Chelan City Council discusses legislative priorities for 2022

by Richard Uhlhorn

Legislative Priorities:

City Council was handed an incomplete Legislative Priority list to discuss and give City staff some direction to develop the final 2022-2023 document for approval at the January 25, 2022 City Council meeting.

City Administrator Wade Ferris presented a draft Legislative Priority list to the City Council for discussion, modification and finalization for the January 25 meeting.

The first item up for discussion was Affordable Housing. Chelan, like many Washington communities is struggling with a lack of housing options which makes it too expensive for many local workers to live in the community.

The City supports Senator Hawkins proposal to utilize one percent of the three percent tourism tax to help fund affordable housing projects in the region. One percent of the three percent tax taken in by Chelan is approximately $300,000 a year.

The City also supports the creation of a tax on Short Term Rentals that would also be dedicated to funding affordable housing.

Erin McCardle opened the discussion with concerns of imposing a tax on Short Term Rentals (STRs) with no opportunity to talk to the STR community. “I’m concerned about the unintended consequences,” she said. “We need a more in-depth discussion about this.”

Chris Baker agreed with McCardle’s points. Mayor Goedde remarked that such a tax would be an easy way to generate money for affordable housing. He supports Senator Hawkins proposal but said, “This is a good opportunity to do it.”

Mayor Goedde is pushing for a 1% tax on Short Term Rentals to be applied to affordable housing needs in the community.

Tim Hollingsworth said, “In general I support Senator Hawkins proposal.” However, he would like to see the priority simplified. “Make it brief bullet points of specific things we would like to address… highlighting specific thing we are asking for.”

Hollingsworth also liked the one percent STR proposal, but said the Council would need to figure out how to apply a lodging tax. “The money coming in is impacting our town.”

John Olson said that the Senator Hawkins legislation proposal would be awesome.

Lakerider, a Chelan Parks concession has a vested interest in seeing more law enforcement on the lake.

Water Safety:

Erin McCardle segued away from affordable housing to water safety issues. “We’ve been pushing the can down the road with people on the water that shouldn’t be driving a boat.” The Parks Department’s ‘white sheet’ has allocated $400,000 to this issue which would include new swim lines with larger buoys delineating authorized swim areas in Lakeside Park and Don Morse Park.

Erin McCardle is concerned with Water Safety
issues on Lake Chelan.

To Erin’s comment, water safety is more than swimmer safety as pointed out in Park Director Paul Horne’s white page. Safety on the lake has become an increasingly big issue. The Sheriff’s Department only has so much funding to provide on-water law enforcement. However, with an ever increasing presence of visitors on the water, the City needs to seek ways of securing more funding for on-water law enforcement.

She brought up the “Keep It Blue” campaign and would like to see a larger emphasis on educating the public and getting more buy-in.

Phil Long, director of the Lake Chelan Research Institute told the Council that there was an interest in doing this. He stated that no body of water in the State has the highest level of protection, but felt that the upper Lucerne Basin could qualify because of its federal status. “It would be a hard lift for the lower end of the lake,” said Long.

Phil Long, director of the Lake Chelan Research Institute addressed the council on the Institute’s interest in developing a more robust membership to the “Keep It Blue” campaign.

he was asked why there wasn’t more activity by the Department of Ecology on the lake? Long said that would be a legislative matter.

Chris Baker segued away from the lake issue and remarked that the building of a skate park/pump track would be a good thing. “We need the City to support youth,” said Baker. “COVID 19 has affected our youth greatly,” he added.

Trifecta:

Councilman John Olson continues to push the City towards imposing Impact Fees on all new development within the City limits.

Councilman John Olson read a prepared statement during the Council comment period and stated that Chelan was currently experiencing “negative” trifecta. His statement called out the aging and failing infrastructure (roads, water and sewer systems) and all the other services the City is responsible for.

“For years, the City has not kept up with repairs and/or upgrades to these services; it was far easier to push those expenses down the road when another council would have to make the decisions and another generation would have to pay the costs,” wrote Olson.

He mentioned failed sewer and water lines and the escalating costs of repairing or renewing City infrastructure. This is along with the highest growth rate in the history of Chelan.

Olson stated that it was time for the City to buckle down and begin looking for solutions. He pointed out Chelan County PUD’s strategic planning project titled, “Funding Growth.” The PUD has a plan to establish system impact fees assessed to new customers to help recover the costs for new infrastructure. (www.chelanpud.org/fundinggrowth).

The PUD expects to spend $15 million annually to support growth in the County and Chelan’s Public Works Department expects the City expenditures to exceed $5 million annually for its infrastructure needs.

Olson stated that it is neither reasonable nor equitable for the current City residents to pay for new growth and it should initiate its own impact fee structure. “A simple 1% impact fee on a $600,000 home with 200+/- new homes in the valley each year would result in over $1 million to help meet the City’s needs,” wrote Olson. “I therefore challenge our administration to investigate this (potential) new source of revenue to meet the future.”

Citizen Comments: Lisa Garvich requested that the City’s Public Works department will flag the City’s fire hydrants so snow removal equipment won’t bury them. Both Mayor Goedde and Public Works Director Jake Youngren thought this was an excellent idea.

Motion Considerations:

The City unanimously extended the Interlocal Agreement between the Lake Chelan Research Institute and the City of Chelan for one year so the Research Institute can use the remaining $15,000 on lake research.

Council unanimously approved a motion to allow City Administrator Wade Ferris to sign and execute a $32,000 funding grant for the Lake Chelan Airport. The funds will be used to help with airport operations.

