City Council approves 90 day emergency order extension

by Richard Uhlhorn

EXTENSION OF MAYOR’S EMERGENCY ORDER:

City Attorney Quentin Batjer explained to the Council that Mayor Goedde had decided to extent his Emergency Order for another 90 days. “We are right on the border of moving back to Phase 2,” said Batjer. “We will remain in Phase 3 for another three weeks before the Governor takes another look as the County. We want to extend the emergency order for another 90 days unless the Council wishes otherwise.”

McCardle brought up outdoor seating and Gildroy told her that the City needs to update the Code and bring it back to Council. McCardle asked when restaurants can put up their outdoor seating areas. Gildroy said he would get back to her. “I will see if there is another solution for restaurants to have their railings up.”

McCardle stated that there currently is no state of emergency and the City wants to extend it so restaurants can have the outdoor seating. Batjer replied that the Emergency Order covers a lot more than just the restaurant situation.

Peter Jamtgaard stated that he was in favor of the extension because numbers are going back up and that Mayor Goedde hasn’t abused the order. “It leaves the City with all the capabilities to act quickly if it needs to,” said Jamtgaard.

Gildroy added that with the current code change the restaurants can operate as long as the civil emergency order is in place. “Once we terminate that order, they can’t operate.” McCardle urged Gildroy to fix the Code as soon as possible because it is “totally unacceptable,” in its current iteration.

Chris Baker asked what the other pieces to the emergency order are. Finance Director Steve Thornton replied that it also has to do with the suspension of water and sewer utility bills.

Ty Witt added that the County and City are not out of the woods yet with regards to the virus. He mentioned the three counties that were put back to Phase 2 by the Governor. “That could be us next week.”

Witt’s concern is the rental moratorium that is killing landlords. “There is no real relief in sight,” said Witt. “Landlords and property owners need some relief too.” He added that at the end of the pandemic, there is going to be a big crisis.

Batjer added that the emergency order also includes deferrred utility bills; emergency funding; cancellation fees at the RV Park; wage and benefits to employees; and telecommuting during the pandemic.

Gildroy acknowledged that the City needs to change the Code and bring it back to the next Council meeting to make outdoor seating a year round thing.

Batjer also noted that the Emergency Order can be amended or eliminated at any time. “It doesn’t have to be in place for 90 days.”

PUBLIC MEETINGS:

Chelan City Council held several public meetings at its Tuesday, April 13th meeting. The first was staff’s request that the Council approve the Chelan Housing Action Plan and instruct them to prepare the adopting resolution.

Lisa Berk of Berk Consulting told the Council that 125 people had responded to a survey on housing. “The consensus was a need for affordable housing,” she said.

The ongoing study included:
• Quantify existing and projected housing needs for all income levels and household characteristics, and cost-burdened households
• Develop strategies to increase the supply of housing, and variety of housing types
• Analyze population and employment trends and projections
• Consider strategies to minimize displacement of low-income residents
• Review and evaluate the current housing element
• Provide for participation / input from community members, local builders and realtors, nonprofit housing advocates, and local religious groups
• Include a schedule of programs and actions to implement the recommendations of the housing action plan A

Information and Findings found the following:

• Home ownership is unaffordable for many households.

• Rental housing costs are rising, and options are limited for low – and moderate -income households.

• There is lack of diversity in the housing options available to local households and a misalignment between the size of housing units and the size of households.

• Opportunities for senior housing will become increasingly important.

• There is a lack of housing for seasonal workers and farm workers.

“This is more like a working plan as you implement your development plan,” said Berk. There were no public comments on this issue and the Council moved to approve the Plan and instructed the staff to prepare an adopting resolution for the next Council meeting.

The second public hearing also had no comments. The request from Public Works Director Jake Youngren was for Council to approve the vacation of the Bighorn Horn Road at Porcupine at the Lookout. 

Youngren told the Council that from a staff standpoint the vacation of this portion of the Lookout’s Bighorn Road would reduce the Public Works maintenance issues at the Lookout. “Overall we don’t have an issue of what’s being vacated,” said Youngren.

Erin McCardle asked about potential fire issues? Youngren replied that nothing changes with regards to emergency access. The Council unanimously approved Ordinance No. 2021-1586 to vacate that portion of the road.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT FOR PARKS:

The other big issue affecting the residents is the City’s decision to rehire Phoenix Protective Corporation to manage entrance to the Chelan Park System during the busy weekends, i.e. Memorial Day and July 4. Also on weekends of a major influx of people.

Parks Director Paul Horne told the Council that the company’s efforts last year were successful. “We anticipate another crowded year. People want to get out.” Mayor Goedde added that 79% of the State’s residents have stated they are staying and traveling within the state this coming tourist season.

The City spent $50,000 on this service last year, but was reimbursed through the CARES funding. Witt asked why it wasn’t in the budget? Thornton said it was absorbed last year and there is no reason to think that the City won’t receive more federal money to help with these issues.

MAYOR/COUNCIL COMMENTS:

Ty Witt suggested that the City move towards a hybrid meeting where Council members can sit together and conduct its meetings in Council Chambers. “Other agencies are moving ahead with this.” City Clerk Peri Gallucci replied that she is in the process of getting that worked out. “We are working towards that.”

John Olson said he has been hearing two themes from his constituents. “Many are concerned and wondering if we will have a heavy fire season this year.” He mentioned a PBS program entitled, “The West is Burning” and the fact that Chelan has a number of residential areas that are in the urban/interface with wildlands.

