percent cap placed on the District is a broken funding model. Unlike the School District that sees its revenues go up when property taxes go up, the District is capped and can’t collect more than what the voters gave them in the last levy. “It is what it is,” said Jones, “but we can’t survive this way. It’s going to be tough one.” Jones figures that 2022 will be the earliest the District can go back to the public because of the Hospital and proposed School bond.

“We need to be working on it now so the community knows why we need to get there.”
Jones made a statement at the end of the meeting to the fire fighter personnel at the end of the meeting. “I just want you to know that the notion that the commission meetings are contentious isn’t true… stressful, yes, but not contentious. It is a tougher job than I ever imagined..’
Moller added that he is serving for the community and respecting what the community wants. “I want to do what the community wants us to do,” he said. Witherbee had no comment at the end of the meeting.
Jones said that the District needs to be more active with the other districts. “We need to get around to the other Districts.”

 

Chelan School District seeks a $75.5 million bond from community

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by Richard Uhlhorn

“It’s a big thing for me,” stated Barry DePaoli, superintendent of the Lake Chelan School District. “We’ve been working on this for about one and a half years. It’s a 30 year plan and so far most people are supportive.”

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Barry DePaoli, Chelan School Superintendent is hosting a number of informational meetings on the District’s proposed $75.5 million dollar bond issue that will be voted on by April 23, 2019

DePaoli was describing the School District’s proposed $75.5 million dollar bond issue for capital projects including the construction of a new High School on its property adjacent to Mountain Goat Field up by Wal-Mart.

Coupled with the $1.50 per thousand EP & O Levy (M&O) the proposed bond issue, if passed, would add
$1.39 per thousand to the property tax collections in the District for a total of $2.89 per thousand.

In a regional comparison, this bond issue coupled with the replacement levy amount is the second lowest. “We generate a lot of (property tax) income,” said DePaoli. As an example, Cashmere residents are paying $5.34 per thousand and Cascade School District which is similar to Chelan are paying $3.22 per thousand on a new $96 million bond issue. Manson residents, who just past a $20 million bond issue, will be paying $2.30 per thousand. “Regionally we are not out of line here.”

For home owners of property worth $300,000, $350,000 and $400,000 , they would be paying $450, $525 or $600 for the schools. This is less than what property owners paid in 2008 ($3.10/thousand).

If this bond issue is approved on April 23rd (ballots will be in the mail on April 5), 2019, homeowners would begin paying for the bond in 2020.

Property owners are already feeling the taxation crunch, so why would the Lake Chelan School District run this bond issue at a time when tax payers are feeling overtaxed as it is?

According to DePaoli, the two campuses are overcrowded (1,450 students), the buildings are in need of serious work, the elementary and high school are both adjacent to a state highway which is creating severe daily traffic congestion with middle school parents picking up students, buses and high school drivers trying to access the state highway.

According to the District, this is the right time to run this bond issue because the bond market is favorable and the District is currently debt free. “I’d rather invest my money in kids on schools we can’t maintain anymore,” said DePaoli. “I expect to get some hard questions from our property owner,” added DePaoli.

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School Superintendent Barry DePaoli gave a presentation to residents of the District on February 28 and will be giving more informational presentation on the District’s proposed Bond Issue throughout the month of March.

Those questions are being answered at a series of Monday informational events as follows:

  • Monday, March 4 at 5:30 p.m., and March 18 (En Espanol), and March 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce. These three informational presentations include coffee and fudge.
  • On Monday, March 11 at 6 p.m., there will be a Tamale Feed and Community Forum on the bond issue at the Chelan High School Performing Arts Center and Commons.

If passed the $75.5 million will be used to:

  1. Build a new High School: grades 9 – 12…………………………………….$59 million
    The School District already owns the property it plans on building the proposed high school. The new high school is intended to meet both needed space requirements for the next 30 to 40 years and the future academic needs of the students which will include skilled labor and technical training classrooms

 The plan also includes consolidating all athletic venues (field, gyms, tennis and track facilities to eliminate the need to drive or bus students.

  1. Modernize & reconfigure Morgan Owings Elementary & the Middle/High School………………………………………………………………………………………$9 million

The plan intends to modernize and upgrade the current classrooms at MOE, add a multipurpose gym to the backside of the current building, replace the aging roof and upgrade the HVAC system and alleviate traffic congestion and address student safety concerns. This plan will move Pre-K students out of the basement of the Special Programs building to a new early learning center at MOE – $5.5 million.

The Middle/High School would be converted to an Intermediate/Middle School for Grades 4-8 including modernizing and improving safety of the Life Skills/Special Education Classrooms, alleviating traffic congestion, upgrades to the HVAC system and expand learning opportunities to include: Ag Science, Woodshop and Science STEM Academy. – $3.5 million.

