Hospital commission approves 2022 budget

by Richard Uhlhorn

Guild B presented the Hospital Commission with a check for $5,000. Pam James , Guild B representative said, “I wish it could be more.” Chairwoman Mary Murphy replied that in the hospital’s book, the Guild are heroines. “It is so appreciated,” said Murphy.

CHAIR REPORT:

Murphy publicly announced her gratitude to the administration, staff and all levels of the Lake Chelan Health organization. “You’ve been through a lot of challenges at a time when change is the normal in health care.”

STRATEGIC PLAN

Cheryl Cornwell and Shawn Ottley reported

Shawn said the substance of the plan hasn’t changed substantially. “I will have a Dashboard with metrics for the next meeting.” However, Cornwell stated that she needs time to polish the plan. “I don’t know if it will be available by the next meeting.”

Jeremy Jaech would like to see good measurable tactics. The commissioners all stated that it was a good start.

Murphy remarked that it was something to aspire too. Community… using EMS, Chelan Valley Hope and TLC amongst other organizations for the betterment of community health and wellness.

CEO SEARCH

Reviewing a lot of applications including some who currently work at the hospital. “that’s exciting,” said Murphy. Remarked that one candidate is coming for a site visit in December..

NEW BUSINESS

Mary Signorelli brought up a letter sent to the Commission regarding a request to set up a meeting between Chelan Fire and Rescue and the Hospital concerning the potential of merging EMS with the Fire Department. “Are we going to talk about that,” she asked. Murphy said the letter came in after the agenda was set. “Let’s get all of our information together and ask Ray to give us a presentation at the next meeting.”

(Chelan Fire and Rescue has been interested in meeting with the EMS, the hospital and Manson Fire District #5 to explore the feasibility of combining services.)

FINANCIAL REPORT

CFO Cheryl Cornwell presented the 2022 budget which the Commissioners approved Resolution 2021-11 without objection. Commissioner Jeremy Jaech stated that he appreciated the budget process and the budget workshop. Murphy said, “They say the budget is where the rubber hits the road.”

In addition, Cornwell went through the hospital’s Gross Patient Service Revenues

  • Inpatient revenues                                                         $   544,758
  • Out Patient revenues                                                     $2,158,976
                                        Deduction                                ($1,305,665)
  • Net Patient revenues                                                     $1,398,068
  • Other Revenues                                                            $   456,963
  • TOTAL                                                                        $1,855,031

Cornwell stated that COVID continues to hamper the hospital. “We are still feeling the impact of COVID,” she said. Jaech asked where specifically COVID  is affecting hospital services. Cornwell replied that the lack of elective surgeries was a big one, people putting off visits and being underpaid for swing bed stays. Jaech asked if there were staffing issues to which Cornwell said no.

The hospital had 388 Emergency Room visits in October; Performed 26 procedures (no surgeries); Performed 808 Imaging services; 2,874 Lab Tests; 447 Rehabilitation services; 128 EMS calls; 442 Clinic visits; 138 Specialty services; and 304 Express Clinic visits.

FACILITIES REPORT

Mary Signorelli reported that the committee discussed the proposals of the three evaluations of the Heritage Heights property. She said it would be discussed in executive session with the rest of the board after which she thought action might be brought forward after the session.

The new Hospital construction project is on budget and schedule. “They are covering up the roof so they can work inside interiors during the winter,” said Signorelli.

QUALITY CONTROL

Quality Director Shawn Ottley reported that in 2022 they will be focused on work plans. “We are working with the departments on what they need to work on,” sais Ottley

He said they would be streamlining practices in 2022 and helping departments to maximize their quality components.

Traffic issues raises its ugly head at Council meeting

by Richard Uhhorn

Brent Morrison, president of Crystal View Estates Homeowners Association took the time to address City Council during the decision to authorize finalization of Legacy Ridge’s Phase 2.

Brent Morrison, president of the Crystal View Estates homeowners association addressed the City Council concerning traffic issues and there impacts on safety.

Morrison wasn’t on hand to deny the request by Legacy Ridge, but to remark about the increasing traffic issues within the shared intersection with Crystal View Estates and Legacy Ridge, along with SR150 traffic.

Phase 2 of the Legacy Ridge development consists of 33 single family residential lots and three open space tracks. Final Phase 2 approval was brought to the Council by the city’s Planning Department.  

Morrison told the Council that Phase 1 which uses Crystal View Drive for access has become a race track. “We need some mitigation to address traffic, speed limits and parking issues,” said Morrison. “We are nervous abuot traffic issues within our sub-division.”

He stated he was disappointed that a left-hand turn lane hasn’t been constructed on Hwy. 150 for traffic coming east from Manson. Morrison remarked that with all the development in Manson and the potential for further development up hill from both Legacy Ridge and Crystal View will create more traffic problems. “Once you start… where do you stop,” he asked.

He would like to see a flashing light, left turn lights and more reduced speed limits on Hwy. 150.

Legacy Ridge is required to improve the SR150/Crystal View Drive Intersection in Phase 3 which could include a left hand turn lane. Morrison remarked that a roundabout would work better at the intersection. “It’s just a matter of time before someone is killed.”

On a broader issue, Morrison asked how the City/County Planning Departments are enhancing the quality of life. “There are no hiking or walking trails in the development plans. What is your development going to do to enhance the quality of life,” said Morrison.

Councilman Ty Witt

Councilman Ty Witt remarked that the Parks Department is working on a recreation plan that includes the Northshore Pathway construction.