Olson added that residents are also asking what the City is doing about increasing access to the lake. Youngren added that there is a legislative move to force private owners to allow public access to the lake.

Erin McCardle mentioned that the City is receiving $920,000 in American Rescue Plan money. “I would love to see the community have a little more say in how we use those funds,” said McCardle. She also stated that the downtown revitalization is looking at being funded.

Mayor Goedde reported that at the recent Tricom meeting with the County, PUD and Cities, that the PUD passed a resolution to shut down power to residents in case of a major wildfire so the County doesn’t suffer a Paradise situation. “If a major fire got started at 25 Mile Creek with a down lake wind, we could kiss the South Shore of Lake Chelan goodbye.”

Jake Youngren said he has changed job descriptions at Public Works and that the staff will be monitoring the garbage issue at the parks and downtown this year.

City Administrator Wade Ferris asked the Council to bring proposals for the use of the money received. “Do we use if for infrastruction… business help.” said Ferris.

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City considers Parks Maintenance Building project

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan City Council held a workshop on Tuesday afternoon, April 6 to go over the City’s Draft Housing Action Plan and a ParksMaintenanceBuildingdiscussion which included the proposed building feasibility presentation.

In addition, Ben Williams, president of the Seven Acres Foundation, requested City support for a $900,000 Community Project Funding Grant for projects and activities that have a direct impact on Washington’s 8th Congressional District.

Williams told the Council that the foundation is eligible for a community enhancement grant that has two requirements… that the project is rural and has broad based support of the community.

Williams reported that Seven Acres has made progress over the past year with a number of grants looking favorable. “We need to submit this application by tomorrow,” said Williams. He requested a letter of endorsement for the project from the City. “It’s a $900,000 opportunity through Kim Schrier’s office.” He added that dirt work was continuing and that the foundation plans on starting construction by this coming Fall.

Councilman Peter Jamtgaard made the motion to support the effort and said, “You guys are lucky that you have all your ducks in a row with Schrier’s office.” The council was unanimous in endorsing the Community Center.

The Council heard a presentation on the new proposed Parks Maintenance Building that has been on the books since 2017. “It’s something that visitors see when they arrive and can be their first impression of Chelan,” said Parks Director Paul Horne. “We want any public building to show our pride.”

Architect Graham Baba put together proposed size, city needs and potential interface with the public. He introduced Jason Henry, a landscape architect, who stated that it was important to make sure the completed work would last 50 years. After looking at three potential sites at Don Morse Park the decision was made to keep the maintenance footprint where it currently is. “We did a 50 year plan,” said Henry.

They broke the major elements and explored some public amenities like public restrooms as a future phase.

The current plan includes screening of the maintenance building, an increase of 22 parking stalls and included a 32 yard trash compactor.

The developed budget came in at $272 per sq. ft. or $1,797,234 for the building and site work. “We will be tracking this all the way,” said Trish Drew, managing director of DCW Cost Management. “The market is quite volatile right now,” she added. She stated they would look to see who is able to do this kind of work which involves a pre-manufactured bulding.

“This is gong to be a managed project,” said Drew adding that mechanical and electrical are the cost drivers. Total cost for Phase One is estimated at $2,204,879.

Tim Hollingsworth remarked that the soft costs were over 15 percent of the total costs. “It that typical for this kind of project?” She replied that everything was a 7.5 percent, but when you add all the other disciplines it shoves the percentage up.

Ty Witt asked how much work the City could do and Horne replied that Jake Youngren did a lot of homework and decided that the City would run up against State Laws. Youngren added that the Public Works department tries to maximize its sweat equity, but that State law dictates what is allowed. “We can’t even be a general contractor on our own projects,” said Youngren.

Erin McCardle, who wasn’t present, sent her comments in support of the project. John Olson agreed. Mayor Goedde said it was unfortunate that it was over $2.5 million. Hollingsworth said it was time to move forward. “Everything is twice as expensive as it should be.”

Horne said that it works with a 10 year pay back as a capital investment for the City that can be used as collateral if the City ever needed to get a loan .

Mayor Goedde replied to the comment that it was a lot of money. “The State Legislature put it upon us… that’s what they done to us. We don’t have a lot of choices.” He added that the City needs to find grant writers.

Hospital board approves $28,483,000 contract for new hospital

by Richard Uhlhorn

Lake Chelan Health’s board of commissioners held a special meeting on April 5 to hear the outcome of the bidding process to build the new hospital.

Dick Bratton, project manager, explained that the bidding effort was undertaken in the past week with general contractor Bouten Construction. Bratton stated that on the basis of qualifications, 27 bid packages were formalized. “We did significant advertising and solicitations,” said Bratton. “We had significant bid input from mechanical and electrical contractors.”

Brandon Potts, vice president of Bouten Construction, said that the bids went out to 130 bidders including 35 bidders from the Chelan area and region. “We met with 15 local bidders,” explained Potts. The bidding documents were sent to five plan centers including the Wenatchee Plan Center. The project was advertised in the Daily Journal of Commerce and local papers. “We received 86 bids on the project,” he said. This included three local bidders for surveying and dirt work.

Bids came in from five Western Washington contractors, 27 Central Washington, 52 Eastern Washington and two from Idaho. “These bids are good for 60 days,” Potts told the commission.