Council unanimously agreed to an easement for the installation of the proposed storm water infrastructure for the Downtown Alley Utility Project. It involves the relocation of primary Chelan County PUD power conduits.

City Council agreed to a new air space lease with Crystal View Estates which was needed to marina infrastructure being constructed within public right-if-way that is needed to provide access to the marina. The term length of the agreement is for 10 years and can be automatically renewed annually for up to 10 years unless terminated by either party. The rent is $839.85 per year plus $107.84 in excise tax.

City to approve legislative priorities at next Council meeting

Interested in superb view property in the Lake Chelan Valley. Call Bob Knauss and check out Legacy Ridge

By Richard Uhlhorn

At the beginning of each year, the City of Chelan decides on what will be its Legislative Priorities for the year will be. Legislative Priorities are a list that is submitted to the Washington State Legislature as the most important issues facing the community. The following list of priorities will be approved by the City Council at their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, January 11. They are as follows:

Affordable Housing:

Vin du Lac has a program called ‘Abode’ to help the Chelan Valley Housing Trust raise money for its next affordable building project.

Affordable housing has been a hot button issue in the Community for a number of years. While the Chelan Housing Trust is dedicated to building affordable homes for individuals wanting to purchase, the need far outweighs the Trust’s efforts.

The largest issue is the both the hospitality industry and retail establishments continue to experience worker shortages because potential employees cannot afford to live in Chelan

The City Council support efforts to develop dormitory style housing for those seasonal and full-time workers.

The City’s priority will in 2022 will be to support proposals that assist in creating rural residential housing including the efforts of Representative Mike Steele and Senator Brad Hawkins who recently proposed utilizing 1 percent of the 3 percent bed tax for affordable housing.

In addition the City supports the creation of a tax on Short Term Rentals that is dedicated to funding affordable housing.

Public Waterfront Access:

Lakeside Park has become overcrowded, but the Chelan Parks Department is hopeful it will receive a ROC grant to help alleviate parking, and overcrowding.

Public waterfront access is another hot button issue that has become even more acute with the increased visitation during the summer months that fills up Chelan’s public parks to capacity.

The community at large has been requesting more public access to the lake and it has become a high priority for the City Council to address.

Increased and improved public access is a critical legislative priority for the City of Chelan. This year, the City has prioritized increasing access through two targeted initiatives.

The Parks Department has developed and refined a master plan for Lakeside Park to increase capacity, safety and functionality. This plan increases parking and restroom capacity as well as adding ADA compliant trails, beach enhancements, swim area improvements and a new playground.

The City ranked below allocated funding from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) in 2018 and 2019. With City funds already allocated for the required matching funds for this project if it is granted the $1 million from the RCO.

Another grant being sought is from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) which uses Federal funds at the State level. The City is requesting that $4 million be added to the $6 million allocated to the program for the 2021-2023 funding cycle or to allocated $1 million of capital budget funding specifically for this project.

Chelan Waterfront Access Plan:

The Park Street street end will be the first of seven street ends the City wants to improve for public access.

The City has identified seven locations for its Waterfront Access Plan (Road Ends Project) with the City Council approving $150,000 to improve the Park Street access point. The problem is that the total cost of these projects is an estimated $1,486,000 which without an influx of money will take years to accomplish.

Looking for an outstanding place to stay during this year’s WinterFest. Lakeside Lodges and Suites offer some of the best accommodations in the Valley.

Pedestrian Safety:

The City is requesting $700,000 from transportation funding for infrastructure to improve pedestrian safety along both Hwy 97A and Hwy 150 in the City. This would include visibility enhancements, traffic calming measures, additional Rapid Flashing lights and refuge islands.

The City is mostly concerned about the crosswalks in front of its schools and other high use areas like Saunders Street between the Bridge and Woodin Avenue.

These Legislative Priorities may be amended, changed and or embellished at the Tuesday evening City Council meeting.

Looking to get your skis tuned up for the winter. Lakerider is your local service.

Commissioners agree to hire an assistant chief at District 7

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan County Fire District No. 7 will have an assistant chief in 2022. At a special meeting on Wednesday, December 22, to specifically discuss whether or not to hire an assistant chief, the commissioners first heard from the public.

Chelan fire commissioners had a debate on the hiring of an assistant chief versus hiring a career officer to fill that position when the Chief was not available.

The issue has been whether or not to hire an assistant chief who would be an exempt employee on salary versus placing a Captain in the position when Chief Brandon Asher was unavailable.

The administration and Commissioner Russ Jones have argued that hiring an assistant chief will save the department in the long run instead of paying overtime to a career staff individual who is a union member.

Resident Robert Wentland told the commissioners to honor the 57 percent of voters that passed the levy lid lift with no reduction in services.

Resident Robert Wentland told the commissioners that the voters had voted in November for no reduction in staffing or other areas of the fire service. “Fifty seven plus percent of the voters are expecting no reduction in services. They expect that to be honored,” said Wentland.

Chairman Phil Moller replied that the district won’t see any money to hire personnel until April. “As far as reducing staff, I believe there are other ways to provide without hiring an assistant chief.” He stated that he is fiscally conservative and if the district can save money he will always do that.

Chairman Phil Moller argued that he wanted to be fiscally responsible and didn’t think that the district needed to hire an assistant chief.

However, Ann Wright, another resident, said an assistant chief is valuable tot he district. “It’s a whole job,” she said. She accused the commission of always fighting the department… always being antagonistic. She specifically called out Commissioner Karyl Oules who says her constituents are always complaining. “Who are they,” she asked. “Are they five people or 100. They never come to a meeting to be heard.” She stated that Oules is not representing the people or the department.