Councilman Peter Jamtgaard asked if it was possible to put sunset clauses on permits. Craig Gildroy said it was. Morrison added that it was supposed to be a six to seven year development that has extended to 15 or 16 years already. Councilman Tim Hollingsworth remarked that the Hearing Examiner has signed off on the motion.

Councilman Chris Baker said developers have an advantage. “They massively scrap the hillsides off without giving something back like hiking paths.” He added that the Lookout gives $1,000 per sale back to the City on every sale. “No one else does. None of them, and it is a shame.”

Council unanimously approved the final plat approval.

IN OTHER BUSINESS:

Chelan Parks Director Paul Horne reported to Council that the 12 Tribes Colville Casino has made a donation of $5,554.56 to the Chelan Department of Parks and Recreation.

Parks Director Paul Horne informed the Council that the 12 Tribes Coville Casino has donated $5500 to the Parks Department for use at Lakeside Park.

Casino General Manager Scott Ward recommended the donation through their Change for Charities program to help benefit children in the community.

Horne told the Council that he appreciates the donation and would like the funds be allocated to playground equipment at Lakeside Park.

Chelan Parks is eligible to receive a $500,000 grant for a major renovation project.

In other Parks news, Horne asked the Council to approve a professional services agreement with Reiss-Landreau Research Inc. (RLR). RLR is a cultural resources management consulting company that will conduct a thorough Archeological Survey at Lakeside Park.

The survey is a requirement that the Park needs accomplished to be eligible to receive a $500,000 grant from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund for the Lakeside Redevelopment Project which they are close to receiving. The grant would be managed by the National Parks Service.

The Lakeside Parks project failed to be awarded in 2018, falling just short of the 10 applications approved. “We re-applied in 2020,” said Horne. He added that the Federal Government changed the guidelines and it has taken a year for the agencies to get back up to speed.

Revitalization efforts tabled until the new year

by Richard Uhlhorn

A number of business and downtown building owners filled Council Chambers to comment on the proposed Memorandum of Understanding
between the HDCA and City on downtown revitalization

The HDCA’s Downtown Revitalization Project hit a major speed bump at the Tuesday, November 23 City Council meeting. Prior to a motion consideration to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and HDCA a Special Presentation was on the evening’s agenda to hear more Citizen comments.

Organized and put on the agenda by Councilman John Olson, a number of business and building owners came to the meeting and made a series of remarks that were not in support of the current revitalization plan.

The proposed MOU would outline specific roles and responsibilities between the City and HDCA. Because the proposed revitalization project is on City property, the City would end up being the contracting agency and owner of the project.

The HDCA project is aimed at providing a roadmap for future downtown upgrades that retain the downtown historic ambiance while enhancing its future viability and relevance.

Ruby Theater owner Larry Hibbard was outspoken in his opposition to the current revitalization plan for the downtown corridor.

Larry Hibbard, owner of the Ruby Theater told the council that he has concerns about the plan. His concerns was the plan to widen sidewalks, install up to five or more crosswalks which would, in effect, reduce the number of parking stalls by up to 10 percent. “Where are we headed,” he asked. “I think downtown Chelan is working very well.”

His other concern was the sustainability of keeping the Ruby open during a major downtown construction project. “We were closed with no income for 71 weeks because of the pandemic. It will take years to recover and the Ruby cannot afford or survive a major construction project.”

Tom Campbell told the Council that all parties need to take an objective look at the HDCA Project.

Tom Campbell, Campbell’s Resort, remarked that the revitalization project is a hot button, issue with downtown business owner and while he said he loves the energy, he added “Everyone needs to take an objective look at the project.”

Downtown building owner, David Weldy said the City needs to look at its deteriorating infrastructure before moving forward with an MOU.

David Weldy, building owner, remarked that the downtown was deteriorating and mentioned the City owned, old PUD parking lot as an example.

Garth Donald, owner of Stormy Mountain Brewing urged the Council
to move forward with the MOU.

Garth Donald, Stormy Mountain Brewing owner, was the only individual who spoke for moving ahead with the MOU. He feels that wider sidewalks would contribute to the community’s quality of life. “It’s really important that we make the downtown better for both residents and visitors,” said Donald.

Once the special presentation by business owners was over, HDCA board president Steve Clark addressed the Council. He said the HDCA plan is a broad concept for the enhancement of the community. “It is focused on the community wishes,” he stated.

HDCA board president Steve Clark said approval of the MOU presented would open up an effort to design elements of the revitalization effort.

“We are providing the Council with a concept. It’s at a stage where detailed design would occur,” said Clark. He encouraged the Council to approve the development of a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and HDCA.

Councilmembers opened up for discussion with Ty Witt stating that an MOU was not committing to the project. He also feels that the City needs continued public input.

Ty Witt remarked that the MOU was not a commitment to the project, but also felt that the City needs more public input.

Servando Robledo remarked that there are a lot of concerns about the proposed package.

Servando Robledo was concerned that if now approved, the MOU might disappear and not be brought forth again.

Clark replied that it is only the design phase. “What we are suggesting is that ore attention be spent on pedestrian traffic.”

Peter Jamtgaard said, “I think the plan needs a lot more work.” Tim Hollingsworth stated that there was a lot to like in the plan, but said he was not ready to move forward given the difference of opinions. “Let’s keep it moving,” he said. His concern was the fact that many business and building owners are at odds with the plan.

“I would like some of the folks like Campbell’s and others sit down and take the time to have a better dialogue,” said Hollingsworth.

