Sheriff Morrison talks about changes

by Richard Uhlhorn

Special Presentations:

Sheriff Morrison introduction:
Chelan County Sheriff Mike Morrison officially introduced himself and his Chief of Operations, Ryan Moody. He told the Council that Rob Huddleston has been appointed to the Chelan division of the Sheriff’s Department as its new chief.

Sheriff Mike Morrison

He also brought up the upcoming Marine Program that has been struggling to maintain order on the lake in the past. “Sgt. Huddleston will be taking this program over and we will have three marine patrol officers assigned to patrol the lake during the summer months.”

Ryan Moody, Chelan Sheriff’s Department’s new Chief of Operations

Councilman John Olson asked Sheriff Morrison if there would be a supplemental budget request to cover the additional deputies. Morrison said, “No.” He has redirected department resources to cover the extra marine patrol detectives and also stated that Sgt. Huddleston would make up the fourth to help cover the lake. “It was just a common sense fit. Under Sgt. Huddleston program we are going in the right direction.”

Sheriff Morrison also mentioned the six deaths that have occurred on the Wenatchee River. “We need to bring a little more order to our waterways,” he said.

NCWEconomic District competition:

Alice Brown – Executive Director and Chanet Stevenson – Associate Director of the North Central Washington Economic Development District presented the EDD’s Supernova Business Launch Competition that helps new business start-ups looking to expand into Okanogan, Douglas, Ferry, and Chelan Counties, and the Colville Indian Reservation compete for $10,000 plus free workshops, networking, and peer support.

Applications ended in February and the program has received 32 applications with three from the Lake Chelan Valley. “We would like to see you guys more engaged with the programs,” said Stevenson.

Community Center at Lake Chelan:

The Community Center at Lake Chelan is in a major building phase and Seven Acres Foundation is hoping for a completion date this summer.
Maribel Cruz – Operations Director at the
Community Center at Lake Chelan

Maribel Cruz, director of operations at the under construction Community Center, presented a proposed plan to construct a 750 sq. ft. indoor play area at the center. The cost to construct has been quoted at $189,873 from SoftPlay.

The play area will be open to the public with no usage fees to ensure accessibility by all members of the community.

Cruz was on hand to revisit the possibility of securing funds from the City from its ARP funds.

She told the Council that the Community Center is 90% funded at $16.2 million much of which has come through generous donations. ,

The third phase will include the aquatic center. “We want to be able to cover the pool and make it available year round,” said Cruz.

Chris Baker asked it the Root School was still going to be involved. Cruz replied that after conversations with the school, it didn’t quite match their needs, but she added, “They are re-interested now.”

Wade Ferris said that $700,000 of the American Rescue Funds have been committed to the sewer/water mains on Anderson Road and another $200,000 towards the food bank expansion plans. “We have $200,000 that has not been committed,” said Ferris. He cautioned that the remaining funds might have to be kept in reserve for unexpected costs. “We are aware of the rising costs,” said Cruz.

Cruz also told the Council that they are talking about not making the Center a membership based fee, but a pass based fee to offset costs of operations.

Tim Hollingsworth remarked that the Center is $1 million short and Cruz replied that the Foundations goal in 2023 is to close that funding gap.

John Olson asked if there was a traffic study with the Lookout planning another 35 homes across Big Horn Way from the Center. Community Development Director John Ajax replied that they do have one and are asking for a new one. Public Works Director Jake Youngren stated that they planned on collecting traffic date more frequently.

Hollingsworth stated that he didn’t see the Community Center as a big driver for traffic impacts.

Mayor Goedde remarked that he feels the project is fantastic, but is concerned about potential cost overruns on the Anderson Road project.

Cruz ended by saying, “We would love to partner with the City in anyway possible.”

Mayor/Council comments:

Tim Hollingsworth said he had attended a Toyota Center board meeting and that 900 tickets had been sold for the Bighorn’s opening semi-professional basketball team for Thursday night’s game against Seattle.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth

Hollingsworth also asked about the Council Handbook that is forthcoming. City Clerk, Peri Gallucci replied that they have borrowed language from another City. The handbook will be a general guide to the do’s and don’ts of a councilmember.j

John Olson brought up his challenge to the Chamber of Commerce’s request for $700,000 for promotion of Chelan.

Councilman John Olson

The Council decided to override Olson’s request 6-1 and give the Chamber the $700,000 requested for this calendar year, but will evaluate the long term relationship and write a new contract. “Chelan is not short on visitors, but we are short on visitor facilities and services,” said Olson.

Olson stated that the diversification of lodging tax dollar uses is beginning to get recognition from the AWC, legislature and governor.

Olson stated that he thinks changing the uses will be an uphill battle because Mike Steele is not only the Chamber Director but also the Ranking member of the State House Finance Committee. “There’s a real conflict of interest here,” said Olson.

Mayor Bob Goedde

Mayor Goedde stated that according to Steele, the City will not get another 2% in Stadium funding added to the 5% currently assessed for heads on beds, but there is a good chance that Chelan could get a 1% bump.

Ferris remarked that Alabama raised their lodging tax take from 7% to 10%.

Citizen Comments:

Vicki Carr – board member of the Wenatchee Valley Housing Trust spoke during Citizen Comments at Tuesday’s City Council meeting on February28 and stated that 80 percent of applicants for housing are from the agricultural industry and 20 percent are low income individuals.

Vicki Carr

“We have 30 projects in the Wenatchee and Chelan County area,” said Carr. She informed the Council that Gibson Gardens will be undergoing a major upgrade. “I’m very happy to be of service to our community,” she added.

Mike Cooney introduced Scott Meyer to the Council as the Chelan Valley Housing Trust’s new Executive Director. Myer stated that the Trust would be constructing 16 new townhomes just north of Emerson Gardens and have a few single family homes in the mix. “My door is always open,” said Myer.

Chelan Housing Trust’s new
Executive Director Scott Meyer

The City will hold a Workshop on Tuesday, March 7 beginning at 4 p.m. in Council Chambers. The public is invited to attend, but will not be able to speak unless recognized by Mayor Goedde.

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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