Ray Dobbs leaves a legacy of community service behind… council bids adieu!

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by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan City Council waited until the Mayor/Council comment period to bid farewell to Councilmember Ray Dobbs who resigned his position on the Council effective on September 25, 2020.

Ray Dobbs resigned his seat on City Council as of September 25, 2020 with two years remaining on his term. Dobbs, who is moving out of Chelan to East Wenatchee with his wife, leaves a long legacy of community service to the Lake Chelan Valley, not only as a city council member, but a past planning commissioner, a Rotary member, and a major voice on KOZI Radio over the years.

The Council will make a decision at the October 6 Workshop on the applicant who will replace Dobbs on the Council. Each applicant will be given five minutes to address the Council and the Council members will be given five minutes to ask questions of each applicant.

Potential applicants have until September 30 to apply for the position after which their letters of application will be reviewed by the Council members.

During the Mayor/Council comments, Mayor Bob Goedde told Dobbs that he was going to miss him, but that he would take over his assignment to attend the Port District meetings.

Dobbs replied that after working and living in Chelan for the past 45 years, God has a new adventure for him and wife. “I’ve already had conversations with the Wenatchee Rotary and there are also other opportunities opening up,” said Dobbs. “I’ve really enjoyed being a part of this council.”

Erin McCardle praised Dobbs for all his community work and stated that he would be missed. “Thank you for your commitment to the community. It’s been a pleasure to work with you.”

Peter Jamtgaard thanked Dobbs for sharing his wisdom when he got on to the Council.

Ty Witt said he looks forward to many more endeavors by Dobbs, and then encouraged people to drive out through Apple Acres. “There is a lot of charred land out there but the firefighters and home owners saved their homes. It is an impressive thing to see.”

Servando Robledo told Dobbs that the Council was going to miss him. “When I applied, you sat down and helped get new council members up and running.”

John Olson said it was a pleasure to get to know Dobbs and thanked him for his donations to Reruns.

Tim Hollingsworth stated that it has been a pleasure working with Dobbs on both the Planning Commission and City Council. He then reported that the Housing Trust has been working diligently and has a lot of applicants for Emerson project.

Dobbs thanked Mayor Goedde for taking on the job of attending the Port meetings. “It’s important to stay in their world. Goedde replied that he feels it is very important to stay connected and added that he would continue to work on getting water out to the airport.

Mayor Bob Goedde is taking over Dobb’s assignment to attend Port of Chelan County Board Meetings three times a month. The big issue with the Chelan Airport which is co-owned by Chelan and the Port is trying to get water to the facility so it can expand.

Craig Gildroy said he enjoyed working with Dobbs over his years on the Planning Commission and Council. Peri Gallucci said she has enjoyed Dobbs’ feedback over his time on Council. City Administrator Wade Ferris thanked Dobbs for spending a lot of his personal time on City issues and business.

Agenda Items:

Wineries, cottage wineries and tasting rooms text amendment

Planning Director Craig Gildroy brought a Text Amendment to the Council and requested that they approve the Planning Commission’s Tourist Accommodation Zone amendment to allow wine tasting rooms as a permitted use; allow restaurants with cocktail lounges without a conditional use permit (CUP) and allow cottage wineries and wineries though a CUP.

John Olson said he has had residents calling him about noise issues that might arise from approval of this amendment. Gildroy said that the City has doubled the distances between residential areas and businesses, and that the Sheriff would address noise complaints. “We would also adjust the hours and not allow loud bands,” said Gildroy. The Council approved the recommendation unanimously.

Legal services contract for Indigent Criminal Defendants

City Attorney Quentin Batjar told the Council that the Wenatchee law firm of Kottkamp, Yedinak & Esworthy had no interest in continuing with their contract to provide indigent defense services for criminal cases in Chelan County District Court. Under the contract, the City is responsible for the cost of the conflict attorneys which is $75 per hour.

Batjar brought a new contract for the Council’s consideration. Attorney Mr. Steven Krake charges $135 per hour and has been providing indigent defense services locally since 2018. 

Councilman Ray Dobbs asked if any local attorneys were considered. Batjar replied that since the indigent cases would be argued in Wenatchee it didn’t seem reasonable to pay a local attorney several hours above the court time for travel. “These issues shouldn’t happen very frequently,” said Batjar. “We’ve never had to engage them,” he added.