John Olson agreed with Hollingsworth that the plan needs to ferment a bit. “There is a large gap… discord. I still hear (complaints) on the bridge modification. I suggest that this be tabled.” Witt agreed.

City Administrator Wade Ferris explained that the Council would have to approve any further advancement of the HDCA’s revitalization project.

City Administrator Wade Ferris told the Council that the purpose of the MOU is to come up with some kind of concept in the next phases. “They have to be approved by the Council. You are not approving a plan to rip up sidewalks.”

Hollingsworth replied that the MOU outlines specific duties. “I don’t think we have a broad consensus (to move forward),” he said. Robledo replied that if the Council doesn’t move forward, they won’t know when it will back again.

Mayor Goedde said, “I can’t vote on this, but I’m not signing this.. the Mayor Pro Tem can.”

No motion to move forward was offered and City Attorney Quentin Batjar said if a motion doesn’t advance that it would die. Olson suggested tabling the motion until next year and this was approved by the Council.

Since Erin McCardle has resigned her position as executive director of the HDCA effective on December 31, it will be up to the board to find a new director and to address concerns with the plan.

CHELAN FIRE STICKS WITH $1.10/$1,000 LEVY

by Richard Uhlhorn

CITY-FIRE DEPARTMENT AGREEMENT FOR FIRE SERVICES:

The agreement for Fire Services with the City of Chelan has been in the works for four to five years and Chelan Fire would like to get an agreement in place before next year’s Fire Department’s WRSB Insurance Rating evaluation.

“It’s been four to five years we have been trying to get an agreement with the City of Chelan,” said Commissioner Russ Jones. “I’m a little worried. We have to have it in place and we’ve gone through several (city) administrators on this. I think we need to draw a line in the sand.”

Chief Mark Donnell said he could get on the City Council’s agenda on December 14 to discuss the importance of reaching an agreement.

Fire Chief Mark Donnell will seek an audience with the Chelan City Council on December 14 regarding a Fire Services agreement between the City and Fire Department.

The agreement would include giving the Fire District maintenance issues like making sure the City’s fire hydrants are in working order. Currently fire hydrant maintenance is a City responsibility.

Fire Commission Chairman Phil Moller is not in support of hiring a new Assistant Fire chief.

ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF POSITION:

A heated discussion ensued on whether or not the Department should replace Brandon Asher’s Assistant Chief position when he officially takes over the Chief’s position when Mark Donnell retires at the end of December.

Assistant Chief Brandon Asher strongly argued that an Assistant Fire Chief was essential to the ongoing operations at the Department.

Phil Moller, board chair, stated that he didn’t think the Department needed an Assistant Chief, but instead designating a career fire fighter as the Assistant Chief. Brandon Asher argued that hundred’s of hours have been spent by him and Chief Donnell in the Chief’s and Assistant Chief’s position.

Elevating a career firefighter to that position would mean any extra hours worked beyond shift work would create lots of overtime. “That person has to be very functional,” said Asher. “He would be integrated with everything. I can’t work 365 days a year and he would fill in when I’m gone. We need to have that flexibility.

Russ Jones asked Moller if it was the title associated with the position? Karyl Oules said to Asher, “I hear what you are saying, but I need to look at this more.” Jones added that the job description and how they want it titled.

Chief Donnell chimed in and said that if it was a Captain upgraded to Assistant Chief, the Department was in essence opening the position to Union bargaining. “Overtime would become an issue,” said Donnell. “It is an administrative position along with field work. I believe the job description has been updated.”

Donnell added that next year there would be another $500 million available for Safer Grants and that the Department would be putting in for another grant. “It is an integral position.”

Jones said, “I guess I didn’t see any issues with it. I personally don’t have a comment on it.” Moller reiterated his position by saying, “I just don’t feel we need that guy right now. We don’t need to do it tomorrow.”

Asher replied, “It is a huge need for two people. You are constantly on call. One person cannot do that work.”

Jones remarked that from a numbers standpoint, the Commission had time to look at the position.

Chief Asher congratulates Commissioner Russ Jones on becoming a Nationally certified EMT.

AIRPORT LEASE:

The District has been on a year to year lease with the City for its fire station at the Chelan Airport. Asher stated that there is no increase in the $2,739 per year lease. “It is a 20 year lease with no increase price and it includes water.”

REVENUE:

Asher told the Commission that the Department received $89,155 from the existing Safer Grant which ends this year, another $9,000 in State Mob money from 2020, and that another $96,000 is expected from 2021 State Mob revenues.

CALLS FOR SERVICE:

The department responded to 67 calls for service in October which is down from an average of 74. This month, so far, there have been a total of 51 Calls for Service, eight of which were Advanced Life Support calls, 20 were Basic Life Support and 23 were No Transport calls.

Five hundred eighty one calls for service have been answered this year.

FIRE:

Dan Miner was elevated to Captain from LT.

The department responded to two brush fires and a Structure fire on Markeson Street that was a total loss. “When the residents left, they left the front door open which created a path for the fire which started in the back of the house,” said Asher who was on scene within three minutes of the call out. The nearest fire hydrant was 350 feet away which forced Asher to use some residents to help try to suppress the fire. “That’s not what we want to do,” said Asher.

The Department will conduct a training fire on Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. at 221 Nixon Street.

FIRE ASSOCIATION:

Dan Crandall is stepping down from the Presidency of the Fire Associaiton.

Association president Dan Crandall reported that the Association brought in $263.00 in revenue in October and spent $872.00. The current bank balance is $30,895.00.

