City ends year on positive note

by Richard Uhlhorn

Tuesday’s City Council meeting was mostly year-end clean-up and adoption of the amended 2022 budget and Council adoption of the new 2023 budget amongst other professional service agreements with engineers.

Important motion considerations:

Two items stood out from the year ending meeting:

  • The Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce Lodging Tax Extension.
    The Chamber was given its requested $700,000 for marketing next year, but the Council will meet early next year to discuss the next steps in reigning in the Chamber with a new contract (their current contract ends December 31) that will have a much broader oversight function. Expenditure of Lodging Tax dollars will also be on the table.
  • Community Development Director, John Ajax, requested that an ordinance to amend the Apple Blossom Center Development Agreement be prepared by the City Attorney for consideration at a future date.

    Councilwoman Erin McCardle stated that she would like to see one full calendar year’s impact on the community after the first phase is constructed. Councilman Tim Hollingsworth would like to see the construction costs of affordable units.

    Ajax stated that 5% of the units (35 units of the proposed 720 units) will be 80% or less of the medium income. “It needs to be a fair and thought through number,” Ajax said.
  • The Park’s Department has hired Grette Associates for permitting services for its Park Street Road End project, but said that the possibility of permitting all of the street end parcels may not happen.

Chelan Arts Council:

Dan Crandall, president of the Chelan Arts Council, presented a new outdoor art proposal being developed by Jerry McKellar for Chelan’s outdoor art gallery.

Dan Crandall, president of the Chelan Arts Council.

This sculpture is a large bronze caricature of Tsilly, the Lake Dragon, which is based on a lot of native history of a creature living deep in Lake Chelan. Tsilly has gained notoriety as a local children’s “Find Tsilly” adventure in downtown Chelan. Authore John Fahey has written a children’s book about the legend of Tsilly.

Crandall told the Council that McKellar has said this sculpture is his favorite and most exciting sculpture he has made in his career. It measures 7′ high X 7.5′ long. “We got excited about working with Jerry on this project,” said Crandall. “It would be up to the City where it is located.

Mayor/Council comments:

Shari Dietrich remarked that she is excited about the Tsilly project.

Tim Hollingsworth stated that it was important to remember that the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce does a lot for the community. “I’m looking forward to our discussions.

Hollingsworth also mentioned Senator Hawkins proposed regional aquatic center and said the Council should keep an open mind on the proposal, but it may or may not have a benefit for the Chelan Community. He deferred to Mayor Goedde who is against Chelan having anything to do with the proposal.

Peter Jamtgaard said it would be “great to have a lot more input to spending that money,” in reference to the Chamber’s marketing efforts.

Erin McCardle said she appreciated the transparency being exhibited by Community Development Director John Ajax with respect to the Apple Blossom Development Agreement.

She also mentioned that from 2012 to 2022, the Valley’s tourism impact has grown 447% from the Chamber’s marketing efforts.

McCardle said she is looking forward to the January 3 City Workshop that will consider the new lodging tax contract with the Chamber, the Butte acquisition efforts, Annalisa Noble’s priority and funding strategies and Dave Erickson’s presentation on Wenatchee’s Foothills expansion.

John Olson thanked the staff for all they do and stated that the City is looking at upwards of $60 million in Capital Improvement Expenditures and other projects over the next five years

Mayor Goedde thanked the staff and council for their hard work. He also stated that Senator Hawkin’s proposal for a regional aquatic center wouldn’t help Chelan. “This isn’t going to help us,” said Goedde.

Goedde said the City of Wenatchee is going to do a $300,000 study on the proposal. “We have our own aquatic center,” said Goedde.

Wade Ferris told the Council and staff that this was CFO Steve Thornton’s last official meeting. “Of all the financial officers I have worked with over the years, Steve is in the top one or two I’ve worked with.”

Outgoing CFO Steve Thornton.

Ferris went on to say that the 2023 budget has set up the City for a long, long time.

Jake Youngren echoed Ferris’ view and said Thornton has done incredible work.

Paul Horne added that he also appreciated Thornton’s work.

John Ajax said he has been incredibly gracious and professional in his work with the Planning department.

Thornton told the staff and council he appreciated all the kind words.

Ferris then pointed out the work City Clerk Peri Gallucci and her staff have done. “Without Peri and her staff, we would look foolish a lot of the time.”

City Council and staff will reconvene on Tuesday, January 3, to begin the new year discussing a number of issues facing the City in 2023. Workshops begin at 4 p.m. and can go as late as 8 p.m.

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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