District 7 fire commission agrees to run Levy Lid Lift in November

by Richard Uhlhorn

Fire Commissioners Karyl Oules, Russ Jones and Phil Moller held a special meeting to discuss the upcoming Levy Lid Lift for Fire District 7.

The Chelan County Fire District No. 7 Commissioners held a special meeting on Wednesday, May 12, to discuss the decision to float a Levy Lid Lift to the District 7 residents.

Commissioner Karyl Oules began the discussion saying, “I still say yes, we need one, but I’m leaning towards Spring.” She stated that she is still getting questions from voters asking just what they are going to get.

Chief Mark Donnell stated that the Levy Lid Lift would allow the District to hire three new firefighters, save $XXX each year for new apparatus, maintain the seasonal fire fighters, help with capital projects and maintain funding levels.

Commissioner Russ Jones emphatically stated that the District has no plans to build new stations. “We are working with a very conservative number,” he said. The proposal is to float a $1.10 per thousand levy.

Chairman Phil Moller added that 17 residents sat on a committee to help make the decision. “It was pretty clear that we need to do this. The question is when?”

Donnell stated that the group of 17 committee members was a good representation of the community. “We have a tremendous amount of momentum.” Moller asked Donnell what part of the discussion he didn’t understand? Donnell replied running the levy in the Fall of Spring.

Moller stated that he wants it run the levy in November and Chief Donnell told the commission that they had to get on the November ballot by August 3.

Commissioner Russ Jones also favors November as a time to go to the voters. If the District waited until Spring they wouldn’t see any money until 2023. “I believe the assessment will be greater than what we are anticipating,” said Jones. “If we waited a year there is a lot of uncertainty with the economy and disruption.”

Oules said she was good to go for the fall election and is in agreement that the District needs to go to the voters in November. “We need to run an effective campaign,” she stated

Moller stated that if the campaign begins now, they have five months to educate the District residents of the need for more money. “If we waited until spring I think we would lose momentum.”

Oules said failure was not something in her wheelhouse.

These firefighters from Chelan, Manson, Entiat and Orondo received structure training recently to help them understand the nuances of fighting fire inside a burning house. or structure.

The Levy being proposed would be for 10 years and the commission believes the time period is sustainable.

A final decision to run the levy in November will take place at the Commission’s meeting in June.

The next meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on May 19.

Chelan Housing Trust seeks City participation in affordable housing project

by Richard Uhlhorn

At last week’s City Council meeting the City held a Public Hearing for the Chelan Valley Housing Trust who are seeking a partnership with the City to get the infrastructure needed to support the 45 home sub-division adjacent to Anderson Road.

Mike Cooney, executive director of the CVHT, told the Council that the proposed development still needs to secure public water, sewer and power to the site.

The property was donated through an exchange with Seven Acres Foundation who was planning on building its Community Center on the property, but exchanged it for property the Housing Trust has a the Lookout.

The Housing Trust plans on building quality single family homes on the property that are affordable for residents so they will not have to commute from other areas around the region. “We are permitted to build 40 homes… up to 45 homes,” said Cooney. The plan includes five market rate homes to help the Housing Trust to raise funds. These home sites would be free of the Housing Trust’s criteria with the exception of potential covenants for the entire development.

The City’s 2017 Housing Element of its comprehensive plan identified the need for affordable housing within the community. It recognized that one method to accomplish that need would be to partner with a non-profit to get the infrastructure need to support any homes built.

There is a $900,000 Community Block Grant available which the Trust hopes the City would sign on to be the signature agency to obtain it. There is also a $500,000 grant from the State for infrastructure needs.

Not everyone is excited about the proposed development and the City received a number of letters from surrounding residents proposed development because of what they view as potential problems to the surrounding area, one of which they feel would lower their property values.

Other concerns cited included increase traffic, crime, drugs and noise. “I get the angst,” said Cooney. “It’s a rural area and we would be bringing homes to that area.”

Erin McCardle said she wants a more in-depth look at the American Recovery Plan. “There is a lot of money set aside for infrastructure.” Cooney replied that the Trust would like to be a part of what government money the City receives. McCardle added that there are lots of opportunities for grants and that she doesn’t want to miss out on any opportunity.

