Chelan Schools Superintendent Barry DePaoli visited with Chelan City Council on Tuesday evening, February 9, to present potential solutions to the district’s summer parking issues at the high school with boaters and vacationers.
Over the years, the School District has allowed boaters to park their trailers in the high school’s side parking lot over the summer months and until several years ago, hadn’t had any problems.
Two years ago, the Lake Chelan Valley began seeing an increase in boat traffic and with limited parking available, the school lots began to fill up. Last summer was the deal breaker! Over 90 trailers, and some RV’s took advantage of the free parking. When it came time for the trailers to move out and the District to get ready for school opening, many didn’t leave creating an issue of hunting the owners down and having them move their trailers.
“We are looking for solutions to the problem,” DePaoli told the Council. “The problem over the last two years is that a lot more boats are coming into the City and Valley and the parking ot is becoming a catch-all with trailers and RV’s.”
DePaoli stated that the board wants to figure out how to continue allowing parking at the school. “We want to be good stewards of the community,” said DePaoli. “We know it is a convenience.”
The problems with boat trailers and the increase in boats coming to the Valley is that Chelan’s PUD boat launch only has 16 slots for trailers, which means that a lot of the boating traffic to the free PUD launch park their trailers up and down Farnham Street.
“We have no way of managing the lot,” stated DePaoli. “We don’t want to be an overnight parking lot.”
Erin McCardle said, “When I go by it seems that trailers are left for the season.” She asked Barry if he had any potential solutions?
DePaoli replied that people are looking for week to month parking. “We can control day parking,” he said. “If we shut down the lot, we are not being good stewards of the City. We really need to offer something to our locals.” He asked if the City could provide a Parking Lot Officer which he said the District could help (financially) with that.
Mayor Goedde asked if out-of-town boaters could park up behind Les Schwab at the old Evans Storage area now being run by Ray Wilson. “He’s planning a large increase in his footprint.” This could open up some long term parking opportunities, but the question would be how to get the boaters back to their boats.
Hollingsworth added that the PUD needs to be involved in the discussion since they own the launch. He suggested that the City could install a parking kiosk and treat the school lot as an additional parking facility by leasing it out and splitting the proceeds with the District. DePaoli replied they need to have some solution in place by May 1 when the boating season begins to get underway. “I’m open to to any partnership the City would like to look at,” said DePaoli emphasizing that the lot needs to be day parking only.
Mayor Goedde asked Parks Director Paul Horne about the Kiosk solution. Horne replied that they cost an estimated $25,000 and the Parks Department would have to hire another seasonal to help. “We have a hard time hiring one now.”
The liability issue came up and DePaoli stated that in 20 years they have not had an issue.
DePaoli is in hopes that the City will take the idea of a partnership seriously concerning this issue. His solution is to keep the side lot open for 35 trailers (no RVs) and the back lot for the use of locals providing up to 25 more slots. The front parking lot at the School would remain open for School District events.
The issue is a serious one throughout the community with its unprecedented growth. Councilman Chris Baker said during the Mayor/Council comments that Chelan has outgrown its parks and parking.
by Richard Uhlhorn All Things Lake Chelan 509-679-0282
NEWSLETTER: In early February, district residents can expect to receive a newsletter and a letter written and edited by the board regarding the state of the hospital and what the timeline for the new facility is.
VACCINES: Lake Chelan Health is requesting that those interested in receiving the next dose of vaccines to visit the website frequently. Residents can also register at the hospital’s website for notification when doses come in.
Those who have already received their first shot, were given a card with a follow up appointment for their second shot of the vaccine.
There apparently is no indication of when new doses will arrive.
NEW HOSPITAL FACILITY: Regarding the progress on the new facility, not much was forthcoming during the Facilities Report. The committee meet on January 4 and stated that updating continues on plans and specifications for the new building. Permit applications have been made for fill and grade permits from the City. “Things are moving forward and all permits will be presented on February 4,” said Chair Phyliss Gleasman. CEO George Rohrich added that the facility plans are moving forward.
Commissioner Jordana LaPorte requested the committee’s minutes from its last meeting. She also complained about the number of acronyms in the report. “I don’t know what they are,” she said. “I need a decoeer to read these.” Rohrich said he will spell them out from now on.
Commissioner Mary Signorelli asked about the new hospital’s signage and Gleasman replied that Wenatchee’s Graybill Signs are working on them.
HURON PRESENTTION OF BOARD RESPONSIBILITIES: Tad Hunt from Huron gave a monthly presentation to the board on Board Governance and covered issues and responsibilities of the board. His presentation laid out that the board has the ultimate authority, but its primary responsibility is to monitor its CEO’s performance. He also presented that board members can not act alone and that they must speak as a board.