  1. Restore Sargent Field into a modern football/soccer stadium……….$7 million

The plan at Sargent Field is to install a turf field to accommodate the community demand for both youth soccer and football. This would include replacing the existing bleachers, overhead lighting and press box, an upgraded concession stand and paved parking lots. It would also include rebuilding the athletic locker rooms and public restroom facilities -$7 million

If approved the new high school would be completed and ready for occupancy 2021-2022 school year. Planning for the high school would begin this June. The modernization of MOE and current High School/Middle School would follow the construction of the new high school.

“If they (the taxpayers) don’t pass this we are in a tough spot,” said DePaoli. “I get it… it’s a big tax hike, but we have to do it sometime.”

Bond passage requires a super majority (60%) to move forward. That means the District has to get the votes out and will have to have at least 40 percent of the last election weigh in to meet that 60 percent goal.

Senior citizens aged 62+ and disabled citizens with a total annual income of less than $35,000 may be eligible for a residential property tax exemption. More information is available from the County Assessor’s office at (509) 667-6365.

If you are unable to make one of the informational presentations, don’t hesitate to pick up an information sheet from the District’s office on Johnson Avenue.

City’s legislative priority list moving through the legislative process

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by Richard Uhlhorn

The City of Chelan’s 2019-2021 Legislative Priorities include several important funding requests for the Washington State Legislature to consider.

Probably the most important funding request is for the community’s Pedestrian Safety Project. The City is asking the State for $700,000 in Capital Funding. Of the 28 crosswalks within the City limits, 21 of them are on State Routes 97A and Hwy. 150 without safe crossing conditions.

These crosswalks provide access to parks, local businesses and most importantly, to the City’s schools, both of which are currently adjacent to Hwy. 97A.

The City is requesting the implementation of Rectangular Rapid flashing Beacons (RRFBs) and other suitable enhancements for these 21 crosswalk locations. RRFBs are an economical and effective tool to warn drivers when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk.

Since the State is responsible for the installation, operation and control of all traffic control signals, signs and traffic control devices for the purpose of regulating pedestrian traffic on its highways, the Pedestrian Safety Project within the City Limits is its highest priority for the Legislature to consider.

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Mayor Cooney is staying in touch with local legislators regarding the City’s Legislative Priority List.

Mayor Mike Cooney said during a recent telephone interview that the State is looking at this proposal seriously. Senator Brad Hawkins told Mayor Cooney that the best chance to be considered for this request is to give it to the Transportation Committee.

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City Administrator Mike Jackson feels that the City’s request for crosswalk improvements is on solid ground.

“We think it is a very solid request,” said City Administrator Mike Jackson. “It will depend so much on what happens on the Transportation Bill.”

Regardless of how this requests fairs in the Legislature and Transportation Committee, plans to install Rapid Flashing Beacons at the High School and Elementary School will go forward.

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The second priority on the City’s list is Affordable Housing.

While the City is not asking for money, they are asking the Legislature to support a measure to authorize Chelan to have a multifamily property tax exemption in 82.14 RCW. Currently, the Washington 82.14 RCW allows municipalities of 15,000 and over to use this exemption which leaves smaller, rural communities out. A change in the law would help developers of multifamily units in small rural communities to pencil out the development costs.

The City’s lobbyists are working on trying to obtain $2 million for the Chelan Butte Conservation Funding project. The proposal proposes allocating 850 acres to public access and another 40 acres for affordable housing at the east end of the property.

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The last item on the Legislative Priority list is improvement project at Lakeside Park. The renovations proposed include relocating the dock; increasing swim safety and accessibility improvements; enhancing the non-motorized boat launch; replenishing beach sand; replacing the current restrooms; increasing paring and improving sidewalks

The City has applied for a Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) grant, and was ranked 14th with only 11 projects receiving funding through this grant period. “We plan on going back in 2020 with another request,” said Jackson.

The City is also asking for $667,000 in capital budget funding specifically for the park through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program – Water Access Category to ensure funding.

At this point, Jackson says the City hasn’t heard anything back on its priorities but is working hard on all of the issues.

Chelan County PUD wants to hear from you!

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by Richard Uhlhorn

Steve Wright, PUD CEO, presented the PUD’s Strategic Planning Process to Chelan City Council back at the January 22 council meeting.

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PUD’s CEO Steve Wright gave a powerpoint presentation to the Chelan City Council on Tuesday, January 22 regarding the plans to write a new 5-year strategic plan and asked for their input over the next four months before it is completed.

In his opening statement to the Council, Wright said, “We have cut our debt in half one year early.”