Mayor Goedde stated that the City needs to hire a grant writer. Peter Jamtgaard asked how much matching funds would be required. Rachel Golde, executive assistant, stated that matching funds would be required. Jamtgaard said, “We’ve got some windfall money that could be used.”

Golde said that no number has been written down and she has no idea of how much matching funds would add up to.

Cooney said he clearly understands that development pays for development, but that other cities have helped with needed infrastructure for affordable housing. “We would like to have a reasonable discussion on the subject,” he said.

Ty Witt added that the City  brings infrastructure to developments. “Our real goal is to help with affordable, attainable housing. Cooney replied that the PUD is considering a way to come up with hookups.

John Olson stated that he is totally behind the Housing Trust on this project. Hollingsworth said the Community Development Block Grant would provide the public to have input into the project.

Planning Director Craig Gildroy told the Council that a sub-division has not yet been applied for. “Once that is done, there will be another public hearing.”

Hospital staff working on a transistion plan for the current hospital

by Richard Uhlhorn

At Lake Chelan Health’s board meeting on Tuesday, April 27, the board and CEO discussed Facilities including the transition plan for the current hospital building.

CEO George Rohrich told the board that the plan was not ready yet. “The Facilities Plan will go back to the Facilities Committee and then to the board when it is completed.,” said Rohrich. “Staff will have to do the work and bring it to the committee.”

The plan will, according to Rohrich detail what the hospital will come up with. Questions like… “Do we have the space for everybody,” stated Rohrich.

Chairperson Mary Murphy said she hopes the plan utilizes the best use of what is available including the disposition of what is not needed. “It should have not only an assessment of our needs, but how they are being met,” said Murphy. She added that the plan needs to bring the board and the public up to what is happening with facilities and the potential surplus of the old hospital. “Things are very different then what we looked to do two years ago.” said Murphy.

Boardmember Jordana LaPorte asked if the Facilities Plan would be available by the July Strategic Meeting. Rohrich replied it would be finished by that meeting.

Dave Yackell joined the board and gave a report on the QHR Health efforts to deliver progress in bringing the hospital’s accounts receivable down. Currently he reported that average ‘patient discharge to billing cycle is down from 51 days to 37 with an eventual target of 10 days before a patient is billed for services.

He said that 64 percent of the issues delaying billing was coding errors, missing charges, and documentation that does not support charges being billed.

The board expressed some concerns with the contract and Murphy stated that there have been challenges along the way. “What is the corrective actions,” she asked? Murphy said detailed discussions of the concerns need to be discussed in the Finance Committee and that Yackell needs to be invited into those meetings.

New Board member Jeremy Jaech agreed with that and asked what the roadblocks have been. “The contract is not what was expected,” he said. Board member Mary Signorelli stated that there are some key milestones missing from some of the initiatives.

Murphy suggested that a special meeting might be useful in correcting the issues.

Another issue that is particularly bothering LaPorte is the possibility of expensive Change Orders during the new hospital construction. Rohrich explained the policy concerning Change Orders. “In a nutshell, they will come out of the contingency fund.” LaPorte asked if anything over $25,000 could be approved by email. Jaech was explicit in his comment that no work should be done until approved. “The goal is to maintain a fund. You can’t go beyond an approved budget.”

Rohrich replied, “We cannot exceed our budget.” The contingency fund has approximately $1.4 million in it which is five percent of the entire budget. LaPorte asked who would approve the change orders? Rohrich stated that there was a process in place and that he was on call 24/7.

The hospital is still facing financial issues and CFO Cheryl Cornwell told the board that they are waiting for 100% forgiveness on the first $3 million of CARES money they received which will bring the hospital back to a secure financial position. “There are a lot of moving parts,” she said. “The restricted funds are not doing us a whole lot of good.”

She feels they are still several months away from an answer on the federal money.

Financially the hospital suffered from being forced to shut down regular services for several months during the pandemic along with the decision to shut down the Sanctuary which affected the hospital’s cash flow.