Commissioner Russ Jones opened the commission discussion by asking if Moller and Oules are opposed to hiring an assistant chief? Moller replied that he wasn’t opposed to filling that position. Oules stated that the commission and administration needs to look into the issue further. “It doesn’t need to be done in a week,” she said. “There have got to be options available.”

Commissioner Karyl Oules wanted more time to investigate the need for an assistant chief versus another alternative solution.

Jones remarked that an email was sent out detailing the differences between an assistant chief versus having a career union firefighter in the position. “We are going to pay a lot of overtime,” said Jones. “We budgeted for this. I don’t know what kind of message you are looking for.”

Chief Brandon Asher asked what the other options are? “There is a ton of work.” He added that he spent 358 hours a year extra while he held the position. “The bargaining unit would have to be brought in to negotiate the position.”

Newly appointed Chief Brandon Asher explained to the commissioners the need for the
assistant chief position to be filled.

Asher also commented that he just spent eight days in Mexico on vacation. “There was no question of who was in charge… it was Chief Donnell.”

Moller asked if an assistant chief would also be the training officer. Asher replied that training would be a big part of his job along with meetings and 911 responses. Moller asked if the assistant chief would go on combat calls? Asher replied that he would and that an assistant chief is an absolute necessity.

A firefighter in the audience stated that someone needs to fill that role. “If it is one of us, our salary increases.”

A volunteer firefighter remarked that a training position carries a huge liability. He added that since he has been here he has gained huge respect for Chief Asher.

Jones asked once again. “Why wouldn’t we fill that position?” Moller replied it’s not filling the position, he just wants to be fiscally responsible. “I’ve never not wanted that position… I just wanted to save a little money and get the job done.”

Jones said, “What I’m hearing is you’re ok with an exempt position… just not an assistant chief. Oules said she isn’t opposed to an assistant chief, but just wants a little more time to investigate alternatives.

Asher replied to the commissioners that the district is fiscally responsible. “I think we’ve proven that.”

Chief Mark Donnell stated that the district had the luxury to have Asher on a grant. “We abused that grant,” he said. “It’s an amazing amount of work.” He added that if they decide to go with a union career officer, they will have to negotiate the terms with the union. “Right now we are looking at four months. If we wait, it will be May 1 and then we are into the fire season.”

Chief Mark Donnell told the commission that the assistant chief’s job requires an
amazing amount of work.

Jones made the motion to post the position for an assistant chief. It took Moller about 10 seconds of thinking before he seconded the motion. Moller and Jones voted to post the position and Oules voted No.

Resident Larry Peabody said, “I believe the board had made the right decision.”

City Council wraps up 2021 business

by Richard Uhlhorn

The City of Chelan City Council tied up and finished its 2021 business at last week’s year ending Council meeting. The meeting ended on a note of thanks to outgoing Dr. Ty Witt who has served one term, but chose not to run for two because he is getting married and moving out of Chelan to Manson.

Dr. Ty Witt chose not to run for a second term and turns over his seat to Planning Commissioner Sheri Dietrich in January.

Planning Commissioner Sheri Dietrich will be taking over Witt’s seat on the Council.

All council members thanked him for his service. Erin McCardle said, “A big thank you to Ty. I very much appreciated working with you. You will be missed.”

Servando Robledo seconded McCardle’s praise saying it has been great working with him. Mayor Bob Goedde stated he appreciated Witt’s insight in city issues.

When all were through wishing Witt well, he stated that the Council and Staff were all great to work with. He explained that he came to the council with no experience and no specific agenda but water quality, preservation of open spaces, trails, housing, and the glass pulverizer. “I would like to say a special thanks to Ray Dobbs who taught me alot about bridge building.”

City Administrator Wade Ferris told Witt in closing that he has made a difference.

2021 ending business:

The Council unanimously approved both the 2022 Chelan Airport budget and the City’s $23,488,389 2022 budget. The only comment after several months of work putting it together came from Councilman John Olson who objected to the $700,000 requested by the Chamber of Commerce for marketing to promote Chelan. “This is when we can’t even accommodate the tourists we have,” he stated. However, he also stated that he appreciates the work the Chamber does and the work State Representative Mike Steele does for the region.

Tony Mears, an irrigation designer with Mears Design Group gave an update presentation of his Lake Chelan Golf Course Irrigation Study. His conclusion was that the course’s current irrigation system is “pretty deficient.” He stated that there were a number of factors leading to his conclusion including including pipe size, sprinkler heads, and irrigation phasing that is not consistent. “You need to keep (irrigation) consistent, especially on large turf areas. The goal is efficiency whether it is water or power.”

The golf course irrigation system was initially installed in 1968 with upgrades in the early 90s. “You are well past your life expectancy on the system,” he said. There are leaks in the main line and the ponds resulting in lost water which needs to be taken care of.

John Olson stated that funding was set-up in 2023. Parks Director Paul Horne said that was correct and that it will cost $25,000 for a design of a new system. It will cost $250,000 in 2023 to begin the upgrades and in 2025 it will be completed for a total cost of $2.6 to $2.8 million dollars. “It (golf course) is a great asset,” said Horne.

This is the recommendations in order of priority:

            1. Replace irrigation mainline and lateral piping.

            2. Incorporate new efficient irrigation sprinkler heads with single head control.   

            3. Incorporate isolation valves throughout the course system.    

            4. Incorporate new pump stations with wet wells.         

            5. Incorporate a central control communication to pump systems.

Erin McCabe, Golf Course Superintendent answered council questions and remarked that his job is made easier because of his dedicated staff.