LaPorte asked what happens if one of the staff has an issue with the CEO? Hunt said, “That’s a fair question. There is a governance policy of that.” Rohrich added that there is a pathway of that potential problem. “Like a CEO stealing money for example (it has happened in the board’s past),” said Rohrich. Hunt added that there is nothing wrong with the board rounding with the staff and team, but not as a fishing excursion. It would also have to be reported at the board meeting.
HOSPITAL FINANCES FOR DECEMBER December had the hospital’s finances lose $182,890.00 which was $114,790.00 over it projected loss of $68,110.00. The hospital’s financial situation is beginning to improve monthly and is expected to increase with the opening of the Urgent Care Clinic on February 1, and the recent report that the hospital is once again able to admit patients after a short shutdown to a COVID-19 issue.
The Board of Commissioners meet on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Residents within the District are invited to attend the Virtual meetings via ZOOM. These ZOOM meetings can be accessed from the Hospital’s agenda.
Chelan restaurants received a gift from Mayor Bob Goedde and the City Council at the Council meeting on Tuesday evening when City Attorney Quentin Batjer extended Mayor Goedde’s Emergency Executive Order for the Pandemic.
Batjer stated that the City was waiving certain zoning requirements for outdoor seating that expired in September of 2020. Batjer stated that the restuarants will not have to use platforms under the new requirements and it removes authorization for sidewalk spaces.
The parking stall usage by the restaurants will expire when the (pandemic) emergency ends or the County enters Phase II which will once again allow patrons access to indoor dining.
Each year, the City Council adopts its Legislative agenda for the Washington State Legislative session. City Administrator Wade Ferris said, “I would like to get them to our legislators as soon as possible because the legislative session begins soon.
This year’s legislative issues include:
Affordable Housing – Because of the City’s tourism-based economy, many local service industry workers are unable to afford living in Chelan or the Valley year round. The median price for a home in the valley has risen to $475,000. To help alleviate the need, the City supports the efforts of the Chelan Valley Housing Trust. The City will also support proposals that assist in creating rural residential housing for communities like Chelan. In addition, the City supports the creation of a tax on Short Term Rentals that would be dedicated to providing long term affordable housing for its workers.
Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said that Chelan is missing a lot of funding for moderate to low income families. The Housing Trust is supporting higher income levels with its $200,000 homes that will be completed in February. The need for lower income affordable apartments or homes is a serious need in the valley.
Mayor Bob Goedde asked if anyone was following the legislature regarding affordable housing. Hollingsworth said he was trying to follow the issues.
LakesidePark Improvements: Public Waterfront Access – Public access to Lake Chelan has become a high priority for the City and the City’s Parks Department. With more and more visitors from around the region accessing the Lake Chelan Valley, the parks are becoming overcrowded and parking is becoming a major issue for the City.
The City is making public access one of its highest priorities and will attempt to increase access through two targeted initiatives.
The City has had a master plan in place for Lakeside Park for several years, but has been unable to obtain the necessary grants and funding to increase the park’s capacity, safety and functionality. The master plan includes increased parking, new ADA compliant restrooms, trails along with beach enhancements and swim area improvements.
The Lakeside Park Improvement project has applied for $1 million in grants from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) in both 2018 and 2020, but ranked just below the cutoff for allocated funding. The City has allocated $103,000 towards additional swim area improvements which remains a high priority project.
In addition to seeking funding from the RCO for Lakeside Park, the City has undertaken a study to identify publicly owned areas along the waterfront with high potential for development into mini parks. The cost for all seven identified would cost approximately $1.5 million dollars.
Hollingsworth said he liked the treatment for the waterfront projects, but felt it was a little long winded. “I would like to see something that gives it some punch,” said Hollingsworth. We get people from around the region and state and I think the State needs to be a partner in this project.
John Olson agreed and stated that both he and Bob Goedde were born and raised in Chelan and haven’t seen any major changes to public access. “Our population has exploded and is expected to explode more,” said Olson who added that there are 8,000 housing units planned for the area. “The park systems haven’t changed in our lifetimes.”
Pedestrian Safety i Downtown Chelan between HWY 97 & SR 150 – The City is requesting $700,000 in transportation funding for infrastructure to improve pedestrian safety.
Washington Main Street Program – The City is requesting that the State increase the overall cap of the Main Street Tax Credit Incentive Program to $4 million in tax credits (currently $2,500,000).