Hospital bidders

Bratton provided a one sheet  overview of the bids and told the commission that the final bid proposal is guaranteed. The bids came in at $23,491,088 with $100,000 added for differing soil conditions and an envelope consultant to bring it to $23,591,088. With all other contingencies added the final guaranteed price was $28,483,000. “I’m pleased that that number is right on budget,” said Bratton. “It is within the $44.5 million overall project cost. There was a lot of important work done.” The bid amount does not include Washington State Sales Tax which is $2.3 million.

Permits have not been issued, but Chris Finch, senior project manager at CollernsWoerman said that they have received comments from the City of Chelan, Department of Health and the  Washington State Labor & Industries. Bratton added that the USDA (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) has issued a letter after reviewing the documents. “We have a USDA pre-construction meeting coming up in the board room,” stated Bratton.

The plan on mobilizing at the end of April and start the project on April 26 pending permitting and a finish day of August, 2022. “We need to proceed forward and get the contracts ready for signature.”

Commissioner Mary Signorelli asked if permitting will slow the project down? Bratton replied that he has addressed this with Chelan’s city manager and Mayor Goedde who indicated that they would step in and push back if there was a holdup.

Chairperson Mary Murphy asked if he needed the board’s permission to proceed. He replied that he needed approval on the cost of the project. Jordana LaPorte asked where the $2.3 million was coming from. Bratton said it is in the performa. LaPorte then asked about potential change orders that would drive the cost of the project up. Bratton stated that change orders were covered in the contingencies. LaPorte asked if materials were being purchased from U.S. suppliers or International suppliers? Bratton said, “It’s pretty interesting. Its Buy America right now.”

Fred Miller asked how confident Brouten is with the timeline they have set? Bratton replied that the bidders had to acknowledge the timeline and that the current bids were good for 60 days. “This needs to happen now folks,” explained Bratton. He added that the firm is under the guidelines of RWC 39.10 which covers public/private contracts.

“There is nothing here that is going to get you into trouble,” said Bratton. He added that he is unhappy when looking at change orders. “There is adequate funding available for change orders,” he said.

LaPorte wanted to review the contracts before voting to approve the bid and Bratton said, “That’s why you hired us.” He also said that counsel is reviewing the contracts. Miller added that the hospital hired experts to get them to this point and the project should go forward as presented. The motion was unanimously approved.

After approval of several other resolutions, the board went into executive session for one hour. When they emerged, they announced that they’ve appointed Jeremy Jaech to replace Phyliss Gleasman on the board. No biography is available yet but a Google search offered this: Jeremy Jaech is a technology and software entrepreneur. Currently he serves as managing partner (owner) for Harmony Meadows, LLC.

Planning Commission given go ahead to bring forth recommendations on GMA amendments

By Richard Uhlhorn

PARK CONCESSION CHANGE:

Lakerider Sports has been purchased by Wayne Bird reported Chelan Parks Director Paul Horne at Tuesday evening’s Chelan City Council meeting. “He is interested in running the concession year round,” Horne told the council. Bird has also indicated that he will be improving the property. “If he does well, a percentage of his net kicks in for the City. Wayne is happy, and I am happy.”

John Olson asked it the quadruple rent was a bit much. Horne replied that both he and Bird went over the rent schedule prior to Bird signing and he’s happy. “Is there any room for protection because of COVID,” asked Olson. Horne replied that Bird could always come back to amend the contract if business was affected by an outside influence like COVID. “At the end of the day, we all have to be reasonable actors,” said Horne. The council unanimously approved the new concession contract.

GMA AMENDMENTS:

Planning Director Craig Gildroy presented the effort to amend the Growth Management Act for Chelan. This is done once a year and Gildroy wanted the Council to know what portions of the Act they are proposing to amend. “With COVID, we couldn’t get public input,” said Gildroy. The Planning Commission is looking at a number of different issues to amend and make recommendations to the Council. These include:

  • The Northshore Pathway and the Lakeside Trail for conceptual design adoption and adding Comprehensive Plan Goals and Polices to guide that effort. Gildroy stated that the City needs to reach out to the public on these projects. “The plans could affect driveways along the route.”
  • Review the Affordable Housing Program including waived and/or reduced fees for infrastructure needs. The Planning Commission will also look at Micro housing and Tiny Homes. “We weren’t sure the public wanted to see these types of structures.”
    Tim Hollingsworth told Gildroy to make sure the commission includes the affordable housing zoning revisions that is being worked on. “I would especially like to see an open house where people can see what is being proposed,” said Hollingsworth. “We need more face to face involvement.” Peter Jamtgaard added that the City needs more ADUs, not as neighborhoods.

    Gildroy commented that many residents are not happy about the old Bridge redesign and also that water supply for developments is becoming as issue. “Every new development has to bring water rights or purchase them from the city. We look at their needs really hard.”

City Council will hold a workshop on April 6.

Hospital to open construction bids on April 5

by Richard Uhlhorn

With Phyliss Gleasman’s resignation from the hospital board leaving a big hole in the chairmanship, the board elected Vice-Chair Mary Murphy to take over the lead seat on the board with Jordana LaPorte becoming the Vice-Chair.

Hospital Commissioner Mary Murphy was elected as the Chairperson to replace Phyliss Gleasman who resigned her position on the board.

In accepting the position, Murphy thanked Gleasman publicly for her five years on the board; two of them as the Chairperson. “She has been an inspiration for me and I thank her for working with me,” said Murphy. “We’ve had so many unusual challenges in 2020 and 2021 will also throw some things at us.” Murphy thanked the board for their confidence in her. “I will do my best.”