Crandall notified the Commission and Administration that he is stepping down as President of the Fire Association on December 31. A new president will be nominated by the board at that time. “I will be staying on as an executive committee member,” said Crandall.

Crandall reported that both the Parade Truck and Marine 71 have been decked out with Christmas lights.

There will be a Holiday Social for the Fire Department on Tuesday, November 30 at 6 p.m. at Laylas.

City Council considers HDCA revitalization efforts

by Richard Uhlhorn

HDCA REVITALIZATION:

City Council members heard a presentation to update the council on the Historic Downtown Chelan Association’s (HDCA) revitalization efforts.

Steve Clark, a HDCA board member, told the Council that they know there are things that need to be fixed, rehabilitated and addressed.

The HDCA and City are partnering to advance the City’s Comprehensive Plan initiatives, identified Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) projects, and the Downtown Master Plan initiatives.

Dan Ireland from SCJ Alliance told the council that the project is staying consistent with the HDCA’s Main Street Program to increase economic vitality, keep view corridors and connections between amenities. “People are spending more time downtown,” said ? “There have been a lot of changes over the years. Pubic outreach is very important.”

Dan Ireland, SCJ Alliance presented information about the downtown revitalization efforts.

The Public Survey conducted earlier this year had 1,600 responses from a broad cross section of residents.

The wish list includes more food trucks, lighting and wider sidewalks. “Walk-ability is a big issue here,” said Ireland “What people wanted to see was an expansion of sidewalks. They want a more walkable downtown.”

Outdoor dining options was also high on the list along with the quality of life in the downtown corridors.

Mayor Bob Goedde may be the only City official who doesn’t want to see Chelan change. He would prefer the downtown area remain the same as it has been since 1965. “Let’s take it to the Post Office and see what residents say,” said Goedde. “There are a lot of questions to answer.”

John Olson stated that everyone in town is aware of traffic changes and the unintended consequences.

HDCA Boardmember Steve Clark addressed the City Council regarding the efforts to revitalize the downtown historic area.

AIRPORT:

City Administrator Wade Ferris said the next step in the proposed Airport revisions is for the Council to approve the Airport Layout Plan which has been reviewed by all FAA divisions with no further comments.

When the documents are all approved by all parties, the next step is conducting an Environmental Assessment.

Erin McCardle asked what the time of the EA was and Ferris replied there was no estimate on timing. He added that easements needed to be acquired and property purchased for the extension of the runway that will accommodate larger aircraft including business jets.

The costs will be borne by both the City and the Port of Chelan County as owners of the airport.

Mayor Goedde stated that everything is coming up and that there is a possibility to do everything in one stroke. The City is waiting on funding for a water line to the airport which, when it happens will change the entire area.

Tim Hollingsworth asked by the City was spending money on the airport. “We haven’t seen the economic impact.” Mayor Goedde replied that people are coming back and forth. “This needs to happen.” Ferris added that the project would also bring the airport up to FAA standards.

MOTION CONSIDERATIONS:

The Council authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute the 2022 – 2024 agreement for animal control with the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society.

Council also authorized the Mayor to finalize the City’s agreement for Prosecution Services.

Council authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute an amendment of the No. 1 Water System Plan which will incorporate waterlines to the airport.

The Council also authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute and agreement with RH2 Engineers for investigating undergrounding dry utilities during construction of the downtown alley utility project.

Rate and Fee changes:

For residential properties that have a Accessory Dwelling Unit on the property, the City will not add an additional charge in addition to that of the primary residence and no additional sanitation charges will be applied beyond that of the primary residence.

Parks Director Paul Horne told the Council that there would be an overall seven percent increase on parking with an all day rate of $30 with residential day passes going from $10 to $20.

The Fall Season rates at the Lakeshore RV park from Labor Day through September 30 will be charged as follows:

                        2022 – RV, $54 – Tent, $40

                        2023 – RV, $62 – Tent, $46

                        2024 – RV, $74 – Tent, $53

Winter monthly rates from October 1 to April are as follows:

                        2022 – $798; 2023 – $910; and 2024 – $1039

Hollingsworth said there had been a lot of discussion regarding the RV Park and Ty Witt added that $1000.00 a month for a RV spot was too much. “It seems like a lot of money for a family in need of a place to pay.”

Horne replied that the Parks Department was trying to attract a good balance of families that need a place to rent.

With levy passage, Fire District is budgeting for more dollars

by Richard Uhlhorn

We just got an update on how the levy rate works. As I thought we can levy at a rate below $1.10 and the County will only collect what we actually levy.

Chelan Fire and Rescue held a budget hearing on Wednesday, November 3, to discuss and receive feedback on the proposed 2022 and beyond budget.

UPDATE

The Commission can choose to lower the Levy from $1.10 per thousand in valuation and the County will only collect that amount from the property owners instead of what was reported at the November 3 Budget Meeting.

Assistant Chief Brandon Asher thanked everyone who worked to get the Levy Lid Lift passed. “We appreciated all of the hard work you did,” said Asher. “Luckily we are going over the budget we wanted to present.”

Commissioner Oules remarked that perhaps the District wouldn’t need the $1.10 per $1,000 tax based on the new October 20, 2021 Chelan County Assessor’s Preliminary Values for 2022 which came in at $3,506,519.00 and includes property valuations and new construction.

Under the current valuations, the District expects to bring in $3,506,519.00 in tax revenue and another $10,000 in other revenue (with State Mobilizations this is usually more).

The levy passage will allow the District to hire three more career firefighters which would mean that three personnel are at the Station 24/7. They would also bring on three seasonal firefighters instead of two. “That gives us a lot of advantages,” said Asher.