Water to ChelanAirport – The City and Port have been trying to obtain funding to get water to the Chelan Airport. This would give the airport area an adequate water supply to provide fire flow and permit construction of needed hanger space as well as possible new industry and warehouses. The estimated cost of getting water to the airport is $5.7 million dollars.
Golf Cart lease contract – The Council unanimously approved a lease agreement with Pacific Golf and Turf for new gas driven golf carts with hour meters on them. It will cost the City Parks Department $216,000 over the next five years. “I think we got a good deal,” said Parks Director Paul Horne.
Rate and Fee Resolution – The Council unanimously approved a new rate and fee structure for 2021 for garbage and recycling.
Lake Chelan Sewer District Agreement extension – The Council approved an extension with the Lake Chelan Sewer District agreement with the City until July which will allow the parties to negotiate a new longer term agreement.
During Mayor/Council comments – Mayor Goedde said that the Port and Chelan were setting up a Blue Ribbon Panel for the Airport. “There are a lot of decisions that need to be made that will cost between $4 to $14 million dollars,” said Goedde. “The good news is that the FAA will pay 90 percent of that cost.” He asked for a volunteer from the council to serve on the panel and asked for suggestions for residents who might be interested in serving. “I’m concerned with what the locals think about our airport.”
Councilman Chris Baker said he’d back up Peter Jamtgaard as the City Council members.
Mayor Goedde also stated that the Chelan School District was interested in finding some resolution to the boat-trailer parking issue at the High School. Jamtgaard stated that the lake has been overrun by boaters and the City needs to consider some launch fees for funding to add parking and more police protection on the lake.
City Council meets every second and fourth Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. Those interested in listening in can get a live stream of the meeting from Lake Chelan Now.
Fifteen years… that is how long it has been since Chelan County Fire District No. 7 (Chelan Fire and Rescue) has passed a levy lid lift.
At the District’s commission meeting on Wednesday, January 20, under New Business, Chief Mark Donnell told the commissioners that 2021’s budget is Ok, but from 2022 and beyond, the projected budget is not a rosy picture. “My perspective,” said Donnell, “is that it has been 15 years since we’ve passed a levy.”
Since 2006 when the District passed its last levy, the Lake Chelan Valley has changed dramatically. More and more people are choosing the Valley as their new home, or at least a location for a second home. This demographic change has put new pressures on the District.
In addition, the District has undergone a transformation from an all Volunteer Department to a District that has both Career and Volunteer staff to serve the needs of the district. That transformation has also included a number of new regulations required to certify volunteers as firefighters able to respond to firefighting emergencies.
Men and women who used to volunteer for service now find the time commitment to be burdensome on their work and personal lives, so attracting individuals who are dedicated to the service is difficult.
In addition, the financial issues of maintaining a department and its personnel is becoming strained. “We can make dramatic cuts in service,” stated Donnell. If the department is not able to pass a new levy, dramatic cuts are will be forced, which is not good for the service area.
When fire breaks out, whether structure or wild, the community relies on its fire fighters to respond in an efficient manner. As an example, current regulations require four structure certified firefighters on scene before two of them can enter the structure. If it is, for example, a small kitchen fire, in inability to enter the structure could mean a fully involved structure fire.
Because of the increasing financial pressures, the District is hopeful it can float a new levy lid lift in the 2021 November election cycle. To do this, however, the District needs to file its intentions by August 3.
The commission and staff discussed the necessary steps forward to get ready for a new levy. “We are already behind the eight ball,” said Donnell. “Moving forward with a (citizens) group is critical.”
Chairman Phil Moller suggested that the District should be able to accomplish what needs to be done in-house. “We could put together a mailer and have people fill out a guest questionnaire,” said Moller. Commissioner Russ Jones worried about the timeline to do that and asked, “Are we going to get a quality return. I’m leaning towards a group.”
Chief Donnell replied that he likes the group idea because it can include a cross representation of the community. “We need to educate the community and if we don’t educate??”
Commissioner Karyl Oules said that she wants to hear what the community wants. “If we do a levy, it needs to succeed,” said Oules. “If we fail another levy, we need to clean house and figure out what we are doing wrong.” Donnell added that he has no intention of floating a levy that will fail.
The Department will try to put together a Citizen Advisory Group of 15 to 20 residents to work out the details of how to educate the public to the need for a new levy. Jones said, “It’s time to get education out to the public.
Dan Crandall, Firefighters Association President recommended that the District ask Ray Dobbs to facilitate the group. Dobbs acted as the liaison between the City and department when he served on the Chelan City Council. He also has a long history of public service in the community.
The Commission will make a decision at the February meeting on the how to approach the District residents with its future needs.