“The world is changing rapidly and we need to be ready for that,” said Wright. He stated that the electrical utilities were a rapidly evolving industry. “We are working with other utilities, he said.

Wright’s PowerPoint presentation reviewed where the PUD has been since 2015 and then presented key strategic questions for the next strategic plan that will be concluded in the summer of 2019.

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Steve Wright’s presentation reviewed where the PUD has been and where it hopes to go in an ever changing utility market.

Wright mentioned the cryptocurrency industry and how it threw the PUD off course for a couple of years. Stating that the PUD has seen a significant drop off in energy requests, Wright added that the PUD didn’t want to see its rates go up for customer/owners because of the cryptocurrency industry.

However, the PUD has not raised customer/owner rates for seven years even though inflation has increased 40%. PUD rates have been subsidized by wholesale power revenues. Chelan County electrical rates are around 3.1 cents per kilowatt hour as opposed to the State’s average rate of 7.68 cents per kWh and the nationwide average of 10.27 per kWh.

With customer satisfaction at 97 % and the utilities reliably at 98%, Wright explained that the PUD’s vision is to provide the best value for the most people for the longest time.

“We haven’t had to borrow money for 10 years now,”said Wright. “We do worry about the market slowing down and want to be prepared for a variety of different outcomes.”

With aging equipment and the need for new substations because of Lake Chelan Valley’s rapid growth Wright said the new North Substation is currently in the design phase and the PUD would begin building on its acquired property in the next 12 months. “The southshore is up for review,” said Wright.

Over the next period of months leading up to its new Strategic Plan, the PUD will be actively engaging the community with a series of questions.

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Steve Wright went through a series of questions the PUD is asking of its customer/owners in preparation of its new strategic plan.

The Key Questions the PUD is considering include:

1              RATES

After seven years without rate increases (and only 9% rate increase  since 2000 while inflation has been around 40%), Chelan PUD plans to adopting a long‐term rate plan.
We have questions for our customer‐ owners.

Should this plan: • Include annual electric rate increases at approximately the rate of  inflation to avoid the risk of large rate increases in later years

  • Display the hydro financial benefit separately in electric, water and  wastewater bills to help customers understand the full cost of  services   • Specify the balance between funding large water and wastewater  system improvements from financial reserves and annual rate  increases for water and wastewater • Include annual rate increases for the water, wastewater, and fiber  business units to meet individual system financial metrics • Change rate design to be responsive to utility industry changes2 Rock Island Relicensing/Early Action

The federal hydropower license for Rock Island Dam  that seeks to balance low rates, environmental  protection and recreational enhancements expires  in 2028 • Should Chelan PUD advance the newly developed  federal policy to take “early actions” in advance  of a final relicensing decision? • If so, what actions should be considered that  support recreational or environmental  enhancements and what considerations should  the PUD seek in return?..

3              Wholesale vs. Retail Marketing

Currently, Chelan PUD retail rates are  subsidized by wholesale power revenues.  Should Chelan PUD reduce emphasis on  wholesale marketing and focus more on  growing retail loads and local economic  development?

4              Growth

Should Chelan PUD lean toward growth pays  for growth (supportive of lower rates for  existing customers) or toward economic  development (supportive of more jobs in the  community)?

5              Aesthetics

Who pays for aesthetic improvements (e.g.  undergrounding of power lines) when it can  increase costs by 2‐10 times compared to  above ground facilities ‐ all customer owners  or just those who benefit?

6              Public Power Benefit Program

Should Chelan PUD continue to fund a public  power benefit program that has been used for  the fiber expansion and park passes? • If so, what activities within our statutory  authority should be considered for funding?

Process & Timeline •

Phase 1 – Explain current status / key  questions •
Phase 2 – Explore key questions with  dedicated customer‐owners •
Phase 3 – Community‐wide engagement •
Phase 4 – Draft and finalize strategic plan • Conclude in Summer 2019

We want to hear from you!

On February 15, Chelan County PUD put out a message on Facebook asking customer/owners to provide input and guidance as the utility moves towards completion of its new five-year strategic plan.

“In 2015, we adopted a five-year strategic plan after a vigorous public outreach process with our customer-owners. Our purpose was to identify how our actions as a public power utility could accomplish our mission statement to enhance the quality of life in Chelan County.

Once again, we’re calling upon our customer-owners to provide informed input and guidance as we plan Chelan PUD’s future. We want to share what has changed since we wrote our existing 5-year Strategic Plan – and what we’ve already achieved – as we chart our course for 2020 – 2024.”

Visit www.ourpublicpower.org to sign up for updates!

Glass to Sand has crushed 1,000 bottles since receiving their glass crushing machine one month ago

 

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Brett LaMar at Lake Chelan Building Supply has agreed to sell Glass to Sand Companies products out of their Home and Garden section, giving 90 percent of the revenues generated back to the project.