With Gleasman’s resignation, the board will seek to fill the vacant seat with a person that can bring a skill set to the board. Commissioner Mary Signorelli said that the list of qualifications being sought would turn off potential board members from being to concise. “I doubt that any of us would qualify for what we are asking of a new board member,” said Signorelli.

Murphy replied that the list of qualifications were not requirements but were only listed as preferences that would help the board do its work. Signorelli shot back and said that, “Something like this will turn off potential board members. For all practical purposes, this is a volunteer position. I don’t want to exclude a whole group of people or intimidate them!”

Jordana La Porte was elevated to Vice Chair on the Hospital Commission.

Jordana LaPorte added that the community is small and everyone knows everyone. “I hope that a new board member will bring something to the table we don’t have.” She added that it is a very complex business with a huge learning curve.

CEO George Rohrich added that it is an excellent opportunity for the equity policy to be implemented. “Maybe a young man or a minority person would be welcome. We should hire for attitude and train for skills,” said Rohrich.

Signorelli replied that a minority would be most welcome. “We need people to apply. We need to advertise this more than we are,” she said. Fred Miller stated that the only real requirement to apply for a board position is to be a registered voter. Murphy stated that it is all about serving the community.

The board will continue to conduct business as usual despite having a potential tie vote on issues. Signorelli wanted the board to wait until a new board member was on board before conducting board business. LaPorte stated that the board still has to conduct business. The decision was made to move forward with Signorelli abstaining.

It was reported that the hospital can receive another $2 million from the Payroll Protection Funding (federal). The suggestion from staff was to take the money and sit on it because the hospital doesn’t know how much will have to be returned. “Hopefully we can apply it to our losses if we get to keep it.” Murphy said, “It is good to have a safety net.”

CFO Cheryl Cornwell reported that financially February was not pretty. “We are not making as much money as we budgeted,’ she said. “Our net operating loss was $327,613.” She added that the hospital has $4 million sitting in the bank and is hoping they can keep a large portion of those funds. “It would help us with the losses. Revenue is the problem.”

Rohrich said that the Clinic is now open 9-6 everyday and that it only takes a walk-in 10 to 15 minutes to see a provider. LaPorte said she drove by on Sunday and the clinic looked closed. “It doesn’t look open. We need to get the word out.”

According to the Facilities Committee, the construction bids will be opened in early April. Murphy said in a separate phone call that the opening of the bids will be public and the community is invited to sit in on the ZOOM meeting on April 5.

The commission approved a six month leave of absence for Dr. Bradley who is going to West Africa to work.

Lake Chelan water quality is up to the public

by Richard Uhlhorn

‘KEEP IT BLUE’ CAMPAIGN:

Lisa Dowling, Chelan County Natural Resources Department.

With an estimated 2 million visitors each year, the importance of keeping ‘Lake Chelan Blue’ is becoming more and more important.

A lot of behind the scenes water quality monitoring and water supply issues are being addressed, however, a major move forward is the new website that has a lot of information on how the public can become involved and help protect the lake quality.

There are a number of ways to donate and soon there will be Keep It Blue campaign stickers, a rack card, and a membership donation portal.

Check out the new website here: https://www.keepitbluelakechelan.org/

The Lake Chelan Watershed Planning Unit met on Wednesday, March 10, to receive updates on a number of issues facing the unit. These include Water Supply, Water Quality, Aquatic Invasive Species, the upcoming “Keep It Blue” campaign, and regular updates from the Lake Chelan Research Institute, Lake Chelan Fishery Forum and the US Forest Service.

WATER SUPPLY:

Candis Graff, DOE, Program manager.

“We are a year behind what I thought we would be,” said Graff. “We are working on the first batch of applications and have eliminated three who are not interested.” RH2 is working with the remaining seven, three of which are ground water applications and four are surface water applications. One has requested irrigation water from Fish Creek. “I’m really jazzed with how things are going. We have 11 in the second batch.

Mike Kaputa asked if she had any insight on delays they could address in the future? Graff replied that the process was delayed by the Pandemic. “We did not have a process in place for reviews for the financial office.” Applicants were having issues with scanning paperwork and some were not at the residences where applications were mailed. “I would like to see review times shortened,” she added.

Mike Kaputa reported on the progress of the large area permitting. “This permit covers all of Lake Chelan,” said Kaputa. He also reported that the County has purchased water rights from Bear Mountain Water District.

Final postings will be in place by mid-March and the Water Code will be done by April 1. “We can start issuing that water and we will be able to address home who are those folks get paper work.

WATER QUALITY:

Lake Chelan in eastern Washington stretches 55 miles into the North Cascades and is considered one of the three cleanest lakes in the contiguous United States. It is also the third deepest lake at 1500 feet behind Crater Lake in Oregon and Lake Tahoe in Nevada. The Lake Chelan Valley was carved during the ice age and is known for its world famous apples that are exported throughout the world. It is also becoming a major wine destination with tourists who enjoy visiting the 30 boutique wineries.

Phil Long, LCRI – Keith Seiders, DOE Environmental Assessment Program.

Keith Seiders, DOE, presented the departments 2021 Fish Sampling Status and Schedule to the group. They will be mimicking the 2003-2010 sampling of fish for the Toxic Studies Unit.

These are the sampling sites for Lake Trout (Mackinaw) that will be used to mirror the 2003/2010 sampling for DDT and other chemicals.