ChelanBay (Three Fingers development):

The Council approved the final plat for the Chelan Bay development on the Three Fingers. They also approved the Chelan Bay Final Plat Maintenance Agreement which give the City an easement for pedestrian ingress and egress to Lake Chelan, a walking and biking trail along the frontage of the plat, a park, public parking areas and for other recreational purposes. This easement is for the benefit of the public.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said the City needs to make sure “we are not approving this stuff when issues remain.”

Planning Director Craig Gildroy said there were a number of conditions set down including the construction of the Lakeside Trail on the easement and a swim area on the west side of the property that is open to the public.

Downtown Alley Project:

The council approved a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Resource Environmental LLC (RELLC) which is under contract with Chevron to address and remediate petroleum product contamination from the “Chelan Chevron Site.”

Public Works Director Jake Youngren said that the MOU is advantageous to the City and that RELLC will cooperate on the execution of the downtown alley project if petroleum contamination is encountered. “We are embarking on a project that has risk. If we do encounter petroleum contamination, it will be the responsibility of Chevron and won’t burden the City.”

Youngren said, “We will mostly be excavating in the same trench line that currently exists, only six inches deeper.” City Attorney Quentin Batjer added that typically the polluter pays for cleanup efforts.

The Council also authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute all applicable Temporary Construction Easements for the Downtown Water and Sewer Utility Project.

This project will require entering some private property to complete and staff felt it prudent to develop a general Temporary Construction Easement which would be used to execute with each property owner that may be affected by the project.

Other motion considerations approved by council:

1. – Davis Arneil Law Firm 2022 City Attorney Services Agreement.

2. – Kottkamp, Yedinak and Esworth, PLLC Legal Services Agreement for Indigent Criminal Defendents. Batjer explained that the State Constitution requires that the City have a public defender. Councilman Ty Witt said it was interesting that the taxpayers pay to prosecute and defend these people.

3. – Chelan Public Library Elevator Maintenance Agreement with Inland Elevator.

4. – RH2 Engineering General Services Agreement Renewal.

5. – Chelan Traffic Improvements Project Change Order. Because of a worldwide supply chain issue with pavement markings, Specialized Pavement Marking, Inc. (SPM) has not been able to secure the material for the pavement marking project at Johnson and Sanders. The decision was made by staff, contractor and SCJ Alliance to wait until Spring 2022 to complete the project.

6. – Council authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute the Legacy Ridge Stormwater Maintenance Agreement.

The next meeting of the City Council will be a workshop on Tuesday, January 4 beginning at 4 p.m.

Asher hired as fire chief… assistant chief position still up for discussion

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chief contract for Brandon Asher
Chelan County Fire District No.7 (Chelan Fire and Rescue) commissioners have approved Brandon Asher’s contract as the new fire chief. Chief Mark Donnell is retiring at the end of the year, but will remain on board as needed.

Asher sought a five-year contract. Asher, who was on a Zoom call from vacation told the Commissioners (chairman Phil Moller was absent), “My intention is to be here more than five years.” He stated that the contract is no different than the one for Chief Donnell and Lemon. “I took out the 3% cost of living increase to negotiate based on performance. It is a good contract.”

Commissioners Karyl Oules and Russ Jones approved the new 2022 budget, but Oules said she wanted whatever additional funding (windfall) comes in from taxes collected be put in a separate line item in the budget.

Fire Commissioner Karyl Oules wanted a new line item in the 2022 budget for the increased funding instead of having it allocated throughout the budget.

The administration had already put $250,000 towards apparatus, but Oules argued that she wanted simplicity with regards to the extra funds the District will receive. Chief Donnell replied that the District will not know how much extra funds will be available until April.

Chief Mark Donnell explained how they put $250,000 into the
apparatus line item in the 2022 budget.

Oules stated that she didn’t understand why a line item couldn’t be established for those funds and then appropriated and approved by the commissioners when needed. “I’m looking for simplicity,” she said. Donnell replied that he didn’t know how to make it simpler.

Oules said that her constituents are worried that once the new funding comes in, the District will start spending it. Jones replied that they were just adding to the apparatus fund. “We’ve been called thieves,” retorted Oules. “I want to satisfy those people.” Jones replied for tracking purposes that would be simple. “If needed, the board can approve.”

With that issue decided, the commissioners went on to the issue of hiring an Assistant Chief. “We are looking to the board for direction,” said Donnell. “the staff recommends hiring an assistant chief.” Donnell went on to say that not filling the position doesn’t change the work load and reiterated that it would increase overtime. “Eliminating an assistant chief doesn’t make sense.”

Oules said she wanted to table the discussion until Phil Moller was available to help discuss it. Jones replied that the position has been in the budget for months. If the position is filled by a duty officer instead of an exempt (salaried) position, it will result in a lot of overtime. “I’d like to get on with this,” he said.

Oules said she wasn’t comfortable making a decision on the assistant position without all three commissioners available.

Donnell said they needed to make a decision before January 1 and would they like to meet before than in a special meeting to continue the discussion.

The commissioners set Wednesday, December 23 at 3 p.m. in hopes that Moller would be healthy enough to attend.

Russ Jones was sworn in by Chief Donnell after winning the last election over Ben Laughlin.

Fire District/City MOU

Donnell reported that he met with the City the prior week and an agreement between the two has gone to the attorney for a draft. “It will be before the City Council next month, so it is moving forward. It has been a long process.” He added that it wasn’t a perfect agreement, but one that can be modified later.

