CITY SEEKING HELP FROM THE STATE TO PURCHASE 900 ACRES ON CHELAN BUTTE

 

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by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan City Council was given a draft resolution to approve the City’s request for $4 million dollars from the Washington State Legislature to help purchase the 900 acres on Chelan Butte.

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Councilwoman Erin McCardle wants to see an approved Legislative Priorities List before making any decision on how much to ask the Legislature for.

Councilwoman Erin McCardle said, “We haven’t approved the Legislative Agenda yet. I would like to wait until that is approved.”

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City Administrator Mike Jackson said he would bring a new priority list
to the 23rd Council meeting for the Council to discuss and consider.

City Administrator Mike Jackson replied that proposed Legislative Agenda would be back at the October 23 Council meeting.

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Councilman Ray Dobbs wants the public to weigh in on
the potential purchase of Chelan Butte.

Councilman Ray Dobbs stated that he had attended the recent Town Hall meeting and was pleased to see the support of those in attendance, but said, “I want to see this thing be more publicized. I want to get it out in the media before we move forward.” He added that he felt there was broad support for the idea.

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Councilwoman Wendy Isenhart felt that requesting
$4 million dollars for Chelan Butte was a big ask.

Councilwoman Wendy Isenhart thought that $4 million was a big ask for the Legislators to swallow. “Is it necessary to be so specific,” asked Isenhart.

Jackson replied that the document can be reworded. “I’ll talk to them (Gordon Thomas Honeywell) about the amount.”

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Councilman Tim Hollingsworth added that the City needs to
show community support for the purchase of property on Chelan Butte.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth added that the City needs to show community support for the purchase of the 900 acres. “We are looking for acquisition and protection of that property,” said Hollingsworth. “We don’t want to delay this too long.”

Asked how much the land was being sold for, Mayor Cooney replied, “North of $6 million and South of $7 million.” It will be appraised by the Trust for Public Lands.

The Legislative Priority List had other items listed also.

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Affordable Housing: The City is supporting all actions that will enhance or increase affordable housing. While the City has taken its own steps to address this problem, the creation of a Community Land Trust is underway.

Lakeside Park Improvements: The City is asking the Legislature to ensure funding for the Lakeside Park Improvements or allocate $667,000 in capital budget funding. The new master plan to renovate and improve the park will accommodate more users and includes relocation of the dock; increasing swim safety and accessibility improvements; enhancing the non-motorized boat launch; replenishing beach sand; replacing the restrooms and increasing the parking area.

Chelan Pedestrian Safety Project: The City is requesting the Legislature for $700,000 in transportation funding for 21 Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons to provide safe crosswalks along Highway 97A and Hwy.150. The City views this request as crucial to pedestrian safety.

Bike & Pedestrian Transportation Funding: The City is also looking for funding to meet its goal of completing the Lakeshore Trail.

Wildfire Prevention and Suppression: The City supports funding and legislative solutions for wildfire prevention and suppression. Negative impacts from wildfires has negatively impacted the City’s economy.

Support for Regional Transportation Projects: The City supports the Chelan/Douglas Transportation Council (CDTC) and its Regional Transportation Plan.

Local Authority:  The City supports policies that respect City local authority regarding revenue, taxes, licensing, and home rule. City officials are elected to their positions by the constituents and must have the authority to solve local challenges.

The Council unanimously authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute the Consulting Agreement with Gordon Thomas Honeywell for a total of $36,000 annually. The consultant is a lobbying group that helped the City obtain $300,000 from the Legislature last year for the Woodin Avenue Bridge.

These agenda items will be discussed at the next City Council meeting on October 24.

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In other business:

The Council unanimously approved the 2019 Emergency Management Services Agreement with Chelan County. The 2019 cost is assessed on a per capita basis and the rate has increased by 2 cents or $2.74 per capita.

They also approved a contract with KRCI for a total of $989,922.88 for Lakeshore RV Park Electrical work, and Irrigation and Potable Water Projects. The project was awarded in September but needed the Council’s approval to more forward.

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Councilman Ray Dobbs questioned the bid amount. “It is below the engineers estimate because the project was scaled back. Is that right,” Asked Dobbs. Parks Director Karen Sargeant replied that he was right, that KRCI would be proceeding with the electrical upgrades.

Councilman Ty Witt asked how much higher the bid was and Sargeant replied that was 22 percent higher. Witt stated that the City Council is trying to keep a tab on the difference between engineer estimates and actual bids.

Citizen Comments:

Stan Morse, past councilmember and resident, angrily told the Council that it was time for them to begin enforcing City Code 8.15 regarding fire hazards. “Things have changed in this Valley,” said Morse. “People who don’t live here don’t’ understand.”

He stated that the City seemed to have all the money it needed to construct roundabouts, fix the Woodin Avenue Bridge and do other projects, but not enough money for a code enforcement officer to go out and enforce the code.

He added that a fast moving lightning storm with wind could take out half of the town or more. He mentioned that if the DC10 hadn’t helped during the 2015 fire half of south Chelan would have been lost. “You have to pick up the ball on this,” he said.

Mayor/Council Comments:

Ray Dobbs attended a Port of Chelan County board meeting and reported that the Port is offering a contract to Jim Kuntz to become the Port’s Administrator.

He also said the Port has been asked to support an expansion of 720 acres at Mission Ridge.

The Port of Chelan and Port of Douglas County share 70/30 in the operation of Pangborn Airport, but Dobbs reported that Douglas County says it hasn’t got the funding. The two ports are looking at solutions.

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Councilman Ty Witt reported that the bids to finish the Solid Waste Collection Center were $150,000 over the engineers estimate.

Ty Witt reported that he attended the Solid Waste Council meeting and remarked that Chelan County was trying to finish construction on the project that would accept hazardous materials like paint and other chemicals from residents on a year round basis.

Witt stated that when the bids to finish the construction came out, they were $150,000 higher than the funding in place. To take care of the shortfall, it is likely that the County will request that Cities share in the construction based on population. “It might cost us $20,000 or less,” said Witt. “Wenatchee would be paying the most based on their population.”

However, Witt posed the question that Douglas County should be a part of the short fall also. “They can’t get Douglas County to commit.”

Chelan County Waste Management will give a presentation to the whole Council.

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Mayor Cooney reported that he is trying to allow
City residents to burn yard waste again.

Mayor Cooney said that the Community Land Trust is moving forward.

He also said the Stan Morse’s comments were slightly off base. Planning Director Craig Gildroy stated that there is money in the budget to address the issue of fire hazards but City personnel can’t just go on private property. “We have to send a letter,” said Gildroy. Witt stated the it isn’t that the City has done nothing. Gildroy replied that the City did a lot of fire abatement in the right-of-ways.

The City is asking the Department of Ecology about the possibility to allow burning of waste yard material in the City Limits, but Mayor Cooney said the material will still be collected at the Transfer Station and chipped.

The next City Council meeting is on October 23. Citizens are encouraged to attend.

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