Lake Trout (Mackinaw) in Lake Chelan have some of the highest toxicity levels in the Nation. “Our focus will be on the Wapato Basin,” said Seiders. “We don’t understand what is happening. It will be interesting to see the results of our 2021 sampling program.”

The draft plan will be finished in early April. “We might need bodies to help collect fish,” said Seiders, indicating that fishermen could volunteer to help out. Seiders can be reached at 360-407-6689.

Clay Patmont, a member of the Watershed Planning Unit and board member of the Lake Chelan Research Institute asked Seiders when the results of the fish sampling study would be available. Seiders replied that a lot of operations have slowed down because of COVID and that Ecology would try to get a report out within two years.

Phil Long, Lake Chelan Research Institute, asked Patmont about lead/arsenic levels in the sediments or lake. Patmont replied that typically they have not studied lead levels because it doesn’t tell them much. However, there are a variety of arsenic compounds found in residential soils. “We know there is elevated levels of arsenic,” said Patmont. DDT is moving around in the system and Lake Trout have the highest levels in the Nation. There was a lot of use of arsenic along with DDT.”

Seiders added that they found arsenic in 2003 and Patmont said that dissolved inorganic arsenic in the sediment is a concern. “It enters the water high up on the food chain.”

Long stated that sediment cores should show some pattern use of arsenic in Manson. “I think that is important to look at,” said Long. As for the fish sampling program, Long suggested that the fishing guides on Lake Chelan are busy and it would be a good idea to lock down some dates for sampling as early as possible.

Kaputa added that there are some land mines around the issue of arsenic and DDT and that it is important how the messaging is distributed between efforts. “Keep engaging with this group,” Kaputa said.

Long gave a quick presentation of the Research Institute’s water quality monitoring efforts. “Covid impacted our work in 2020,” said Long. “We hope to get a full data set in 2021.”

Water clarity hasn’t changed much since the 80s. Total phosphorus is well within the TDML guidelines.

More emphasis will be placed on near shore quality studies in the future because of an increase in algae along the shorelines that have residents asking why. “I heard a lot of that last year,” said Long. “We will focus on near shore water quality.”

The Lake Chelan Reclamation District is monitoring water quality at its irrigation water intake every other week. Since 2017, the Sunset Marina station has been monitoring the water every 15 minutes.

This coming water quality monitoring will include a look at chemical fertilizers entering the lake and septic system monitoring. From August to September, an Aquatic Invasive Species survey will be conducted.

A storm drain warns not to dump any pollutants because the stormlines are connected to a stream that support fish.

One of the priority programs being planned is a Diver Assisted air lift program to try and remove milfoil and Asian clams. This program will cost in the neighborhood of $25,000. Twelve foot tall patches of milfoil has been located in front of homes in Minneapolis Beach. Funding for this effort came from Ann Congdon. The Institute is hoping to have $30,000 available for the August-September work.

Long is hoping to conduct near-shore real time monitoring. The devices are available at $12,000.

Seiders asked Long about sampling sediments for DDT loads and Long replied that would be a part of the 2021 studies. Seiders considers the core sampling as high priority and offered to help with that effort.

One of the biggest concerns is the introduction of an invasive species like Zebra mussels to Lake Chelan. Once introduced they multiply rapidly and can cause millions of dollars to eradicate.

Signage is being used to educate boaters on how they can help keep
invasive species out of Lake Chelan

A Watercraft Inspection Program with two mobile units is slated to begin in 2022, but until that time, boaters are being asked to be very careful to not transport invasive species to the lake. This program is being funded by the National Park Service for one year. It will support staff training, equipment, and labor to implement inspections on weekends and during water based tournaments (hydroplane and sailing events).

5-litre hydro planes race to the start/finish line for the start of their race at the annual Lake Chelan Hydrofest. In the future these and other boats associated with events will be inspected for invasive species before being allowed to run.

In addition to protecting the lake from the influx of invasive species from the recreational boating public and other water related events, a new threat has surfaced. Zebra mussels have been detected in aquarium moss balls.

Zebra mussels have been found in ‘Beta Buddy’ moss balls for aquariums. The concern is that aquarium water could be dumped into the watershed and introduce these invasive mussels to that watershed.

Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) enforcement agents investigated and removed 56 “Beta Buddy” moss balls from a Seattle area PetCo store and visually confirmed the presence of at least 12 Zebra mussels. It’s report can be found here:

https://wdfw.wa.gov/news/state-asks-public-inspect-aquarium-moss-and-prevent-movement-invasive-mussels.

The next Watershed Planning Unit meeting will be held in June.

City releases $50,000 for glass recycling project

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan City Council voted unanimously to release $50,000 that was set aside for the potential glass recycling effort mounted by the Lake Chelan Rotary Club despite several issues that need to be addressed between the Rotary and City.

The primary reason for the early release of the $50,000 was the need to have the glass crushing machine on-site by the end of March so the Rotary can take advantage of another $50,000 grant offered by the Department of Ecology. That grant offer has a drop dead date of March 30.

The Rotary Club has a budget of $150,000 which includes the City’s funding, the DOE grant, $30,000 committed from the Lake Chelan Wine Alliance, and some $1,000 donations.

The issues remaining include an operating agreement between the City and Rotary, certified forklift operators, releases and a facility use agreement and solid waste permit.

City attorney Quentin Batjer told the Council that the agreements are “just not ready for prime time yet.” Councilman Ty Witt agreed that the request for the City’s funding was putting pressure on, but also said he was concerned about losing the DOE funding. “We should try to get this rolling,” he said.