The levy also will allow the District to put $250,000 in it Apparatus Replacement fund. This is important since much of the moving equipment is approaching its end of life cycle. Trucks will be able to be updated with the passage.

Asher also reported a new expense that wasn’t considered in the budget initially. “The roof is going to have to be replaced,” he said. The cost is estimated at $125,000.

Fire Chief Mark Donnell stated that the proposed budget is a very conservative estimate. “With variations in the economy, it can go up or down,” he said. Inflation is a big concern. “We have to account for that.”

Donnell is also apprehensive about the commissioners electing to lower the $1.10 amount to be collected to $1.01. “If we do take less, the county still would collect the $1.10. That money is going to be collected.”

Russ Jones asked if it was possible for the commissioners to lower the amount collected for the District and not have the County collect the $1.10. Donnell replied that, to his knowledge, the County would still collect the $1.10 which would stay in the bank. “What a screwy system,” said Jones. “I don’t disagree,” said Donnell.

It was pointed out that a decision on the amount collected didn’t need to be made at this hearing. Oules suggested taking the excess and putting it into a holding position.

Resident Tim Sullivan told the Commission to take the full $1.10 and use it. “There is a lot you can do with that money,” he said. Ron Simmons, a retired chief and committee member, stated that as a public process the committee thought through a lot of things. “Career firefighters are an expense, but three more people would give the District 24/7 coverage. That’s very important and gives the District a better staffing model.”

The next budget hearing will be on Wednesday, November 10, beginning at 5 p.m. The public is invited to attend in person and/or by ZOOM. Chelan County Assessor Deanna Walters will attend the meeting via ZOOM to explain the how tax collection in the County will work.

City looking at a Transportation Benefit District… more tax possible

by Richard Uhlhorn

City Administrator Farris presented the American Rescue Plan, Transportation Benefit Districts and Tax Increment Funding information to Council at the Strategic Retreat on September 25, 2021. Due to time constraints, it was decided to continue the discussion at a Regular Council meeting.

City Administrator Wade Ferris presented a potential for the City to create a Transportation Benefit District and ways to finance projects which could include a new 0.2% sales tax.

Ferris gave the Council an update on the potential of the city creating a Transportation Benefit District (TBD). “It is another source of funding for transportation projects,” said Ferris. “Something this community needs is sidewalks,” he added.

He explained that there are two ways the City could raise money within a TBD. The first is to apply a fee to car tabs without voter approval starting at $20 and increasing up to $40 after the $20 fee has been in effect for 24 months and then up to $50 after the $40 fee has been in effect for 24 months.

Any license fees over these amounts, up to a maximum of $100 must be approved by a simple majority of voters. “I don’t think our constituents would be happy with this,” he added.

The other common funding source fot TBDs is a sales and use tax up to 0.2% which must be approved by a simple majority of voters. “The impact of this method is a lot less,” said Ferris. “Visitors would also help pay and it would be hardly noticeable.”

The only downside to a 0.2% sales tax is voter resistance to a new tax. To make it happen, it would require a public hearing to establish a boundary, which would be the city limits.

A governing board would be established with city council. The sales tax method would only stay in place for 10 years. “It could not stay in place (after 10 years) without public approval,” stated Ferris.

Councilman Chris Baker remarked that the a fire levy and school levy are already in front of or will be in front of the public.

Councilman Peter Jamtgaard added that the City would need to more specific with its plans instead of just adding another tax. Councilman John Olson said, “Let’s see what has happened in other communities. It would be nice to hear about it.”

Councilwoman Erin McCardle asked, “Where is that funding going. What are we adding to the mix that we can’t do today?”

Jamtgaard added that it would be nice to see photos and examples of projects. “It is hard for people to visualize projects.”

Ferris said he would move forward with getting answers to the questions and try to get the measure on the ballot in 2022.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth add that it would be good for these funds if the City had something to sell to the public.

Ferris suggested forming the District and then deciding what to do. Councilman Ty Witt stated that he personally sees this as a hard sell. “Fifty percent of the voters are not going to benefit from this. Why would they vote for sidewalks not in their neighborhood?”

Mayor Goedde remarked that the 0.2% Toyota Tax has a Sunset Clause. Witt said he had a meeting on Thursday and would check on that.

Public Works:

Due to the pending demolition of the existing Public Works Department’s Administrative Facility the City Council has approved a temporary office rental to maintain operations.

The plan is to rent 1000 square feet at the Chelan Business Center for $1,300 a month. “This will buy us time until the new building is finished,” said Public Works Director Jake Youngren. The Council approved the rental,

FINANCE:

Residents will soon be able to set-up payments to the City through Invoice Cloud (a partner with Vision Utility Billing) providing customers to have online access to their account information. This promotes E-Billing (paperless billing) and enables customers to pay bills using a wide variety of methods including credit cards, Online Bank Direct -ACH payment from customer bank to the City – Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, PayPal, autopay, pay by text, e-checks and others as they become available.

Customer use of invoice cloud will be voluntary and require action on the customers part to set up an account or pay as a visitor. Customers wishing to receive a paper invoice and pay by check or other means as is currently done will be able to continue doing so.

The City currently issues 2,900 bills / month. Of these 1,150 are direct debit payments, 200 online credit card payments, and 150 bank issue checks per month.

1. Savings in postage, copier costs, and staff time.

2. Invoice Cloud is integrated with Vision Utility Billing. Customers will have online access to account information, and customer payments through Invoice Cloud will be deposited to the City bank account and payment information posted to customer accounts electronically.