New Lateral Hire

Chief Donnell introduced Brandon Fogelson as a lateral hire. Fogelson is a firefighter/paramedic. He stated he is looking forward to serving the community.

Lateral hire Brandon Fogelson is looking forward to serving the community. He is a certified firefighter and paramedic.

Feasibility of combining EMS services with Fire Department

A letter sent to both Manson Fire District No. 5 and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) asking for a meeting to explore the feasibility of combining services will not be addressed until the Hospital board has an opportunity to discuss with its EMS director Ray Eickmeyer at its January board meeting.

Oules said the biggest question she gets from constituents is why the Fire District goes out on every EMS call.

Commissioner comments

Oules didn’t have any comments. “I think I’ve said enough,” she said.

Jones thanked the 20 or so people who came to the meeting. “Hopefully we were entertaining,” said Jones. However, he added that it was extremely important for the public to attend the meetings instead of the garbage on social media. “We want your input,” stated Jones.

The commission will meet at 3 p.m. Wednesday, December 23, to discuss the Assistant Chief position.

Lake Chelan water quality is at risk

by Richard Uhlhorn

Lake Chelan is an ultra-oligotrophic lake creating low algal production which allows for
the water to be clear. Unfortunately, over the past seven years the littoral zone has seen an increase in algae growth which the Lake Chelan Research Institute will be researching.
 

Near shore Lake Chelan water quality is in trouble!

Phil Long, director of the Lake Chelan Research Institute, presented a “State of the Lake” report to the Lake Chelan Watershed Planning Unit (LCWPU) at its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, December 8.

Phil Long, director of the Lake Chelan Research Institute, has been studying lake quality issues over the past several years.

The littoral zone of the lake is showing definite degradation with an increase of algae growth and a 20% spread of Eurasian Milfoil along the lake shore. No one living on the lake and/or using the lake for recreation wants to see what has been considered a uncontaminated water body degraded with algae, milfoil and invasive species.

“Our challenge, of course, is what has happened in the last seven years,” Long told the LCWPU members attending the meeting. LCWPU director Mike Kaputa asked if there is a way to change the emerging conditions. Long replied that utilizing Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting (DASH) could help the situation. Divers utilizing airlifts can potentially remove Asian mussels and milfoil. “This has the potential to turn back the clock,” said Long. Clay Patmont, a partner with Anchor QEA, an environmental, engineering consulting company in Seattle, agreed with Long. “We have an opportunity here,” said Patmont. Long said, “We need to Keep it Blue… Not make it Green.”

The biggest issue, of course, is funding. With a priority of working on near shore water quality, the Institute is looking to raise $40,000 beyond the $50,000 they receive from the City of Chelan – $20,000 per year; Chelan County – $10,000 per year; Lake Chelan Reclamation District – $10,000 per year; and $5,000 each from Chelan County PUD and Cascadia Conservation.

Efforts to Keep It Blue is currently under funded. If raised, the $40,000 would help get the DASH program underway. Private funding has been received from a few concerned citizens.

Lisa Dowling, a natural resources specialist with Chelan County, stated that the 2022 goal is to reduce the lake’s risk for getting invasive species introduced through a public outreach program and community meetings. “We will shift our focus to stakeholder meetings,” she said. There will also be a public survey.

Lisa Dowling, a Natural Resource Specialist at Chelan County is working on setting up stakeholder meetings in 2022 to educate, inform and seek help in keeping Lake Chelan blue.

This coming year, a mobile boat inspection unit will up and running on the lake with a grant for one year of staffing every weekend. “There will also be neighborhood inspections parties,” said Dowling.

The program will have one decontamination unit located in the Valley through a partnership with the National Park Service and the Lake Chelan Reclamation District.

Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) also has a decontamination unit in Ephrata if needed.

One of Washington State’s biggest concerns is the potential introduction of Zebra or Quagga mussels coming into the state from other states that have them.

Eric Anderson, WDFW’s aquatic invasive species enforcement manager, presented the state’s efforts of keeping invasive species from entering Washington on watercraft and trailers. Anderson reported that Washington State has the strongest statutes in the Western United States.

Currently, mandatory watercraft inspections are being conducted at major entry points to the State including Spokane to the east, Pasco to the south and Cle Elum to the west. These inspection stations operate seven days a week from April to the end of October. They are permanently funded.

Anderson shared the inspection numbers with the Watershed Unit. In 2017, at the beginning of the program, they inspected 9,054 vessels and in 2019 that had increased to 32,735. There are plans in the works to add inspection stations in Oroville, Goldendale and Bellingham.

The inspection crews also have “Wonder Dogs” that are trained to sniff out mussels. In Spokane alone, 26,939 watercraft were inspected with 38 watercraft carrying mussels. “If they (boaters) don’t want to be inspected, we can mandate that or charge them criminally,” said Anderson. “We have to inspect thousands to catch a few.”

With 31 different routes into the state, Washington is relying on other states like Idaho which has a robust water inspection program to track boats. “We also network with Canada. We’ve had great success and a lot of support,” he added. “Boats are getting a lot cleaner as we go along.”

The program was passed in the State Legislature with bipartisan support. “We told them you can spend $5 million now or $500 million or $1 trillion to eradicate invasive mussels later.”

For information on how you can help, visit https://www.keepitbluelakechelan.org and check out the various programs.

Hospital commission approves 2022 budget

by Richard Uhlhorn

Guild B presented the Hospital Commission with a check for $5,000. Pam James , Guild B representative said, “I wish it could be more.” Chairwoman Mary Murphy replied that in the hospital’s book, the Guild are heroines. “It is so appreciated,” said Murphy.