In the meantime, Bouten Construction is moving dirt at the new hospital site across Apple Blossom Drive from Columbia Valley Health.

Chelan Fire & Rescue has busy March

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chief Mark Donnell told the Chelan Fire & Rescue commissioners that the department had 62 calls in March. “It was a fairly busy month for us,” said Donnell. There were 39 EMS calls with12 requiring Advance Life Support; 15 – Basic Life Support and 12 that required no ambulance transport.

The Department has had over 1,000 people vaccinated by the EMS at the Fire Station and vaccination dates continue to come up for non-vaccinated individuals. Go to lakechelanhealth.org for information and/or to register for your vaccine appointment.

The Department responded to two brush fires on Little Butte that turned out to be a fires that escaped a controlled burns when the wind came up. It burned approximately 14 acres. “The folks were doing the right thing,” said Donnell. “Unfortunately the wind picked up.”

Chelan Fire also responded to a structure fire on East Center Street and an Aircraft Standby emergency. “All of the planes landing gear was not functioning, but they got it down and landed without incident.”

Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Asher said he signed one new recruit but lost four. He hopes to get a few volunteers he can get trained up to be on the fire lines this summer. “Red cards will be issued in the first week of May,” said Asher.

Asher reminded the Commissioners that there would be a practice structure burn out by Pat & Mikes on Saturday.

Chairman Phil Moller stated that despite rumors to the contrary, the District has no intention of putting a Fire Station out at Pat and Mikes.

Cutting a vent for smoke to escape from.
Smoke needs to be vented out before fire fighters can enter a burning structure.

Fire Association President Dan Crandall reported that the association has $31,500 in the bank, but only brought in $700 last month while spending $2,500. The Association usually holds its annual Pancake Breakfast during the June 5 Cruzin Chelan event. “This year we are going to try a Grab n’ Go,” said Crandall. “We will have a booth set up where people can pick up breakfast and a few beverages. It will keep us in the publics eye.”

Crandall also announced that the association is on the verge of releasing its new website.

He also congratulated Commissioner Russ Jone on his successful completion of the recent EMT course. Jones is now a certified EMT in the State of Washington and will continue towards a National Certification. Jones said, “After I retire from the bank, I’m interested in becoming an operator on Marine 71. I am not interested in becoming a combat fire fighter or a wildland fire fighter.”

Chief Donnell stated that the Advisory Board is going along. In a separate conversation with Jones, the Department is looking at the possibility of running a Levy Lid Lift in November. The District is looking at a levy that will be in place for 10 years and will allow the District to keep abreast of new regulations and allow it to replace outdated equipment.

Moller said he was concerned with the 240+ hours of overtime this past month. “I don’t have a solution, but we are going to have to find a lot of money for OT.

Crandall noted that with the pandemic winding down, more people might be interested in volunteering. “Let’s keep a positive outlook.” Moller replied that volunteerism is coming to the forefront nation wide. “We need to keep a close eye on that.”

Once the training was finished, they allowed the structure to burn to the ground.

Practice Burn:

On Saturday, April 24, Chelan Fire, Manson District 5, Entiat District 8 and Orondo came together to conduct a major training exercise at a residential structure burn. This exercise was designed to give firefighters (volunteer and staff) real time training with combat firefighting inside a burning house.

“This is important training for them,” said Fire Chief Mark Donnell. “They get to see what it is like under real conditions and learn how to use the tools available to them to combat a house fire.”

District 5 Fire Chief Arnold Baker echoed Donnell’s remarks and stated that the training was an important part of becoming a combat fire fighter. When he and a volunteer took a fan up to the smoke filled front door, he described how the fan, as long as an escape hole has been  attained, will push the fire out and allow fire fighters access to the structure.

Career firefighter Adam Jones and Lt. Shawn Sherman take a break after instructing fire fighters in the nuances of combat firefighting.

When it got too hot for firefighters to effectively fight inside, hoses were put into play to cool the fire down to help fight the fire.

This practice burn was an excellent opportunity for new and old fire fighters to learn new techniques. The entire exercise was run by Assistant Chief Brandon Asher, Lt. Shawn Sherman and Fire Fighter Adam Jones.

