City Council covers a lot of ground at last Council meeting

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan City Council had a lot on its plate last Tuesday evening.

Citizen’s comments:

Evie Hersberger (sp) spoke about her concerns for the safety of the Fireboss pilots scooping water from Lake Chelan while recreational boaters were still active on the lake. She would like to see an amendment to the City’s code (32.055) on water craft use to include a statement that watercraft operate in a manner that answers wildfire suppression and support aircraft added to that.  This would help recognize the safety of emergency personnel and the pilots.

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Evie Hirschberger

“Very good idea,” Said Mayor Cooney

John Olson once again spoke to the Senior Center’s desire to work with Public Works offer to assist in the addition of more parking at the east end of the ball fields by the river. Olson reiterated the fact that the PUD, (lessee), Chelan Recreation Department, and the Senior Center would all benefit with some minor improvements to the bare dirt field in use now.

Olson went on to talk about Chelan’s unique transportation issues beyond the parking. He talked about how Hwy’s 150 and 97A meet in the middle of town funneling traffic to the downtown core. Also that Hwy 150 and Hwy 97A provide the only access to the north and south shores.

With 25,000 people typically visiting during the summer months, limited public access to the lake and more and more cars being concentrated into a small area resulting in high value riparian land being used for low value parking the issue will only get worse as more and more visitors access the valley.

Olson stated that he feels the only viable solution is to separate people from their parked cars with an efficient and effective summer bus system. He talked with the Chelan County LINK Transit Board and stated that they were interested. “Tonight I am encouraging you to think outside the box and to plan for the future.”

Special Presentations:

Councilman Ray Dobbs asked outgoing Finance Director Cheryl Grant how the City has been affected by the fires. She replied that the City will not know the answer for another two months. Parks Director Karen Sargeant commented that the RV Park has only had to return on deposit. Councilwoman Erin McCardle stated that August is down and Grant remarked that the Golf Course is down also. “The heat and then the smoke has affected the course,” said Sargeant

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Parks Director Karen Sargeant introduced Erin McCabe as Chelan’s
new Golf Course Superintendent.

Sargeant introduced Erin McCabe as the new Golf Course Superintendent. McCabe comes to Chelan from Idaho, but has also worked in Seattle and at the UW. He said, “Thanks for the opportunity.” Mayor Cooney remarked that McCabe comes to the community highly recommended. “We are glad you are here.”

Councilman Ty Witt asked McCabe how he would rate the current course conditions. McCabe said they are much better than when he first visited the facility. “The smoke helped out. A few weeks before I go here it was pretty rough.”

Sargeant then lauded Bob Millar and Able Hernandez for their work at the golf course. “They did a tremendous job keeping the golf course going,” said Sargeant.

She than introduced Parks employees James Hayter and Kim Fogle explaining that they also stepped up putting in extra hours this summer to make sure the parks worked. “As the staff came and went, they just did a tremendous job.” She told the Council that she offered to hire someone to help them and they refused because it would take more time to train them then getting the job done. “These two kinda went the extra mile.”

Sargeant recognized the hard work of James Hayter and Kim Fogle at the Parks Office and Bob Millar and Able Hernandez of the Golf Course.

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Chelan has hired a new finance director. Steve Thornton was introduced at the Council meeting on Tuesday evening.

Finance Director Cheryl Grant is transitioning out and the City has hired a new Finance Director, Steve Thornton. When introduced by the Mayor, he said, “I’m very happy to be here.”

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Jake Youngren has been promoted as the new permanent Public Works Director.

Mayor Cooney also announced that Jake Youngren is no longer the Interim Public Works Director, but has been made the permanent Public Works Director. Councilman Ray Dobbs commented that everyone he talks to has great things to say about Jake.

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Maxwell Nimz

Maxwell Nimz, a boy scout working on his Eagle rank made a presentation to the Council on his two year research into a Chelan Dog Park proposal. During his report, Nimz reported that 75 percent of the people he polled were in favor of a dog park. The 25 percent against the idea were against the Lakeside Park location.

The park, if constructed including maintenance would cost an estimated $46,000. This would include fencing, and other amenities such as benches, agility courses and fountains.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth asked Nimz if he had looked at other potential sites. Nimz said he had, but none of them had water access. “Do you consider water access important,” Hollingsworth asked? “Yes, I do,” answered Nimz.