3. Customers who sign up for e-billing will receive invoices and reminders by text or email, as well as electronic flyers.

4. Customers will be able to pay their utility bills when they want, and to use the payment method of their choosing.

5. Credit card acceptance at City Hall using a “kiosk” approach.

6. Landlords will have the ability to set up their account, and grant access to tenants (when the tenant is responsible for the utility bill).

7. Features Cloud Store which provides a shopping cart ability to pay more than one invoice per process and Cloud Payment allows integration with third party systems to accept payments for non-invoiced items (perhaps, parking or permits, or perhaps program enrollments).

8. The City would hold no bank or credit card information, and PCI compliance will be the responsibility of InvoiceCloud.

Costs – City:

1. $100 per month ($1,200 per year) access fee – maintenance, support, upgrades, and access to the system for the City and customers.

2. $.40 per paperless invoice issued (current postage cost is $.53 per invoice plus envelope, plus handling). Customer Costs 1. 2.95% per transaction for credit cards with a minimum of $1.95. Current card charges are 2.5% with a $2.00 minimum charge.

3. E-Check Fee $1.95. Current charge is $1.50 3. ACH Autopay – $.95 per transaction

4. Online Bank Direct $.20 per per check (would replace direct debit. Online Bank Direct will allow e-billing, which does not support direct debit))

5. Credit Card or ACH rejects (NSF) – $15 (in addition to City $25 NSF fee)

Parks Branding:

Parks Director Paul Horne told the Council that the branding project being proposed was not going off in left field in answer to the City’s Way Finding efforts. “The Chamber has done well with branding. We had four firms and this group (Arnett Muldrow) specializes in this kind of work,” said Horne.

Parks Director Paul Horne stated that the upcoming Branding Project for the City’s Parks will remain consistent with the City’s Way Finding efforts.

The plan is to stay consistent with the current branding efforts. Cost of the project is $11,000 with $4,000 held in contingencies. Horne reported that the design team will work closely with the HDCA and Chamber of Commerce to insure the branding efforts will complement other branding efforts.

McCardle said she was excited to see how those various projects are tied together. “It will elevate the awareness of what we have in this valley.”

Olson asked if the PUD parks were included because visitors don’t know the difference. Horne said the PUD parks were not a part of the project.

The council authorized the Mayor to execute and finalize the contract with Arnett Muldrow & Associates.

Mayor/Council comments:

Hollingsworth remarked that a letter received from downtown businesses showing a rift between businesses over potential work in the alley between Columbia and Emerson Streets. “I hope they can bring some consensus with the downtown businesses,” he said. “It they want real support, they need to come up unified and bury the hatchet. There has to be a solution there.”

Public Works Director Jake Youngren said the issues are something public works is completely aware of. “We will do what we can to provide sanitation during construction,” he said. He said the game plan was to bring in a 20-yard garbage container and a 10-yard recycle container using the old Chamber parking lot.

John Olson was not happy with the Chamber requesting $800,000 next year to solicit more visitors. “We obviously are failing to adequately serve the visitors that we already have.” He stated that the Chamber reported 2 million annual visitors to Chelan.

City Council member John Olson is concerned with the failing infrastructure and the massive new development in the City.

Olson also remarked that Chelan’s infrastructure hasn’t changed significantly since he was a child 70 years ago. “We have a failing infrastructure already, as we discussed tonight, and there are thousands of housing units being developed right now”

Olson also stated that he attended the Keep It Blue campaign meeting at the Boat Club last week and said there are some issues on the lake that we should all be aware of.

Mayor Goedde announced that LINK will be developing new routes throughout the valley.

Ferris said the Airport management will begin clocking the number of landings and takeoffs at the Chelan Airport, which is important information when going after grants.

Mayor Goedde added that a commercial airline wants to use the airport twice a day. He also stated it was important to get water flow to the airport so it could develop.

The next Council meeting will be held on November 9 beginning at 6 p.m.

Hospital planning for the future

by Richard Uhlhorn

Mary Murphy, board chair of the Hospital commission said she had been thinking a lot about change and is hopes that it takes care of itself. She added that she appreciates the work being put in by the executive branch, leadership teams and board. “I think we are making very good progress to make the organization work well,” said Murphy in her opening statement at Lake Chelan Health’s board meeting on Tuesday, October 26.

FINANCE:

CFO Cheryl Cornwell reported that the hospital lost $472,577 in September. The hospital’s operating revenue was $1,535,424 for September. “The CARES funding will add several millions to the revenue,” said Cornwell. “We are still waiting on Medicare which will add another million to the bottom line. In the end, we are going to get paid what we get paid. It’s an odd time to do hospital accounting.”

She also asked the board to get out of the contract with Quorum. “It is costing us a lot of money,” she said. “It has been detrimental to us when it was supposed to be beneficial.”

Murphy said the hospital’s attorney would need to be involved in that. Cornwell replied that the contract is not good for the hospital. Jeremy Jaech stated that if the contract is costing the hospital money, it shouldn’t be a problem to opt out.

FACILITIES:

Signorelli reported that she has sought three property evaluations from three different real estate agencies on Heritage Heights. She has received two and expected a third on October 27. “I will send the valuations to the board.”

Heritage Heights has asked to extend its contract over the 25 years it has remaining. Signorelli recommended that the board consider turning the current lease into a lease to purchase which would put them into an ownership position. “At the end of the lease, the property would not revert back to us… they would own the property.” Signorelli added that a decision needs to be made of what would work best for the hospital and Heritage Heights. Jordana LaPorte reminded the board that the property was an asset to the District. “We need to do the right thing for the District,” she said.