Chelan Fire and Rescue needs more individuals willing to commit and volunteer for the District. Interested individuals can contact Assistant Chief at 509-682-4476 or basher@cfr7.org. Contact the department and find out what opportunities exist. Fire service is a great occupation for those willing to commit to the training. There are plenty of high paying jobs available in Fire Departments, the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Natural Resources and other organizations with fire departments.

Hospital breaks ground

by Richard Uhhorn

Agustin Benegas opened Friday’s ceremony by telling the large crowd of hospital supporters that he was born in the Chelan hospital. “The first hospital was built in Chelan in 1947, followed by the current hospital in 1972,” said Benegas. “We are now moving health care forward and recognizing the importance of good health care.”

Benegas introduced CEO Rohrich who remarked that the community was at this place in time because of their support. He also thanked the staff and physicians for their support. “Today we celebrate the start and in August next year, we will celebrate the completion of this project.”

CEO George Rohrich

Board Chairperson, Mary Murphy stated that it was hope and trust over a decade that has brought this project to where it is. She thanked the hospital employees, the hospital foundation, the board, Chelan Valley Community Health and the local businesses for all of their work at making this project a reality.

Board Chair Mary Murphy

“If you choose Lake Chelan Health as your provider, you will be the success,” said Murphy. Thank you for joining us today and we look forward to seeing you in 16 to 17 months.”

Board member Fred Miller recognized past board chair, Phyliss Gleasman for all of her decication and help in moving this project to the groundbreaking point. Gleasman was presented with a framed picture of the architects drawing of the hospital. She stated that she isn’t ever at a loss for words, but said, “I’m at a loss for words here. Thank you.”

Board member Fred Miller honored Phyliss Gleasman for her hard work at bringing the hospital to this point. Gleasman retired her position last month.

Pastor Lynda Mayer led the crowd in prayer and blessed the site.

Lake Chelan Health Board members, past board chair Phyliss Gleasman and CEO George Rohrich broke ground at the hospital’s new building site.

Manson Community Council is dealing with growth issues

by Richard Uhlhorn

Short Term Rentals:

Chelan County Commissioner Tiffany Gering attended the Manson Community Council meeting on Tuesday, April 20, to discuss a variety of issues facing the community.

Regarding Short Term Rentals (STRs), Gering stated she had met with Jim Brown in the Planning Department and they were able to come up with some regulations for the planning commission board to consider at its May 7 meeting. “Both sides were kind of unhappy,” she said. “We are looking forward to getting regulations in place to move forward.”

Gering suggested that everyone visit the Chelan County Community Development page on the Internet. “The Planning Commission does extensive work. They read everything line by line. I’m not concerned at all… they will make good recommendations.”

The STR issue has been developing over several years with many complaints by neighboring residents regarding loud parties and no regard for peaceful coexistence.

Council Chair Kari Sorenson brought up the use of GIS for locating STRs that are not in compliance. Gering said she had talked to Brown and County Assessor Deanna Walter. Walter said it would be a great help to figure out how to access those STRs.

According to Brown, implementation of code enforcement could take awhile. “They are trying to work through 300 permit applications,” said Gering. “Jim is hiring (help) as soon as possible.”

Scenic Loop:

Gering told the Council that County Public Works is setting up a committee to explore signage and scenic pull outs for people to view or take photographs from.

Transportation Issues:

The Council brought up the issue of increased traffic in Manson and would like to see a 4-way stop sign installed at Green Avenue and Wapato Way. “We pay a lot of taxes to the County and we should be able to get some of that back.”

Gering replied to the request for stop sign by saying that a community needs to have a certain number of accidents to get a stop sign. It was suggested by Pat Hautenne. that the Community ask the Sheriff for a Speed Sign. “The Sheriff can plug in and get (traffic) data from the unit,” said Hautenne. The Manson Farmers Market held at the Grange Hall parking lot was also mentioned as problematic.

