New hardship policy for sewer/water rates being developed… skate and pump track on Council’s agenda

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By Richard Uhlhorn

Shawn and D’Arcy Burke brought a proposal to the City Council to see if the City would be interested in leasing space for a 20-meter Ferris Wheel in the City Boat Launch parking lot.

“It would be a nice addition for the City,” stated Burke. “It is safe for all ages and the company has a great track record.” Burke’s flyer states it would be a total family attraction for all ages at an affordable price.  They were not looking for an immediate answer, just to have the idea considered.

Motion Considerations:

 The Council received recommendations from Andy Baker of the FCS Group regarding Water and Sewer Rate Structure for disconnected services.

The issue at hand was and is the disconnected service of John J Fragnito’s lot on Sanders Street. “We asked FCS to make a recommendation,” said City Administrator Mike Jackson. “The recommended we continue with our current policy.”

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John J Fragnito has incurred $35,000 plus $15,000 in penalites for City water he has not used since his building on Sanders was demolished.

Since the Fragnito building was demolished in December of 2016, John J has incurred a $35,000 water bill despite the fact that he hasn’t used one drop. He has also been charged a penalty of $16,000 for non-payment.

This is the second time Fragnito has appeared before Council on this issue and the first time was assured that the City would work with him behind the scenes. Councilwoman Erin McCardle remarked that the penalties are not Fragnito’s fault. “He asked us to look at this for a long time,” she said. “We need to look at our policy. Right now it just covers residential.” McCardle asked the City to waive the penalty fees for this specific situation.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth added that the City needs to come up with a consistent policy. City Attorney Quentin Batjer stated that he would review the existing code to see what the City could legally do to mitigate the issue.

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Councilman Tim Hollingsworth stated that the City needs to come up with a consistent policy regarding hardships

Mayor Cooney said the Fragnitos have been good for the past three years. “I’m leaning towards clearing this whole mess up.” Hollingsworth added that if the City waives the charges, it would not have a significant impact on the other users.

Jackson said they would come back at the next meeting with a plan.

In a separate motion consideraton, the Council discussed a policy for disbursement of Water/Sewer Rate Subsidies for Affordable Housing.

Jackson stated that he wasn’t sure they were ready with a policy on this subject and Batjer added that there is a problem with gifting city funds.

At an earlier Council meeting the Council included $100,000 in the 2019 budget for the “Affordabel Housing Initiative.” This funding was approved but the City cannot spend any of the funds without a funding policy in place.

Batjer said that the policy needs to be grounded in fact in case it is challenged in court.

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City Administrator Mike Jackson

Jackson asked if apartments would qualify. “Would they be eligible.” They also talked about some sort of “Deed Restriction” tied to the affordable housing subsidy of up to 50 years.

Mayoral candidate Stan Morse remarked that subsidizing is problematic. “It’s a wonderful thing you are trying to do, but this doesn’t get you there,” said Morse. Councilwoman Kelly Allen wants to see subsidies kept to home ownership.

Jackson said they would bring the issue back in four weeks which will give Batjer the time to do his homework on the subject.

Parks Director vacancy:

 The City Council approved a motion to authorize the Mayor to finalize and execute an agreement with Prothman to handle advertising. recruitment and initial interviews with potential Park Director candidates. They will recommend the top candidates and the City staff will arrange and conduct interviews with the candiates.

Jackson stated that he has revamped the Park Director’s role for the City. The City will vet the initial recommended candidates through Skype interviews to hold costs down to $10,500.

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Councilman Ray Dobbs

Councilman Ray Dobbs asked if the position would have more of a business fiscal aspect to it and less on the operation component. “Someone who can focus more on the management of the parks,” said Dobbs. McCardle added that she would like to see a director who has the capability of looking at the future of the parks, not just keeping them the same. “For 15 years the parks have stayed the same,” said McCardle. “It doesn’t seem like we are focusing on our strategic vision.”

Records Assessment:

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City Clerk Peri Gallucci presented a proposal for Laserfiche electronic program for scanning and keeping documents

City Clerk Peri Gallucci reported that Leslie Turner, FreeDoc Public Records Administration Consultant, spent two days in the City evaluating the records processes with staff from each department. “What we would like to do is phase in the project,” said Gallucci.

Gallucci and Permit Technician Williams have held 10 meeting and numerous telephone conversations with FreeDoc evaluating Laserfiche. They also visited two cities currently using the Laserfiche program and recommended that the City implement the Laserfiche ECM program over the next two years.

  1. Year One Proposal – $18,292.
  2. Year Two Proposal – $24,615
  3. After Implementation is Complete – $15,215.24 Annually
  4. On Site Disposition Assistance – $7,038
  5. Conversion Budget Estimate – $75,205

They will come back with a motion for the Council to approve.

Skate Park/Pump Track:

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American Ramp Company proposed several locations for a new skate park and the potential addition of a pump track at Don Morse Park.

The City is moving towards a Skate Park/Pump Track and discussed the possibilities of the park location at Don Morse Park.

The City contracted with American Ramp Company (ARC) for design work and public input on concepts for a pumptrack and/or skatepark skatepark located in Don Morse Park.

A Public meeting was held at the Chelan Library with an estimated 35 people in attendance. Tim Babcock, a Bike Park Development Manager with Progressive Bike Ramps, was on hand for ARC to present a video and answer questions as a part of the City’s contract for conceptual design services.

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Councilwoman Erin McCardle suggested one more location for a new skate park.

McCardle told Babcock at the beginning of the public meeting that it was being held to find out what people want to have in the community. Administrator Jackson stated, “This can become whatever the community wants.”

Babcock had a site visit with staff and said ARC would be looking at a conceptual plan that will either expand or change the existing skate park or add a bike (pump track) element.

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Councilwoman Kelly Allen has been pushing for a pump track.

Kelly Allen stated that the plan was to provide outdoor activities for local youth, not to hold events.

At the July 9 Council meeting, Jackson and the Council were given three options from ARC. They included the following:

  1. We do a design for an asphalt pumptrack beside Lake Chelan Skatepark and then for a phase 2 we do a new design that would be a sweet expansion on the existing skatepark.
  2. We do a hybrid park with an asphalt pumptrack and a concrete skatepark at the location near LakeRider Sports location (Or a different location).
  3. We do option 1 and for $3,750 we also put together a custom site-specific concrete skatepark design for a different location for a future park.

McCardle brought up a different potential location down where the existing basketball court is. “We could move the basketball courts up to the existing skatepark,” she said. “We have been requesting an update for a long time, but doing a pump track without a skate park is not an option.”

Mayor Cooney stated that the Park Board agrees that a skate park is needed first. Hollingsworth is not totally convinced that Don Morse is the best location because of parking issues, but Allen said the downtown park is an area where kids can ride their bikes to it. “Parking is always going to be an issue.”

ARC will be providing more information going forward.

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