Signorelli said the board would discuss what they want to do at the next board meeting in November.

Fred Miller reported that the new hospital is on budget and on time.

Agustin Venegas, marketing manager, has been working on the Hospital’s transition plan and told the board that the remodeling expense for the third floor (business offices) would be minimal. The Clinic and Express Clinic will reside on the second floor.

EMS and other operations will remain on the first floor,The board has retained the services of Kimberly McNalley, a board certified coach, who will help with board development.

BOARD DEVELOPMENT:

McNalley told the board that she will  observe their meetings silently and is intending to plan on a board development session on November 17. “Where do we best spend out time together,” she asked. McNalley asked the members to give her a complete individual conflict profile by November 5. “We can then customize how to spend our time together.” McNalley is a highly respected coach with 22 years experience in the medical field. When they meet for a half-day development session, McNalley will be asking the board members for their perspective.

Shawn Ottley, the hospital’s quality director, reported that he is looking over changes that past CEO George Rohrich proposed for the hospital’s organizational chart. He stated that there were some challenges.

Cheryl Cornwell, the hospital’s CFO, told the board that they need to make Ottley the hospital’s COO. “We are in dire need of higher leadership doing the work that needs done,” she stated. “I don’t want to wait two months or even a month,” said Cornwell.

Murphy replied that the board needs to take more time and hold a special meeting on the subject. “It’s not something we can push down the road. We need to schedule some time and have the resource managers in the room.”

Mary Signorelli said she appreciates the initiative Ottley has taken in tackling the subject. “I appreciate your work.”

Ottley reported that he is putting the strategic plan in a form that is more strategic towards goals within department levels. “How are we going to get there. The leadership team will take the rest of November to polish the strategic plan. Ottley said he would send the board updates on the progress.

The board is putting together the pieces of a CEO transition plan and will be working closely with the Human Resources office. “I hope to meet in the next week or two,” said Murphy. She thanked the staff for weighing in on the process.

Signorelli remarked that she thought the new CEO should have experience in Critical Access Hospitals. “That will help us hone down the applicants.”

Regarding a recruitment flow chart, Murphy said it has been a challenge. “What is the procedure for hiring the best CEO,” she asked. “Finding a balance has been a challenge.”

The next full board meeting will be on November 30 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on ZOOM.

Keep It Blue to launch membership drive and fund raising efforts Thursday

by Richard Uhlhorn

A Keep It Blue Membership and Fundraising Event will be held at the Lake Chelan Boat Club from 4 to 6 p.m.
on Thursday, October 21.

On Tuesday evening, October 12, Phil Long, director of the Lake Chelan Research Institute and Mike Kaputa, director of Chelan County’s Natural Resources Division, delivered a Lake Chelan water quality update.

Dr. Phil Long presented a State of the Lake report to City Council on Tuesday, October 12.

“If you go to the middle of the lake, the quality is the same as it was in 1987,” stated Long who added that the story is a lot different along the lake’s shoreline, particularly n the Wapato Basin. Algae which had been non-existent for years is now showing up on rocks along the shoreline. “We are seeing something going on along the shoreline,” said Long.

Algae forms with nutrient input (such as phosphorus). “Lake Chelan is a very large protected lake managed by the Forest Service in the upper Lucerne Basin,” said Long.

Algae clinging to a rock at the Forest Service micro park.

The nutrients being added to the lake can come from and overuse of lawn fertilizers, goose poop which can be seen at Lakeside Park and Sunset Marina on the docks.

Goose poop could be one of the major contributors to algae growth.

Other issues facing the near-shore environment is the aquatic invasive species which right now includes a healthy invasion of Asian mussels and milfoil in certain areas of the lake. “There is 12 acres of milfoil in the Wapato Basin,” said Long. Long mentioned the potential use of D.A.S.H. (D.A.S.H. stands for Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting and is an alternative to chemical use to kill unwanted plants. Divers identify unwanted non-native or invasive plants that need to be removed, pull them out by the roots and feed them into a suction tube that transports the plants to a boat to be hauled away.)

Mike Kaputa

Kaputa thanked the City and Council for their dedication and funding support of the County’s and Institute’s ongoing monitoring of the lake. “We are pooling our resources for this work.”

Kaputa went on to say he’s sorry Cameron ‘Skip’ Morehouse is no longer with us (Morehouse passed away in September). “Skip helped secure local funding when he was on the council and was a regular participant with the Watershed Planning Unit,” said Kaputa. “I enjoyed working with him.”

Cameron Skip Morehouse who passed away this past September, was one of the main proponents on City Council for funding the monitoring efforts on Lake Chelan.

Kaputa went on to say, “Lake Chelan is at a very high risk for the introduction of Zebra and other invasive mussels. It’s just a matter of time before they show up in Washington.”

Washington currently has three inspection stations at its borders. “What we don’t have is what they have at Lake Whatcom.” Whatcom County and Bellingham have a well-known program for boat inspections entering their waters which is financed by their own efforts. One-third of the $450,000 funding comes from the sale of stickers.

In 2022 Lake Chelan will a voluntary inspection program for boaters coming to the lake.

Public Works Director Jake Youngren remarked that the department inspects the raw water reservoir before the water goes into the treatment facility and that they get a “substantial amount of them (Asian clams) there.”

Kaputa requested that the City Council add one more year to its five-year funding commitment to help continue the work on keeping Lake Chelan healthy and clean. The Council unanimously agreed to that request.