The dog park does not have to be constructed for Nimz to receive his Eagle Scout ranking.

Motion Considerations:

At the August 14 City Council meeting there was some concern by several council members regarding th sharing of a Chelan County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer Agreement.

The agreement came back to this meeting and City Administrator Mike Jackson said that the City had discussions with the School District and Sheriff’s Department and was now comfortable with what they learned. McCardle said, “I appreciate the follow up by everyone. We worked through all the concerns we had.”

The City will pay $32,353.33 for the officer assigned to the City Limits with an approximate savings of $10,000 over last year’s full service agreement. The Council authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute the new amendment.

The City put out a Request for Proposals for leasing the second floor at the Chelan Public Library and the only response was from the Living Stone Church. The Church has negotiated a lease of $1,400 per month for the 3,200 square feet of space. The rent will be adjusted each year by the CPI, but not more than 10 percent increases. They agreed to a three year term. “This comes with the understanding that they can’t interfere with the quiet enjoyment of the library,” said Jackson.

The Council unanimously approved the Final Plat Phase 4 of Whisper View Estates (Suncrest) for another 17 home sites. The housing project is just north of the football field.

The Council unanimously agreed to adopt Draft Ordinance No. 2018-1547, adding Chapter 3.85 regarding Charitable Donations.

“This ordinance will allow the City to take donations,” said Jackson. Dobbs asked if these donations would be tax deductible? It was a question that went unanswered. Hollingsworth said the amended ordinance would help with affordable housing donations.

The Council unanimously agreed to authorize the Mayor to finalize and execute the Agreement with the Historic Downtown Chelan Association to accept a $168,279.45 charitable donation, including interest charges on the City’s Bond for the Landing Project. The HDCA will be making two payments each year for the next 15 years to satisfy their portion of the Woodin Avenue Bridge Project. The HDCA will also be required to donate the balance of amounts needed to fully complete the landscaping portion of the project. This is estimated to cost $23,145.

“I don’t think this wold have moved forward without the leadership of Erin McCardle,” said Mayor Cooney

City Administrator Mike Jackson reported that the City has continued to receive emails and telephone calls from TESLA about bringing super chargers to the town. “Every city (who has chargers) has struck a different deal,” said Jackson.

City Attorney Quentin said he would like to do more research on the proposal. The most likely location for the  seven proposed super chargers would be a Safeway’s parking lot on City property just behind the little corner park.

Councilwoman Wendy Isenhart remarked that the City is already providing free charging for electric cars behind City Hall. “It’s kinda of nice that the Chelan does that,” said Isenhart. Given the time it takes to charge an electric car, people have a chance to go shopping or to a restaurant.

Other areas discussed were across the street on the north side of the Library and over on Saunders along the wide right-of-ways. Jackson said that the Tesla people have shown an interest in all of those areas. Their main concern is being close enough to the center of town so the Tesla owners can walk, shop and eat while their vehicles are charging.

During the Council Comment period, Mayor Cooney announced that the next Townhall Meeting will be on Thursday, September 27. The subject will be the property that is for sale on the north side of the Butte consisting of 940 acres. Mayor Cooney is interested in learning if the community wants to purchase this land for recreational purposes. “If it looks like a NO, we are moving on.”

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Mayor Mike Cooney announced a new Town Hall meeting for September 27 to explore the possibility of purchasing the 940 acres of land on Chelan Butte for future generations

Cooney said the entire Valley is invited. “We are not going to move forward unless there is public sentiment.”

It was also mentioned that the new Rate Charges will be done by Mid-November.

Jackson said that he had received a call from Mike Mack who is having a problem staffing the Lakeview Drive-In. “He can’t stay open and wondered what the ramifications would be to his City contract.” The suggestion was to formalize the closure with a letter.

Chelan City Council and the Planning Commission will hold a joint meeting on September 4, 2018 beginning at 4:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at 135 E Johnson Avenue in Chelan, Washington.  The purpose of this joint special meeting is a workshop for the Comprehensive Plan Amendments.  The public is encouraged to attend

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