CHAIR REPORT:

Murphy publicly announced her gratitude to the administration, staff and all levels of the Lake Chelan Health organization. “You’ve been through a lot of challenges at a time when change is the normal in health care.”

STRATEGIC PLAN

Cheryl Cornwell and Shawn Ottley reported

Shawn said the substance of the plan hasn’t changed substantially. “I will have a Dashboard with metrics for the next meeting.” However, Cornwell stated that she needs time to polish the plan. “I don’t know if it will be available by the next meeting.”

Jeremy Jaech would like to see good measurable tactics. The commissioners all stated that it was a good start.

Murphy remarked that it was something to aspire too. Community… using EMS, Chelan Valley Hope and TLC amongst other organizations for the betterment of community health and wellness.

CEO SEARCH

Reviewing a lot of applications including some who currently work at the hospital. “that’s exciting,” said Murphy. Remarked that one candidate is coming for a site visit in December..

NEW BUSINESS

Mary Signorelli brought up a letter sent to the Commission regarding a request to set up a meeting between Chelan Fire and Rescue and the Hospital concerning the potential of merging EMS with the Fire Department. “Are we going to talk about that,” she asked. Murphy said the letter came in after the agenda was set. “Let’s get all of our information together and ask Ray to give us a presentation at the next meeting.”

(Chelan Fire and Rescue has been interested in meeting with the EMS, the hospital and Manson Fire District #5 to explore the feasibility of combining services.)

FINANCIAL REPORT

CFO Cheryl Cornwell presented the 2022 budget which the Commissioners approved Resolution 2021-11 without objection. Commissioner Jeremy Jaech stated that he appreciated the budget process and the budget workshop. Murphy said, “They say the budget is where the rubber hits the road.”

In addition, Cornwell went through the hospital’s Gross Patient Service Revenues

  • Inpatient revenues                                                         $   544,758
  • Out Patient revenues                                                     $2,158,976
                                        Deduction                                ($1,305,665)
  • Net Patient revenues                                                     $1,398,068
  • Other Revenues                                                            $   456,963
  • TOTAL                                                                        $1,855,031

Cornwell stated that COVID continues to hamper the hospital. “We are still feeling the impact of COVID,” she said. Jaech asked where specifically COVID  is affecting hospital services. Cornwell replied that the lack of elective surgeries was a big one, people putting off visits and being underpaid for swing bed stays. Jaech asked if there were staffing issues to which Cornwell said no.

The hospital had 388 Emergency Room visits in October; Performed 26 procedures (no surgeries); Performed 808 Imaging services; 2,874 Lab Tests; 447 Rehabilitation services; 128 EMS calls; 442 Clinic visits; 138 Specialty services; and 304 Express Clinic visits.

FACILITIES REPORT

Mary Signorelli reported that the committee discussed the proposals of the three evaluations of the Heritage Heights property. She said it would be discussed in executive session with the rest of the board after which she thought action might be brought forward after the session.

The new Hospital construction project is on budget and schedule. “They are covering up the roof so they can work inside interiors during the winter,” said Signorelli.

QUALITY CONTROL

Quality Director Shawn Ottley reported that in 2022 they will be focused on work plans. “We are working with the departments on what they need to work on,” sais Ottley

He said they would be streamlining practices in 2022 and helping departments to maximize their quality components.

Traffic issues raises its ugly head at Council meeting

by Richard Uhhorn

Brent Morrison, president of Crystal View Estates Homeowners Association took the time to address City Council during the decision to authorize finalization of Legacy Ridge’s Phase 2.

Brent Morrison, president of the Crystal View Estates homeowners association addressed the City Council concerning traffic issues and there impacts on safety.

Morrison wasn’t on hand to deny the request by Legacy Ridge, but to remark about the increasing traffic issues within the shared intersection with Crystal View Estates and Legacy Ridge, along with SR150 traffic.

Phase 2 of the Legacy Ridge development consists of 33 single family residential lots and three open space tracks. Final Phase 2 approval was brought to the Council by the city’s Planning Department.  

Morrison told the Council that Phase 1 which uses Crystal View Drive for access has become a race track. “We need some mitigation to address traffic, speed limits and parking issues,” said Morrison. “We are nervous abuot traffic issues within our sub-division.”

He stated he was disappointed that a left-hand turn lane hasn’t been constructed on Hwy. 150 for traffic coming east from Manson. Morrison remarked that with all the development in Manson and the potential for further development up hill from both Legacy Ridge and Crystal View will create more traffic problems. “Once you start… where do you stop,” he asked.

He would like to see a flashing light, left turn lights and more reduced speed limits on Hwy. 150.

Legacy Ridge is required to improve the SR150/Crystal View Drive Intersection in Phase 3 which could include a left hand turn lane. Morrison remarked that a roundabout would work better at the intersection. “It’s just a matter of time before someone is killed.”

On a broader issue, Morrison asked how the City/County Planning Departments are enhancing the quality of life. “There are no hiking or walking trails in the development plans. What is your development going to do to enhance the quality of life,” said Morrison.

Councilman Ty Witt

Councilman Ty Witt remarked that the Parks Department is working on a recreation plan that includes the Northshore Pathway construction.

Councilman Peter Jamtgaard asked if it was possible to put sunset clauses on permits. Craig Gildroy said it was. Morrison added that it was supposed to be a six to seven year development that has extended to 15 or 16 years already. Councilman Tim Hollingsworth remarked that the Hearing Examiner has signed off on the motion.