By Richard Uhlhorn

You can find more about the following article at the Glass to Sand Facebook page. If you would like to donate to the cause, the GoFundMe link is listed there.

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Megan Clausen (left) and Devyn Smith began their Career Connection Service Project when the Valley lost its glass recycling program.

“We began our project when recycling ended in Manson,” stated Megan Clausen, a senior at Manson High School. “We were Ok with recycling in Chelan and then we lost that option too.”

It all began when the City of Chelan halted its recycling operation at the NCW Recycling Center after struggling for two years after Chelan  County backed out. “They kind of left us high and dry,” said Mayor Cooney. The city opted to get back into the curb side recycling for City residents.

Unfortunately, the curbside recycling program in Chelan doesn’t include glass which leaves the entire Lake Chelan Valley without a glass recycling program.

Clausen and fellow senior Devyn Smith decided that glass recycling would be a good career connection service project that had the potential of really impacting the community. The idea for the project came when a distributor for Pioneer Group Waste & Recycling Equipment came to Manson with a small glass crusher and demonstrated it.

The girls at that point began their entry into glass crushing and named their startup “Glass to Sand.”

They made arrangements to purchase a small Pioneer Group Waste & Recycling Equipment glass crusher from a San Francisco distributor of the New Zealand manufacturer. The unit takes only one bottle at a time, but it crushed a wine bottle almost instantly into sand.

 

The girls purchased a glass crushing machine from a New Zealand manufacturer with the use of donations and monetary gifts through a GoFundMe page.

The bottles have to have labels removed. It takes 44 bottles to make 50 pounds of sand. To date, they have crushed 1,000 wine bottles for Hard Row to Hoe, Wine Girl Wines, North Shore Café, Radiance, Vin du Lac, the Vogue and several other wineries in the area. “We are focusing on wineries, we can’t take bottles from private people,” said Clausen.

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Brett LaMar, owner of Lake Chelan Building Supply has agreed to take the 50 pound bags of sand and sell them in its garden center. “We’ve committed to selling the bags for $5 and giving the girls back $4,” said LaMar. LCBS is keeping $1 for the processing. “They got the ball rolling and we’ve given them an outlet.”

The girls have, since beginning the project, raised enough money to pay for the machine. They have donation buckets out, have a GoFundMe page, which has raised $3,050 of a $6,000 goal. The Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce donated $1,000 to the project and Clausen’s parents have also donated and set up an account at Wells Fargo Bank.

They continue to present their project to organizations and made a presentation to the Lake Chelan Rotary Club on Tuesday, February 12. “They were very excited to see and listen to the presentation,” reported Clausen. “It went really well and we enjoyed getting feedback from them.”

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Senior Devyn Smith puts a wine bottle into their glass crushing machine. It takes only a few seconds to become sand and so far the girls have crushed 1,000 bottles from wineries that are participating in the project.

The girls plan on crushing glass until May, but have begun to introduce the project to juniors at Manson High School in hopes of handing it over when they graduate and head to college.

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The crushing machine produces a fine sand from the glass that can be used for a variety of projects around the home and garden.

While their operation is small, it is the hope that something bigger can happen in the Lake Chelan Valley regarding glass recycling. Clausen and Smith have met with Mayor Cooney and he is very supportive of their efforts.

The City is working with Chelan County to reopen the recycling center to take glass. Under the proposed plan, Valley residents would be able to drop off glass and then the County would transfer it to a recycling center. “If we can get the County on board it would be good,” said Cooney. At this point the County seems unwilling to enter into a hauling agreement. “We are trying to get it done by Earth Day,” said Cooney.

Public Works Director Jake Youngren said that the City took it upon themselves to haul all the recycled glass they had stored at the old recycling plant to Seattle. “We made three or four trips but the hauling cost exceeded the money from the recycling plant,” said Youngren. “We need some support.”

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One of the ideas being considered is to have residents pay for dropping off glass at the recycle center to help pay the costs of recycling.

Glass is one of the truly recyclable products. Crushed glass can be reused again and again to make a variety of products from fillers in concrete to new bottles.

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The European Federation of Glass Recycling had 42 companies recycling glass and 82 glass processing plants that generated €508 million Euros. Sweden has 5,000 collection stations alone and has a recycling rate of over 95 percent which is financed by levies of 0.02 to 0.3 geks per bottle imposed on manufacturers of glass products. Revenues are also generated by selling glass collets to glass manufacturers.

The market for glass recycling is booming and glass collection is in vogue.

Congratulations to Megan Clausen and Devyn Smith for their efforts to not only crush glass, but to educate the public to need to recycle glass instead of having it end up in a landfill.

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