CHELAN — The Keep It Blue campaign, which is dedicated to the long-term protection of Lake Chelan’s water quality and supply, will release its first State of the Lake Report on Thursday, Oct. 21.

The report will be released at the Keep It Blue Membership Program Launch Party and Fundraising Event, to be held 4 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 21 at the Lake Chelan Boat Club. The event, which is open to the public, not only is an opportunity for people to join the Lake Chelan campaign but also to visit information booths and listen to presenters who will talk about water quality issues.

“We are releasing the 2021 State of the Lake Report and, at the same time, inviting people to join us in building upon this important effort,” said Mike Kaputa, director of the Chelan County Natural Resources Department. “The Keep It Blue campaign is one that impacts anyone who depends upon or enjoys Lake Chelan.”

The Keep it Blue campaign is an effort of the Lake Chelan Watershed Planning Unit, which is made up of a collection of stakeholders, including Natural Resources and the Lake Chelan Research Institute. The partners formed Keep It Blue as a way to not only monitor the quality of Lake Chelan, the largest natural lake in the state and the third deepest in the nation, but also to educate the public about community-based actions that will help protect the lake.  With the substantial development around it over recent decades and its increasing popularity with tourists, the lake has grown into a key economic driver for the region.

The report, which will be released annually, covers key water quality metrics such as water clarity, phosphorus and chlorophyll concentrations, dissolved oxygen depletion rates, and the growth of near shore algae and aquatic invasive species.

Among the highlights in the 2021 report, which will be available at the event as well as at www.keepitbluelakechelan.org, is that Lake Chelan “exhibits remarkable long-term stability in water clarity, nutrient concentrations and growth of algae.” This is due to the large, mostly pristine nature of the lake’s watershed, according to the report.

The report also states that the near shore environment of Lake Chelan is less stable, undergoing a transition in which algae along the shoreline has increased and aquatic invasive species have expanded over the last few decades. The Lake Chelan Research Institute and Natural Resources are focusing their attention on addressing near shore water quality, or specifically, pathogen indicators and aquatic invasive species.

Funding and in-kind support for the long-term monitoring of the lake is provided by Chelan County, the city of Chelan, the Lake Chelan Reclamation District, Cascadia Conservation District, Chelan PUD, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Washington State Department of Ecology and the U.S. Forest Service.

In addition, numerous businesses, including Campbell’s Resort, Cashmere Valley Bank and private individuals have provided financial support to the Lake Chelan Research Institute.

However, the Oct. 21 public event is an opportunity to build upon the campaign’s effort, increasing membership to fund future monitoring efforts and studies. The Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring all 400 of its businesses in the Chelan and Manson areas to the membership program in its first year. More information about membership is at www.keepitbluelakechelan.org/membership.

“Through our partnership with the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, the Keep It Blue membership program will help to create a community of dedicated people who share the responsibility of promoting sustainable practices and protecting water quality in Lake Chelan,” said Lisa Dowling, a member of the Keep it Blue Board and a natural resource specialist with the county.

Chelan Fire needs your support for the District’s future needs

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan County Fire District #7 (Chelan Fire & Rescue) is asking voters to approve the first Levy Lid Lift in 15 years. The Levy Lid Lift rate for Proposition 1 is at $1.10 and is based on the July assessments from the Chelan County Assessor.

“We took the latest assessment values from the Assessor we could get before the deadline to get the levy on the ballot,” said Chief Mark Donnell in a telephone conversation.

At the non-meeting on Wednesday; Phil Moller was tied up in Wenatchee and Karyl Oules was also unavailable, so there was no quorum.  Chelan property owner Al Lorenz was at the meeting and gave the District what he calls the newest assessment numbers which could potentially give the District an additional $400,000 over their projected revenues.

Donnell stated that the District has not received the official preliminary value statement from the assessor’s office and said the numbers could change again.

Donnell said that even with the potential increase in tax revenue, the District will still have barely enough funds to do what needs to be done; primarily upgrading outdated fire units.

The Assessor’s office gave a $3,204,549,974.00 valuation for 2021 back in July, which was the number used by the District to project their figures. New assessment numbers will not be out for several more weeks.

In 2022, based on the Assessor’s July figures, the District would receive a projected $3,506,519.46 at the approved Levy rate of $1.10 per thousand of valuation. In 2023, it would receive a projected $3,435,337.00 at a $1.07 per thousand.

If the Levy fails, in 2022, the District would receive a projected $2,467,503.40 at the current $.78 cents per thousand.

If the voters decide to fail the levy lid lift (the first request for a funding increase in 15 years), the District would struggle to maintain the needed level of service and it would potentially result in having to let some personnel go.

Chelan’s EMS at Lake Chelan Health had no problem increasing their levy amount in order to purchase two new ambulances to replace the ambulances that are beyond their life span.

Chelan Fire District also has equipment that has reached or will reach its life span. The Fire District’s property owners deserve the best service.

With more and more properties being developed in the Lake Chelan Valley in the urban/wildland interface, the importance of having a well trained professional staff and volunteer base is necessary.

No one wants to relive the horrors of the 2015 Chelan Complex when South Chelan was in danger of being destroyed. This year’s wildfire in the 25-Mile Creek drainage could have been devastating to the homes on the South Shore and First Creek if it had been allowed to cross over into those two drainages.

Your YES vote guarantees continued quality service. If, for some reason, you vote NO on Proposition 1, be assured that Chelan Fire and Rescue will continue to respond to emergencies, but probably at much lower service level.