Councilman Chris Baker said developers have an advantage. “They massively scrap the hillsides off without giving something back like hiking paths.” He added that the Lookout gives $1,000 per sale back to the City on every sale. “No one else does. None of them, and it is a shame.”

Council unanimously approved the final plat approval.

IN OTHER BUSINESS:

Chelan Parks Director Paul Horne reported to Council that the 12 Tribes Colville Casino has made a donation of $5,554.56 to the Chelan Department of Parks and Recreation.

Parks Director Paul Horne informed the Council that the 12 Tribes Coville Casino has donated $5500 to the Parks Department for use at Lakeside Park.

Casino General Manager Scott Ward recommended the donation through their Change for Charities program to help benefit children in the community.

Horne told the Council that he appreciates the donation and would like the funds be allocated to playground equipment at Lakeside Park.

Chelan Parks is eligible to receive a $500,000 grant for a major renovation project.

In other Parks news, Horne asked the Council to approve a professional services agreement with Reiss-Landreau Research Inc. (RLR). RLR is a cultural resources management consulting company that will conduct a thorough Archeological Survey at Lakeside Park.

The survey is a requirement that the Park needs accomplished to be eligible to receive a $500,000 grant from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund for the Lakeside Redevelopment Project which they are close to receiving. The grant would be managed by the National Parks Service.

The Lakeside Parks project failed to be awarded in 2018, falling just short of the 10 applications approved. “We re-applied in 2020,” said Horne. He added that the Federal Government changed the guidelines and it has taken a year for the agencies to get back up to speed.

Revitalization efforts tabled until the new year

by Richard Uhlhorn

A number of business and downtown building owners filled Council Chambers to comment on the proposed Memorandum of Understanding
between the HDCA and City on downtown revitalization

The HDCA’s Downtown Revitalization Project hit a major speed bump at the Tuesday, November 23 City Council meeting. Prior to a motion consideration to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and HDCA a Special Presentation was on the evening’s agenda to hear more Citizen comments.

Organized and put on the agenda by Councilman John Olson, a number of business and building owners came to the meeting and made a series of remarks that were not in support of the current revitalization plan.

The proposed MOU would outline specific roles and responsibilities between the City and HDCA. Because the proposed revitalization project is on City property, the City would end up being the contracting agency and owner of the project.

The HDCA project is aimed at providing a roadmap for future downtown upgrades that retain the downtown historic ambiance while enhancing its future viability and relevance.

Ruby Theater owner Larry Hibbard was outspoken in his opposition to the current revitalization plan for the downtown corridor.

Larry Hibbard, owner of the Ruby Theater told the council that he has concerns about the plan. His concerns was the plan to widen sidewalks, install up to five or more crosswalks which would, in effect, reduce the number of parking stalls by up to 10 percent. “Where are we headed,” he asked. “I think downtown Chelan is working very well.”

His other concern was the sustainability of keeping the Ruby open during a major downtown construction project. “We were closed with no income for 71 weeks because of the pandemic. It will take years to recover and the Ruby cannot afford or survive a major construction project.”

Tom Campbell told the Council that all parties need to take an objective look at the HDCA Project.

Tom Campbell, Campbell’s Resort, remarked that the revitalization project is a hot button, issue with downtown business owner and while he said he loves the energy, he added “Everyone needs to take an objective look at the project.”

Downtown building owner, David Weldy said the City needs to look at its deteriorating infrastructure before moving forward with an MOU.

David Weldy, building owner, remarked that the downtown was deteriorating and mentioned the City owned, old PUD parking lot as an example.

Garth Donald, owner of Stormy Mountain Brewing urged the Council
to move forward with the MOU.

Garth Donald, Stormy Mountain Brewing owner, was the only individual who spoke for moving ahead with the MOU. He feels that wider sidewalks would contribute to the community’s quality of life. “It’s really important that we make the downtown better for both residents and visitors,” said Donald.

Once the special presentation by business owners was over, HDCA board president Steve Clark addressed the Council. He said the HDCA plan is a broad concept for the enhancement of the community. “It is focused on the community wishes,” he stated.

HDCA board president Steve Clark said approval of the MOU presented would open up an effort to design elements of the revitalization effort.

“We are providing the Council with a concept. It’s at a stage where detailed design would occur,” said Clark. He encouraged the Council to approve the development of a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and HDCA.

Councilmembers opened up for discussion with Ty Witt stating that an MOU was not committing to the project. He also feels that the City needs continued public input.

Ty Witt remarked that the MOU was not a commitment to the project, but also felt that the City needs more public input.

Servando Robledo remarked that there are a lot of concerns about the proposed package.

Servando Robledo was concerned that if now approved, the MOU might disappear and not be brought forth again.

Clark replied that it is only the design phase. “What we are suggesting is that ore attention be spent on pedestrian traffic.”

Peter Jamtgaard said, “I think the plan needs a lot more work.” Tim Hollingsworth stated that there was a lot to like in the plan, but said he was not ready to move forward given the difference of opinions. “Let’s keep it moving,” he said. His concern was the fact that many business and building owners are at odds with the plan.

“I would like some of the folks like Campbell’s and others sit down and take the time to have a better dialogue,” said Hollingsworth.

John Olson agreed with Hollingsworth that the plan needs to ferment a bit. “There is a large gap… discord. I still hear (complaints) on the bridge modification. I suggest that this be tabled.” Witt agreed.

City Administrator Wade Ferris explained that the Council would have to approve any further advancement of the HDCA’s revitalization project.