Councilwoman Erin McCardle said, “What’s at risk is losing $50,000 from the DOE…that’s a lot of money to make up.” Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said he would love to release the City’s funds, but thought the big Red Flag was the lack of a Solid Waste Permit.

The Council all agreed that the glass recycling project is needed. The residents of the valley have been crying to have glass recycling restarted in the valley for the last two years.

The Council also unanimously approved a resolution to allow the HDCA Downtown Revitalization Project to go after grant opportunities. “Sometimes we don’t have the time to get in front of City Council,” said McCardle who is the executive director of the HDCA. “We don’t want to miss opportunities which is the purpose of this resolution,” she added.

The Council unanimously moved to award the Lift Station No. 5 Lift Station Improvements and Force Main Replacement Project to KRCI. The project, which will create minor traffic delays along Hwy 97A at the Three Fingers, will be a shared cost project with the City paying 51 percent and the Lake Chelan Sewer District 49 percent of the project costs. The City also entered into an Agreement with GBI Holding Co. for Lake Park Block 8 Lot 1-20 for a utilities easement for the project. RH2 Engineering will oversee the project inspection services. “The award will get this constructed before Memorial Day,” said Public Works Director Jake Youngren.

Mayor/Council Comments:

Tim Hollingsworth remarked that the Housing Trust is looking at the infrastructure needs on Anderson Road which includes the construction of sewer and water lines. “We’ve looked at our resources and are considering a Community Development Block Grant,” said Hollingsworth. “Ultimately the City will be the applicant.” A pubic hearing will also be arranged.

John Olson remarked that the City is 75 days away from Memorial Day.

Servando Robledo thanked Julie McCoy for putting together the glass recycling plans.

Peter Jamtgaard said in retrospect that he would have voted for accepting the bids on the proposed Public Works Administration Building after looking at the cost of materials. “I would have supported it knowing the prices. They are not going to come down.”

Mayor Bob Goedde encouraged the Council to attend a Destination Development presentation on March 17 at 8:30 p.m. “It wil cover how to do business plans.”

City Administrator Wade Ferris said the Chelan School District is going in another direction for its school parking lot parking issues. He also told council that the 17th Green at the golf course would be moved starting on March 29.

Parks Director Paul Horne said he is working on a volunteer program for the Parks this summer and that the beach at Don Morse Park has been scrapped.

City Council approves economic impact study on golfers

by Richard Uhlhorn

In 2020, a study of operations at the Lake Chelan Golf Course was conducted. The study included recommendations for success at the course along with improvements needed.

Also the study recommended that an Economic Impact Study be conducted to provide information on outside contributions that golf course users make in the community’s overall tourism economy.

Golfer who golfed at the Lake Chelan Golf Course will be the subject of an Economic Impact Study of where they spent their money outside of the golf course. The contractor will be using cell phone data from 2019 and 2020 to conduct the study.

City Council was asked to authorize Mayor Goedde to finalize and execute a contract with Earth Economics for an Economic Impact Analysis for the city’s course.

The City allocated $15,000 for this project in 2021. Earth Economics came in above that price at $18,400 to conduct the study using their innovative use of cell phone data from 2019 and 2020. The firms portfolio includes economic analysis on Outdoor Recreation in Washington State for the State’s Department of Natural Resources and WA. St. Recreation and Conservation Office.

“I’m excited about this project,” said Parks Director Paul Horne. “The company uses cutting edge technology.” The Parks Department hopes that the end result will show how the Golf Course contributes to the City.

The company will only be tracking golfers and all data will remain anonymous, but Councilman Peter Jamtgaard said it sounds like 1984 to him. “There is something about this that strikes a bad cord with me,” said Jamtgaard. Councilman John Olson replied to Jamtgaard’s issue and said that the data collected is not connected to any specific person.

Tim Hollingsworth added that if the data is not attached to a specific phone, he can’t see where it oversteps a person’s privacy. Olson said he’d had the opportunity of working with this company on the west side when he was in real estate. “They are extremely thorough and reliable.”

The Council voted to approve the authorization with Jamtgaard voting No.

The other big issue at Tuesday’s Council meeting was the proposed construction of the new Public Works Building. The City opened bids for the project on February 11 from three general contractors; Blew’s Construction, Cascade Central Construction and Halme Builders.

The City Council rejected the bids to build the City’s proposed Public Works Building because the bids came in at almost $1 million over the Architects estimate.

The bids came in approximately 70% ($1 million) higher than the City’s contracted architect; Design West Architects. The bids were all within $100,000 of each other at a low of $2,200,000 to a high of $2,300,000.

The architect stated that he had never seen a square foot price as high as this ($529.00). Public Works Director Jake Youngren told the Council that they had reached out to each contractor and said there wasn’t any one thing that drove the bids that high. “We want to move forward but our recommendation is to reject these bids and look for ways to restore this project.”

Mayor Goedde said they should sort out the bids out and come back as a later date. Youngren replied that coming back a year later could result in an even higher price.

Councilman Ty Witt remarked that the price per square foot prices are becoming unattainable for a lot of projects. Youngren added that out of town subs were less expensive but that the local subcontractors were killing the City. “They are crazy,” remarked Youngren. He promised to broaden the bidders net in hopes of finding better bids, but Witt reminded him and the Council that with Hospital and Community Center construction in the near future. “All three bidders were within one percent of each other.”

