City directs finance director to bring a levy ordinance to assess a 1% increase in property taxes


by Richard Uhlhorn

Mayor Mike  Cooney invited Les Miller, a 90 year old WWII veteran to the City Council meeting on Tuesday, November 12 as a special presentation. With Veteran’s Day just past, it was a special moment for the veteran and his wife, Nancy who accompanied him.


Mayor Cooney introduced 90-year old WWII Veteran Les Miller to those in attendance at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, November 12.  Miller was in the 101st Airborne and served all three military branches over his time.

Miller was a part of the 101st Airborne and actually served in the Army, Navy and Air Force as a radio control expert. Miller was also a part of the military group ordered in to help with the Little Rock, Arkansas desegregation efforts.

Miller said the National Guard was already at the Little Rock situation when the Airborne arrived to help. “The National Guard was not ready for this and they anticipated trouble,” said Miller. The Airborne troops had loaded rifles with bayonets attached. “Everything went smoothly.”

Citizen comments:


Incoming City Council member John Olson gave the results of a Citizen’s Concern Survey he conducted at the Post Office while campaigning for his council seat.

Council elect John Olson was the only resident to speak during the Citizen Comment period. He brought his “Citizen Concern Survey” results to report to the Council. “I had 14 non-specific questions for residents to answer,” said Olson.

He conducted the survey outside of the Post Office while campaigning for his city council position. “I wanted to listen to people and hear their concerns,” he told the Council. His survey was casual, non-scientific, but just an informal opinion poll. He asked the citizens willing to take the survey to list their three most important concerns. He received 63 comment cards back.

“I didn’t expect the biggest response I got,” said Olson who also replied that it wasn’t even a question on his survey. The response was; “Nobody listens to me.” “They ‘re going to do what they (cit council) want to do,” and “My voice doesn’t count”

Olson found these responses to be sad and discouraging. “There is a great deal of anst out there and we need to work on that. I look forward to working with all of you.”

Responses received:

  • 27 marked – Re-Route thru-traffic around downtown;
  • 27 marked – Keep Chelan a small town;
  • 23 marked – Protection of (lake) water quality and quantity;
  • 21 marked – Increase public access to the lake; and
  • 21 marked – Limit mega projects and urban sprawl.

Pubic Hearing on 2020 Property Tax Levy:

 No one in the citizenry commented during the public hearing portion of the Finance Director’s request to bring forward a levy ordinance assessing a 1% increase in property taxes in addition to new construction and refunds.

The preliminary assessed value for 2020 is $1,253,018,694. This might change slightly before collections. The one percent increase over last year’s levy would be $15,509.64 giving a potential City budget amount less new construction and annexations $1,563,808.33.

In addition to property taxes, the City will receive more in sales taxes this year because the State began collecting sales tax on Internet sales which were not previously taxed.

The City’s Development fees are projected to increase by $28,000 or by 11%.



Chelan Fruit:

 The City Council voted to continue its waiver for Chelan Fruit to get a cash security to complete street frontage improvements at their new construction. This extension will end on December 9, 2019 with all other terms and conditions of the waiver with Trout-Blue Chelan Magi, Inc. to remain in effect as defined on September 24, 2019 and as per the temporary certificate of occupancy.

“We will hopefully reach an agreement by that time,” said City Administrator Mike Jackson.

Administrative Reports:

 Legislative Priorities:

  • Provide Pedestrian Safety in downtown Chelan between HWY. 97 and SR 150.
  • Affordable Housing
  • Chelan Butte Conservation Funding
  • Lakeside Park Improvements
  • The City also supports the Regional Transportation Projects.”I have a meeting with Mike Steele on Friday to see what Representative Steele’s legislative priorities might be,” said Jackson. “Steele might have some opinions.” Jackson also requested that the Council come forward with some ideas.

“Let’s make sure we bring forward one capital project,” stated Jackson. Councilman Ray Dobbs asked if it was appropriate to bring in new council members and Mayor-elect Bob Goedde. Jackson replied, “Not formally, but yes.”

Short term rentals:

Public Works Director Craig Gildroy stated that the Planning Commission has finished its review of the proposed Short Term Rental proposed code. There is a workshop on November 26 prior to the City Council meeting.

The proposal will add short term rentals to the City Business License Code.

The basic provisions of the code states that all short-term rentals are subject to licensing requirements, health and safety standards, and fees set forth in the Chelan Municipal Code 5.1.5.

Owners of Short Term Rental properties must purchase a City business license and Property Managers must obtain a Short Term Rental License under the proposed code.

Councilman Dobbs asked Gildroy what his plan was. Gildroy replied that the City would put short term rentals in advertising and rely on short term rental neighbors to be a part. “Neighbors are a big part of this,” said Gildroy. Complaints will help the city enforce its code.

Finance Director Steve Thornton said there would be a public hearing on a resolution for the property tax increase on November 26. On December 3, the Council will hold one more budget workshop and then on December 17 at the regularly scheduled Council meeting, the council will vote to adopt the 2020 budget.


The next City Council meeting will take place on November 26. The community is encouraged to attend.


Author: allthingslakechelan

I have been a journalist, photojournalist and reporter in the Lake Chelan Valley since 1988; first with the Wenatchee World, then 15 years at the Lake Chelan Mirror and another 12 years at GoLakeChelan. Currently, I am semi-retired but can't give up the media gig which is why I started All Things Lake Chelan blog. I also have two social media platforms; allthingslakechelan/facebook and lakechelansportsandrecration/facebook. I am also a professional photographer with many credits with major outlets around the world.

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