City introduced to new director of the Lake Chelan Housing Trust

by Richard Uhlhorn

Outgoing executive director of the Lake Chelan Housing Trust introduced his replacement to City Council on Tuesday evening, September 14, and asked the council for the City’s continued partnership with the Trust.

Outgoing executive director Mike Cooney introduced the new director to the City Council at last Tuesday night’s meeting.

Steve Wilkinson told the Council that he is currently employed by the South Central Kansas Economic Development District with a budget of $1.2 million dollars. Wilkinson worked as a commercial banker in Whatcom County for a number of years.

Steve Wilkinson will be taking over the directorship of the
Lake Chelan Housing Trust on October 1

He told the council to allow him to ask questions. “I want to learn. Partnerships have allowed me to have success.” His focus as the new executive directorship of the Housing Trust will be to work with young people who work in Chelan, but can’t afford to live in Chelan.

Cooney reported that Anderson Village has all the necessary components working including the engineering and architectural components. The new affordable housing development on Anderson Road will include 45 homes, a community garden, trails and other amenities. They will sell for $200,000 to $250,000 each to individuals who can qualify for financing. “We hope to start building next fall.” said Cooney.

Cooney then requested $50,000 of the $61,000 that has been provided by the Lookout from homes sold. The Lookout donates $1,000 from every home sold. “We are seeking a one time exemption for engineering and design costs,” said Cooney.

Councilman John Olson asked Cooney how many inquiries the Housing Trust received on the Emerson Estates development. Cooney replied that it was between 50 and 60 per home.

Wilkinson will assume his duties as executive director on October 1.

Sheriff’s Department Contract:

Sheriff Brian Burnett brought back a revised contract for the City to accept.

Sheriff Brian Burnett was back at City Council via ZOOM explaining that there were some errors in the budget calculations for the upcoming 2022-2025 contract with the City.

“There were some wrong calculations that came from another city’s budget that didn’t get caught,” explained Burnett. The Council was presented with the newly corrected agreement for their consideration. It does include some increases, mostly due to increase salaries and benefits.

Councilman Chris Baker asked Burnett about the lack of a SRO program and if anything was being done to correct that situation. Burnett replied that the program was an on-going arbitration process between the department and the bargaining unit. “We are hopeful. We have a moving target with the school district,” he said. “No one wants it (the program) more and we are doing everything we can to resolve the issues.” The issues, of course, are the State’s mandate that every staff member be vaccinated, or obtain a medical or religious exemption. “We will keep everybody informed.”

Councilman Peter Jamtgaard brought up the issue of the department’s Marine Patrol and marine safety on the lake. “There is a level of patrol concerns,” said Jamtgaard. He said that the department and City have kicked the can down the road and that a final solution to the issue needs to be found.

Burnett replied that it is an on-going topic within the department. “There are so many more people visiting the lake that it will probably take two more people to make a dent in the situation.”

Jamtgaard suggested that the Marine Patrol stagger its patrol periods so the perpetrators on the water would never know when they were going to show up. “People learn when you are out there. Surprise patrols would make it a little more unpredictable.”

During the Citizen’s Comment period a local resident  talked about missing buoys and the problem of personal watercraft users cruising inside the no wake zone at speed creating a dangerous situation for swimmers. Duane and Dixie Baker also submitted a letter detailing the same issues. “Over the past four years, we and our neighbors have been calling the Marine Patrol, City Hall, and the Mayor, in an on-going attempt to address this situation to no avail,” the Bakers wrote.

Mayor Goedde said the City was looking into the issue. Councilman Ty Witt asked Burnett if the City gets a report on the number of tickets given on the water. Burnett replied that certain violations like reckless driving would be ticketed. He added that in 2020 the department saw a 10 percent increase in visitation. He said that the big violators come from the rental companies and that education would be helpful.

The Council unanimously approved the revamped contract.

Golf Course:

Parks Director Paul Horne asked the Council to accept and authorize the Mayor to finalize and execute an agreement with Mears Design Group to assess the Lake Chelan Golf Course Irrigation System. “This project would assess the irrigatino sstem and all components of it,” said Horne.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth asked if there hadn’t been an assessment recently. Horne replied that an assessment of the irrigation system hasn’t been done for a number of years and that everything has changed in how it is operated by a controller. This project agreement was unanimously agreed to.

Capital Budget Financing update:

Finance Director Steve Thornton explained and transmitted information to the Council concerning the upcoming 2022 budget and 2022-2026 CIP proposals.

Several notable Council priorities are funded in the 2022 -2026 Proposed CIP. These include:

1. Public Works Administration and Engineering Building – $900,000 is requested in 2022 to complete (total funding $2,520,000).

2. Parks Maintenance Building, parking lot and restrooms -$2,640,100 requested in 2022 to complete (total funding $3,168,808). Assumes receipt of $400K in REET Funds Oct – December.

3. Lakeshore Access / Road Ends Pocket Parks – $150,000 per year requested 2022-2026. Project funding available for use in 2022 of $300,000 including 2019 and 2020 appropriations.

4. Lakeside Park RKO Grant Project – $500,000 grant match previously appropriated and 2022 RKO grant funding of up to $500,000.

5. Street and Sidewalk Projects – $260,000 combined annual funding 2022-2026 requested. Increased from an annual appropriation of $90,000 per year.

6. Downtown Restroom Improvements – $40,000

7. Skateboard Park – $1,600,000. $100,000 local fund match 2022 and 2023 $50K per year). Balance of funding through grants and / or capital campaign.

8. Sewer System Projects – $10,179,328 project funding requested 2022-2026. Funded through user rates, GFC’s, revenue bonds, and Lake Chelan Sewer District and Lake Chelan Reclamation District cost sharing. The projects address aging infrastructure and system growth demands.

9. Water System Projects – $10,762,473 project funding requested 2022-2026. Funded through user rates, GFC’s, and revenue bonds. The projects address aging infrastructure and system growth demands.

Mayor/Council Comments:

Ty Witt reported that the glass recycling project has crushed 20 ton of glass in its first two months.

Tim Hollingsworth remarked that talk about recreational facilities had made good progress. He also mentioned the importance of partnerships with the Housing Trust.

Servando Robledo said the finance information was good, but a little bit early.

Chris Baker said he is interested in the upcoming Citizen’s feedback to find out what everyone is interested in.

John Olson stated that the City’s workshop with Washington’s City Insurance Authority was terrific. He stated that the City doesn’t have a public participation plan but needs one. He also stated it was time to discuss a moratorium on development. “We need to consider that.”

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