Hollingsworth added that it will be a crazy busy season for this coming year. Erin McCardle if there was some connection between the public works building and the proposed parks maintenance building that could be combined. Olson added that the City’s three building projects might be better to be rolled into one project. Jamtgaard added that changing the look of the building and getting rid of glass could change the bids dramatically.

Mayor/Council Comments:

Chris Baker asked if the bids on the proposed construction would go down based on the economy. Youngren replied they would.

Peter Jamtgaard complemented Jake Youngren on his work and said he feels the frustration on the building issue. “We will get there.”

Ty Witt reported that the DOE grant for the glass crusher has been approved but that it has a timeline on it indicating they need a more completed performa on the project which he will provide to the Council at the next meeting.

Erin McCardle attended the recent Port of Chelan County meeting and said that Washington has received $240 million more for small business in the second round.

The Port will apparently be using a Artificial Intelligence Portal for this second round instead of local recommendations. She said that $150 million will be used to help maintain businesses that have stayed the course and $90 million for businesses who had to close. The funding cycle opens in mid March and that a lot of effort will be there to push applications.

McCardle added that 80 percent of the businesses have no on-line presence and she hopes to help bring 10 to 15 more businesses up on-line.

The Port Economic group were surprised that the Glass Recycling Project didn’t ask for some of the $17 million they had available to loan. “I’m not sure where the disconnect happened,” said McCardle. “The Rotary Glass group should tap into this.”

Tim Hollingsworth stated that that the Rotary Club’s glass recycling group has been talking to Public Works about a collaborative effort. Hollingsworth also asked about the PUD boat launch and school parking issue. Mayor Goedde replied he hadn’t heard back from Barry DePaoli. City Administrator Wade Ferris remarked that the City is researching the liability issues and looking at options.

John Olson said that ReRuns is interested in helping hall crushed glass and reminded the Council that the City is only 94 days away from Memorial Day.

Servando Robledo said that Public Works should reassess its building plans and consider combining the building projects into one building. “It’s time to reconsder,” said Robledo.

Mayor Bob Goedde encouraged the Council to watch the Destination Development series on making the community sustainable. He also mentioned the possibility of utilizing a cadre of ambassadors to help with the tourism issues.

Wade Ferris said the staff was talking about plans for the summer rush and the need to come up with a real plan so when the City rolls into Memorial Day they are not reacting but being proactive. McCardle asked if the Bridge jumping issue was also being looked at and Ferris replied that it was.

Two individuals have requested that they be forgiven portions of the City bills.

John Olson mentioned Mike Richardson who is an owner of the building on the NE corner of Wooding and Emerson. H suggested that the City split that bill and refund 50 percent to her. He added that she is a part of the Kelly family and mentioned all the good things they have done in the community over the years.

Hollingsworth said he is worried about setting a precedent. “It’s pretty subjective.” McCardle added that the City has gotten into hot water over these types of issues before and that the Council needs to take the emotional side out of it.

Jamtgaard thought that a certain amount of grace is appropriate in some of these situations. McCardle stated that the City needs to have a policy on this so they know what and what they cannot do. Hollingsworth added that a consistent policy would be helpful.

The City’s next meeting is a workshop that will begin at 4 p.m. next Tuesday, at 4 p.m. The City encourages people to attend City Council meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month beginning at 6 p.m.

Residents in hospital district will receive newsletter next week

by Richard Uhlhorn

Last month it was reported that a newsletter would be going out to residents in the Hospital District in early February. This didn’t happen but Agustin Benegas assured the Commission that the newsletter and board’s letter will go out, hopefully on Thursday, February 25 or by early next week.

FINANCE COMMITTEE REPORT:

CFO Cheryl Cornwell remarked that January was not very profitable which was to be expected since January is traditionally one of the facilities slowest months. She stated that there was very little change in the balance sheet but that there are a lot of changes to the business model due to COVID. “COVID has blown away the way we do business,” she said.

Cornwell also said that the hospital has several million dollars sitting in the bank waiting for the government auditors to determine if it has to be repaid. “If we can keep that money, it will have a huge impact on our budget sheet.” Cornwell added that Chelan was not alone in this issue.

Being shut down 10 days because of a COVID outbreak at the hospital didn’t help January’s bottom line either. The Hospital was $244,000 under its budget for the month.

FACILITY COMMITTEE:

Rohrich told the commission that the construction documents have been submitted to all agencies for approval of permits including Naumes. “We are estimating a couple of months for those approvals to come back,” said Rohrich.

Jordana LaPorte asked why Naumes was included in the submittals. Rohrich replied that while they do not have approval authority, but more to keep them in the loop.

LaPorte asked when they could see the documents and Rohrich asked what she would like to see. She replied that she would like to see the floor plan to see if thte cost of that portion is within line. Gleasman reiterated that the hospital has to stay within 44.4 million and that when the bids come in the board will have them presented for the board’s perusal.

Rohrich stated that he expected the bids to come back around March 30. Mary Murphy remarked that permits will take up to two months. Rohrich said, “We can’t proceed without permits whereas Mary Signorelli stated, “We can’t proceed if the bids come in too high.” At that point, the hospital would have to go back and see where it can make adjustments.

Rohrich remarked that the board will have to convene a special meeting to discuss the bids. Gleasman added that would happen sometime in March or April.

COMMUNITY COMMITTEE:

Agustin Benegas told the board that the Newsletter is at the printers and that it, along with the Board’s letter would hopefully be mailed this Thurday, February 25, but if not, early next week.