It was also noted that resident Brian Paterson said that the 20 year plan includes a bogus traffic plan that has not recognized the massive increased growth in both Manson and Chelan. The consultant reported that traffic would increase 1.5 percent each year for 20 years. It was noted that traffic has increased way beyond that projected number.

Parks Levy:

The Manson Parks Department is running a six year replacement levy for $.23 cents/per thousand. “We have been collecting less that 15 cents and are shooting for $185,000,” said boardmember Rob Campbell. “We use reserves to balance the budget.” Reserves come from launch fees and other fees generated by the park.

Manson resident Larry Pintner chimed in at the end of the meeting telling the Council that they needed to get all three County Commissioners to spend a weekend in Manson to see, “what we look at every single day.” He also felt that it was time to initiate user fees for the parks so the entire burden is not falling on the residents of Manson.

DogPark issue:

BACKGROUND:

Judge Brandt approved a vacation of half of the original 25 foot right of way between the old swimming hole (now referred to as the dog park) in his court proceedings. This property has been in public use for many years. The vacation of a portion of this property went to a neighboring property owner (Buckingham Family).

The Dog Park is the only legal section of property on Lake Chelan which allows dogs to swim. It is specifically designated in Manson’s Comprehensive Plan as one of the community’s local parks.

The issue has apparently not been completely resolved at this date. Gering stated at the March meeting that she would talk to the

(Editor Note: Having followed the Shoreline Management Act, I believe it is illegal to transfer public lake front property for private use and/or ownership.) This was an important oversight by Judge Travis Brant.

Pintner remarked that the attorney regarding the dog park (old swim hole) property vacation said, “It is what it is!” Pintner added, “It is a disappointing situation ill served by the county commissioners. We need to get all the commissioners involved because she (Gering) is only one vote.”

“Why isn’t our State Representative at this meeting,” he asked. “We don’t need to write letters… we need to get aggressive.” Pintner added that as far as he is concerned, the community has an emergency situation. “It’s not business as usual…it’s a whole new world.” He would also like to see Governor Inslee visit Manson. “I don’t think our elected representatives are doing their job,” stated Pintner.

Campbell replied that the Parks Department receives 40 percent of their funding from user fees.

Manson Community Council meets every third Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. Currently these meetings are being held on ZOOM and the connection is available on the community’s Facebook page.

Emerson Village holds successful Grand Opening

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan Valley Land Trust hosted its first Grand Opening of affordable housing at the five unit Emerson Village. The event was attended by a number of notable local residents who have either supported this effort or were there to cheer the group on.

Charlie Guildner, president of North Cascades National Bank, was pleased the bank could help the Trust build the units and said, “I have 40 employees… half who can’t live where they work.” Guildner said he was very appreciative of all the support this project generated. “Some of my employees can now call Chelan home.” He added that the affordable housing needs to continue. “Let’s let it happen,” he said.

Charlie Guildner, president of North Central National Bank, made the opening statements at the Emerson Village Grand Opening on Saturday, April 17.

The Housing Trust has several other projects they are working on, most notably on nine acres adjacent to Anderson Road in east Chelan.

Mike Cooney, President of the Chelan Valley Housing Trust told those in attendance that “everybody should have the ability to buy a home in the town where they work.” He thanked the board members and mentioned that Steve Kline donated the property that the Emerson Housing development sits on. He also thanked Legislator Mike Steele for his help with the development of the property. “A lot of people stepped forward.”

Mike Cooney, Chelan Valley Housing Trust thanked everyone involved in making Emerson Village a success.

K&L Homes was thanked for their building skills and workmanship.

Tim Hollingsworth, board president, thanked those directly involved in the project and said, “These five units are a down payment of what we need to do in this valley.”

Board President Tim Hollingsworth remarked that this project is only the down payment for affordable housing in Chelan.
Executive Assistant at the Housing Trust, Rachel Goldie, cut the ribbon officially dedicating Chelan’s first affordable housing projcet

Executive Assistant Rachel Goldie said, “Welcome home” to the new home owners.

Community members who would like to get involved or donate to the Housing Trust can visit the organizations website to sign up or donate. https://chelanvalleyhousing.org/

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.