The City budgets $8,000 each year for these services and John Olson asked if there was any sort of cap (on money) if a case comes up. Batjar replied that he wouldn’t anticipate that the City would ever go through $8,000. “We’d know pretty quickly,” said Batjar. Most indigent cases involve pretty simple misdemeanors and are disposed of quickly. The Council authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute the Indigent Legal Services with Mr. Steven Krake.

2021 Emergency Management Services agreement with Chelan County

The Council approved the 2021 Emergency Management Plan with Chelan County at a rate of $2.88 per capita. Last year’s contract was for $2.93 per capita, but the 2021 rate has decreased because of staffing changes.

Ray Dobbs asked for some discussion on the issue and would like to see some local resources plugged into the plan. Tim Hollingsworth asked what the City was getting for its money. Mayor Goedde replied that three County emergency management vehicles were located on the Apple Acres Fire. Ferris added that the EOC has the expertise they can tap into that the City doesn’t have.

Airport Market Analysis

City Administrator Wade Ferris said the City wants to do a market analysis for hanger space. “Our lease rates are low,” he stated. “Hopefully we can make some changes based on a study.”

Councilman Peter Jamtgaard remarked that bringing up lease rates at the airport might result in losing leases. “We could use more leases there,” he said. Ferris replied, “Our lease rates are 20 years old and we have two pages of people who want to lease out there. We are going to make sure we are getting our band for the buck.”

Many of the land leases for hangers at the airport are up for renewal and a market rate analysis hasn’t been done in over 10 years.

Councilman John Olson asked if this issue was for information, not action. McCardle asked if this would be on the City or Airport Budget. City Finance Director Steve Thornton said it would be an Airport Budget item. Dobbs said the City should give its partner, the Port of Chelan County a heads up on this issue. The Council approved $1,200 for an appraisal by Walters Appraisals.

City office space to Department of Licensing

The City has been leasing 861 sq. ft. of office space in City Hall to the DOL for the past five years at a rate of $1458 per month. It was set to expire in June but because of COVID the lease was extended by mutual agrement until September 30.

Mayor Goedde said this is a project that started years ago and has worked out well for the community. He requested that the lease be extended for a couple more years at the same rate. Dobbs asked about the prior analysis on City Hall space needs. The Council approved to extend the lease.

Golf Course mower purchase

Erin McCabe, Chelan’s Golf Course Maintenance Superintendent, has found another great deal on used mowers. They are from a premier golf course that rotates through its machines on a regular schedule. Erin has negotiated a package deal for three (3) Toro 5410 Fairway Mowers, plus a set of veritcutting reels (valued at 5K) for a total of $26,000. One new mower of this style of mower would cost $70,592.

McCabe and the shop mechanic inspected the surplus machines and determined that the purchase would be a good deal. The council authorized the staff to proceed with the purchase out of the Recreation Capital Fund.

Side Sewer Replacement

Public Works Director Jake Youngren told the Council that the City is in the design phase of a project that will replace water and sewer infrastructure in the alley north of Woodin Avenue between Columbia St and Sanders St.

Youngren told the Council that he thinks the best option over the long term is to make the sewer connections on private property. How to pay for it is the question. There are approximately 30 side sewer services to be replaced at an estimated cost of $150,000 and $200,000.

The other option is to have the property owners pay for the work. “My goal tonight is that when we reach out, I want a clear way forward. The first question is who is going to pay for this,” said Youngren. McCardle asked about individual business cost. Youngren said he felt it would be between $5,000 and $7,500 per side service. “We don’t actually know the answer yet.”

Dobbs asked why the City is looking at doing this. Youngren replied that new infrastructure would be good for 30 to 40 years and that the infrastructure that is currently in the ground is beyond its serviceable years. Most of it is asbestos/concrete,” said Youngren. “We are having problems.”

The Council felt that it was a productive conversation. Jamtgaard said he likes the idea of a City/business owner working relationship that would share costs. Hollingsworth said, “You are on the right track. Bring the business owners in.” McCardle said it would be an exciting transformation of that alley.

The next meeting is a workshop on October 6 which begins at 4 p.m.

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