Rohrich told the board that the Hospital has received vaccine for the community to be administered on Thursday, February 25, at the Fire Station and recommended that people register on the Hospital’s website (lakechelanhealth.org) for a time. Benegas said that registration opened up at 2 p.m. on Tuesday for 500 doses. Those individuals who received their first shot last month will receive their second shot on Saturday, February 27, at the Fire Station. If a person doesn’t have a computer, they can call 682-6115 and talk to Karen who will help them get registered.

The commission unanimously approved a contract with Dr. Manos who according to CEO George Rohrich has 30 years experience in pain management. The contract is for one day per week for one year. “It is a pretty good opportunity to start out. We will decide in six months whether to continue the contract or not.”

Gleasman asked what pain management included? Rohrich replied that in includes infusions and injections for people with chronic pain issues but that it also depends on insurance. When in town Dr. Manos will spend a half day at the Clinic and then a half day performing procedures at the hospital.

Fred Miller asked if his services would be advertised to the community. Rohrich said it would be and he recognizes that it is a small service for the hospital. He expects Dr. Manos to maybe see five patients in the clinic per year.

Chelan Fire & Rescue slips into 2021 with $703,000

by Richard Uhlhorn

“We carried over $703,000 from  2020 which is much higher than forecast,” Chief Mark Donnell told fire commissioners at its February 17 commission meeting. The District has put $100,000 of those funds into its capital apparatus fund which brings the total to $260,000. In addition, the District has received another $67,000 from Cal Fire and is putting another $20,000 into the fund. The remaining $47,000 covers what the District paid out in salaries and overtime.

February has started off slow for the District and Donnell expects it to “come in around 35 calls total.”

The District’s hydrant issue is a lot larger than commonly thought. There are 193 hydrants lacking the four inch Storz fittings. “We need to find out who they belong too,” said Donnell. The City owns some of them as does Isenhart Water District.

Commissioner Oules asked the timeline of installing 4 inch Storz fittings at the Lookout Development. Donnell replied that the Lookout has agreed to put in the new fittings, but that there are a number of issues at the development. The District has conducted a two year traffic study which proves how precarious driving a fire truck through would be in the original plat.

Commissioner Moller asked about taking a ladder truck up there. Donnell replied that it would not be going up there. “The City is staying on top of the developers,” stated Donnell. “Only the original development is problematic.”

The District also received an email from Hughes Fire which is much closer than the company in St. Louis that has been thought to be the firm to work on the corrosion issues on Ladder 71. “It gives us another option,” said Donnell. He warned that Hughes had not been responsive and they had forgot about them until this email came in indicating interest.

The Safer Grant that Chief Brandon Asher falls under is finished at the end of this year, but Donnell said that the grant program has reopened and that Manson, Orondo and Entiat will all  participate in the Grant request. Applications are due by March 12.

Chief Asher reported that he has been in conversations with Chelan 1 developing a Hazmat Support Group and that Chelan 1 will lend one of their ladder trucks until the District’s is returned.

Chief Asher reported that Orondo has two more recruits but that two recruits from Chelan didn’t show up at the Recruit Academy. “I’m willing to work with people, but I don’t want to waste my time.” He has called each of the 10 times with no response. The Academy is going well despite the lack of response from two potential volunteers.

He also reported that the District would be assisting the City in burning down the Public Works Building in preparation for new construction, but said that the City received much higher construction bids on the new facility than was estimated. “It was over $1 million over what they were expecting.”

Commissioner Russ Jones remarked that the EMT training was going well. “It’s a great group and we are getting lots of information. It also gives me a chance to get to know volunteers.”

Dan Crandall, Firefighters Association President, reported that the association as $32,000 in its account which should carry them through the year in support of victims. He’s also hoping to be able to hold a Pancake Breakfast in July or August. Moller told him that the annual Car Show in June is being planned.

Unfinished Business:

The agreement between the City and Fire Department on service is on hold because the city’s employee is out on medical leave for the foreseeable future. Donnell did report that City Councilman Chris Baker will be taking the liaison position on between the City and Department.

Chief Donnell requested that the Commissioners give him their list of three individuals they would like to see on the Citizen’s Advisory Group. He has, and the commission agreed, that Concie Luna would facilitate the upcoming meetings. “I’m sold,” said Donnell. He hopes to have the first meeting in March.

Karyl Oules has already submitted her names for the committee. Phil Moller stated that he expected Donnell, Asher and Carol Kibler to be present at each meeting of the committee

Donnell also stated that some staff would be involved but not participatory. “They will be there as a support role.” He also stated that since the County is in Phase 2, that the meetings would take place in-person at the department. “We can have up to 20 people in the room excluding staff.”

New Business:

Chief Donnell reported that the District applied for a DNR grant and have received it. “It is a $12,000 matching grant,” said Donnell who asked the commission to approve accepting it. “We need to use it by March 15 next year.” He wants to find a 4-wheel drive unit that can be put into service for the wildland/urban interface. “We will look and see what we can find. After one year in service it would be our property and after 10 years we should be able to sell it for $35,000.”

Commissioner Jones stated during the commission remarks that the EMT Class he is taking is top notch.

Moller replied and thanked Jones for taking the course because it gives the District one more set of hands in emergency situation.

Chelan Fire and Rescue meets on the third Wednesday of the month beginning at 3 p.m. and the public is encouraged to attend.