City Administrator Wade Ferris told the Council that the purpose of the MOU is to come up with some kind of concept in the next phases. “They have to be approved by the Council. You are not approving a plan to rip up sidewalks.”

Hollingsworth replied that the MOU outlines specific duties. “I don’t think we have a broad consensus (to move forward),” he said. Robledo replied that if the Council doesn’t move forward, they won’t know when it will back again.

Mayor Goedde said, “I can’t vote on this, but I’m not signing this.. the Mayor Pro Tem can.”

No motion to move forward was offered and City Attorney Quentin Batjar said if a motion doesn’t advance that it would die. Olson suggested tabling the motion until next year and this was approved by the Council.

Since Erin McCardle has resigned her position as executive director of the HDCA effective on December 31, it will be up to the board to find a new director and to address concerns with the plan.

CHELAN FIRE STICKS WITH $1.10/$1,000 LEVY

by Richard Uhlhorn

CITY-FIRE DEPARTMENT AGREEMENT FOR FIRE SERVICES:

The agreement for Fire Services with the City of Chelan has been in the works for four to five years and Chelan Fire would like to get an agreement in place before next year’s Fire Department’s WRSB Insurance Rating evaluation.

“It’s been four to five years we have been trying to get an agreement with the City of Chelan,” said Commissioner Russ Jones. “I’m a little worried. We have to have it in place and we’ve gone through several (city) administrators on this. I think we need to draw a line in the sand.”

Chief Mark Donnell said he could get on the City Council’s agenda on December 14 to discuss the importance of reaching an agreement.

Fire Chief Mark Donnell will seek an audience with the Chelan City Council on December 14 regarding a Fire Services agreement between the City and Fire Department.

The agreement would include giving the Fire District maintenance issues like making sure the City’s fire hydrants are in working order. Currently fire hydrant maintenance is a City responsibility.

Fire Commission Chairman Phil Moller is not in support of hiring a new Assistant Fire chief.

ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF POSITION:

A heated discussion ensued on whether or not the Department should replace Brandon Asher’s Assistant Chief position when he officially takes over the Chief’s position when Mark Donnell retires at the end of December.

Assistant Chief Brandon Asher strongly argued that an Assistant Fire Chief was essential to the ongoing operations at the Department.

Phil Moller, board chair, stated that he didn’t think the Department needed an Assistant Chief, but instead designating a career fire fighter as the Assistant Chief. Brandon Asher argued that hundred’s of hours have been spent by him and Chief Donnell in the Chief’s and Assistant Chief’s position.

Elevating a career firefighter to that position would mean any extra hours worked beyond shift work would create lots of overtime. “That person has to be very functional,” said Asher. “He would be integrated with everything. I can’t work 365 days a year and he would fill in when I’m gone. We need to have that flexibility.

Russ Jones asked Moller if it was the title associated with the position? Karyl Oules said to Asher, “I hear what you are saying, but I need to look at this more.” Jones added that the job description and how they want it titled.

Chief Donnell chimed in and said that if it was a Captain upgraded to Assistant Chief, the Department was in essence opening the position to Union bargaining. “Overtime would become an issue,” said Donnell. “It is an administrative position along with field work. I believe the job description has been updated.”

Donnell added that next year there would be another $500 million available for Safer Grants and that the Department would be putting in for another grant. “It is an integral position.”

Jones said, “I guess I didn’t see any issues with it. I personally don’t have a comment on it.” Moller reiterated his position by saying, “I just don’t feel we need that guy right now. We don’t need to do it tomorrow.”

Asher replied, “It is a huge need for two people. You are constantly on call. One person cannot do that work.”

Jones remarked that from a numbers standpoint, the Commission had time to look at the position.

Chief Asher congratulates Commissioner Russ Jones on becoming a Nationally certified EMT.

AIRPORT LEASE:

The District has been on a year to year lease with the City for its fire station at the Chelan Airport. Asher stated that there is no increase in the $2,739 per year lease. “It is a 20 year lease with no increase price and it includes water.”

REVENUE:

Asher told the Commission that the Department received $89,155 from the existing Safer Grant which ends this year, another $9,000 in State Mob money from 2020, and that another $96,000 is expected from 2021 State Mob revenues.

CALLS FOR SERVICE:

The department responded to 67 calls for service in October which is down from an average of 74. This month, so far, there have been a total of 51 Calls for Service, eight of which were Advanced Life Support calls, 20 were Basic Life Support and 23 were No Transport calls.

Five hundred eighty one calls for service have been answered this year.

FIRE:

Dan Miner was elevated to Captain from LT.

The department responded to two brush fires and a Structure fire on Markeson Street that was a total loss. “When the residents left, they left the front door open which created a path for the fire which started in the back of the house,” said Asher who was on scene within three minutes of the call out. The nearest fire hydrant was 350 feet away which forced Asher to use some residents to help try to suppress the fire. “That’s not what we want to do,” said Asher.

The Department will conduct a training fire on Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. at 221 Nixon Street.

FIRE ASSOCIATION:

Dan Crandall is stepping down from the Presidency of the Fire Associaiton.

Association president Dan Crandall reported that the Association brought in $263.00 in revenue in October and spent $872.00. The current bank balance is $30,895.00.

Crandall notified the Commission and Administration that he is stepping down as President of the Fire Association on December 31. A new president will be nominated by the board at that time. “I will be staying on as an executive committee member,” said Crandall.

Crandall reported that both the Parade Truck and Marine 71 have been decked out with Christmas lights.

There will be a Holiday Social for the Fire Department on Tuesday, November 30 at 6 p.m. at Laylas.