City workshop explores upcoming issues

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by Richard Uhlhorn

On Tuesday, August 7, Chelan City Council held a special workshop to discuss issues facing the City.

Lake Chelan Sewer District:

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Public Works Director Jake Youngren reported on the Lake Chelan Sewer District at a City Council workshop on Tuesday, August 7.

Public Works Director Jake Youngren had the first item on the list of issues. He told the Council that the Lake Chelan Sewer District has expressed an interest and voted in favor of a one year extension to its agreement with the City of Chelan Public Works Department for operation of and maintenance to its sewer system.

The Lake Chelan Sewer District (LCSD) was formed in 1956 and has been serving the south shore of Lake Chelan from Minneapolis Beach to its terminus at Lakeside. LCSD currently serves approximately 256 south shore residents and has combined with the Bear Mountain Water District.

LCSD was originally run by Chelan County PUD until they got out of the sewer business and it was turned over to the City.

“It is about four percent of our effluent intake at the plant,” said Youngren who added that it costs in the neighborhood of $65,000 to operate and maintain the system. “Their infrastructure is pretty new,” said Youngren. “Anytime we have an upgrade, they contribute .”

Chelan Finance Director Cheryl Grant added that the City also receives administrative costs from the district.

There is a possibility that LCSD will ask the City to completely take over the system in the future. It is currently a Public Taxing District.

As an operator of the District, the City is responsible for any maintenance issues that arise from the system, but currently the District would be liable to pay for those issues that arise.

Senior Center Parking Lot:

The Senior Center would like to add additional parking.

City Administrator Mike Jackson brought forth a request by the Senior Center for help in expanding parking at the Center on PUD land that is currently not being used.

John Olson, representing the Senior Center, requested that the City look into financially supporting this project several Council meetings ago. Mayor Mike Cooney said, “I don’t think the PUD has any material objection to this.”

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth felt that it would not only benefit the Center but the City Ball Fields also. “My sense is that parking around town is pretty removed from this area. It would be specific to the Senior Center.” Hollingsworth mentioned the parking issues with Chelanman and that this project might alleviate that issue around the neighborhood.

“We are not asking for a freebie,” said Olson who feels that the cost of the additional parking could be shared equally by the Senior Center, City and PUD.

Youngren indicated that he could pull resources off several other Public Works projects and level off the area. “I’ll do a quick look at it. It would cost us the materials, equipment and man hours. We can do it,” he said.

Hollingsworth felt it would be an overall public benefit. Jackson stated that the City would come back to the issue during the final budgetary discussions.

TESLA Charging Stations:

Tesla has approached the City of Chelan about the possibility of installing charging stations in the City. These charging stations would be 480 V 3-Phase stations that could charge a Tesla automobile in 40 to 45 minutes.

Leavenworth is getting 16 Tesla Charging stations. The idea is that these stations would bring business to the City.

The chargers could only be used by Tesla vehicles. “We wouldn’t pay for the infrastructure,” said Jackson. The cost would run around $400,000 for eight stations.

Councilwoman Wendy Isenhart, who has been at the forefront of electric charging stations in Chelan, said, “The PUD can’t give electricity away.”

Hollingsworth suggested that the City could use its 100 foot neighborhood right-of-ways where it would be compatible with the neighborhood.

Jackson said the City would continue to talk with Tesla.

Parking Issues:

Chelan has faced a number of parking issues over the years. Currently there are several issues facing the City.

The old PUD Parking lot that the City purchased several years ago became a pay lot and not the City is looking at removing the Pay Kiosk and putting it out at Lakeside. “I recommend we go back to the way it was, said Karen Sargeant, Parks Director. Mayor Cooney said the pay parking lot isn’t working.

Councilwomen Erin McCardle, Kelly Allen and Councilman Ty Witt
all weighed in the City’s parking issues.

Councilwoman Kelly Allen said that the PUD Lot does attract a lot of employee parking. Isenhart asked why employees couldn’t purchase a Parking Permit. Councilman Ty Witt suggested a pay lot for employees. Sargeant asked what the price would be?

McCardle said it would be nice to have a map of the entire town. She also added that employees making minimum wage would not pay for parking. “Paying for parking when you are making minimum wage isn’t a reality.”

Cooney added that free parking is available right behind City Hall. He feels employees who park on Woodin and move their car every three hours are being inconsiderate. Allen said, “We need more partnerships with our employers.”

McCardle stated that a lot of complaints came in when the City had two hour parking downtown, but those complaints fell off after the three hour parking became the norm. Hollingsworth asked how many places can a person go and get free parking. “It’s a subsidy, but we struggle with managing that.”

The Lakeside Park parking issue also came up. Apparently vehicles are being parked beyond the no parking zone on the highway. It was noted that the Sheriff’s Department is going start ticketing cars that park along the highway.

Hollingsworth also suggested that the City might consider purchasing a van that could run a loop from town to Lakeside on the weekends to help alleviate some of the parking issues at the park. Councilman Ray Dobbs said that the old LINK Trolley that ran for free had five advertisers on it, and that this could be a way to pay for a City shuttle.

Another safety issue that came up are the tourists who are crossing the highway between the Lakeview Drive-In/Chelan Marina Parking Lot to Chelan Market. The City is looking for a passive way to channel people from that area to actual crossing zones.

City Council will meet in regular session on Tuesday, August 14 beginning at 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.

 

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