FIRE CHIEF’S REPORT:
Chief Donnell reported that the District spent 99 percent of its projected budget by the end of 2020. The District normally carries over $500,000 in reserve, but Donnell said that the carryover is actually $720,000. “Its from all the hard work we did (on state mob),” said Donnell. The ability to keep seasonal firefighters employed allowed staff to work State Mobilization jobs during the 2020 wildfire season. “We still have some uncollected revenues from our State Mobilization,” said Donnell. “We would not have brought in that much from State Mobilization without the seasonals,” added Donnell.
Chairman Phil Moller thanked Donnell, Administrator Carol Kibler and Assistant Chief Brandon Asher for the excellent job they did on the budget.
DECEMBER INCIDENT REPORT:
Chief Donnell told the commissioners that December was the busiest month since 2010. One of the incidents was a call out from Campbell’s Resort for smoke at the Riverwalk Room. “We got a good turnout for Campbell’s,” said Donnell. “We put out a second alarm because we weren’t sure where the fire was and how bad it could get.” The firefighters were able to locate the seat of the fire within 20 minutes and put it out. “It could have been a serious event,” said Donnell.
Structure fires require quick response and Chelan Fire and Rescue is closing in on a two minute out the door with arrival at the fire within eight to 10 minutes.
Moller asked if the fire hydrant was fixed. Apparently the contractor on the Old Bridge project installed a 5 inch Storz fitting to the new hydrant instead of the standard 4 inch fitting.
Apparently, the Lookout has the same issue along with its narrow one-way streets. Moller said he is worried bout the hydrant fittings at the Lookout and wants the District to change them out to the proper 4 inch fittings and then bill the City for that change out. “If we can’t hook up there in case of fire,” said Moller. “Let’s get even a couple changed over. We don’t have to do all of them at once.”
Chief Donnell said one of the bigger issues is fire inspections of water supply and buildings. “We need to sit down with the City’s Code Enforcer, but they are busy with 85 applications. He is also the fire marshal. We need to have a Fire Inspector.”
Commissioner Jones asked how much the fittings cost. Donnell replied that they run around $200 each. “I would be willing to bet that the contractor or developer would fix the problem.”
Moller asked about other developments. Donnell replied that all the new developments were installing the proper fittings.
Donnell said the department would be moving forward with a new SAFER grant and a Regional Fire Prevention Safety Grant (Community Risk Program). “Arnold (Chief Baker – CCFD No. 5) thinks there is a good chance of getting this one… Lake Wenatchee did.”
The new ladder truck (Ladder 71) has a serious corrosion issue that needs to be resolved. “Northwest Fire can do that work,” said Donnell. “There is significant damage.” The cost of shipping the truck and fixing the problem will be around $250,000. “It will take up to a year with the truck out of service, but the good news is that when it comes back, it will be good for another 20 years.” The other option is to sell the truck for $175,000.
“I need direction from the board. We can move money around and more revenues are coming in,” stated Donnell. Moller stated that it was a lot of money, but that $250,000 is not a bad deal for a ladder truck that will last 20 years.
Assistant Chief Asher stated that the ladder truck has the big engine and was installed before all the emission criteria was made. The Duty Crew chimed in and remarked that everyone likes the truck. “It is a significant upgrade to the old one,” said one of the crew members.
Commissioner Oules said she didn’t think the expenditure to fix the truck was a waste of money, but asked how the District was covered while it was out of service. Chief Donnell replied that Entiat’s is still in service and that one is available from Wenatchee on a second alarm.
ASSISTANT CHIEF REPORT:
Chief Asher reported that local volunteer training was scheduled in Wenatchee on February 2. “We picked up one new volunteer recruit for Chelan and one for Entiat. None for Orondo,” said Asher.
EMT training is currently on-line but Asher hopes to have in-person training in first week of February.
FIRE ASSOCIATION REPORT:
Dan Crandall reported that the Association has $3,800 in its bank account; $11,500 in its Gala account and $18,000 in the Marine 1 account. “Overall we are in pretty good shape for the coming year even without fund raising,” said Crandall. ‘We have pretty much accomplished everything we needed to do on Marine 1.”
Moller asked about the installation of a pump on Marine 1. Jones replied that he has backed away from installing a permanent pump. “I want to experiment with a portable pump,” said Jones. Donnell added that the District has a portable pump already and when the weather is more conducive it can be checked out.
Donnell stated that he is still working on the City of Chelan/Fire District agreement. He also stated that he wanted to move $100,000 out of the General Fund to the Capital Fund. The board unanimously approved that transfer.
The next Board Meeting will be on Wednesday, February 17 beginning at 3 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend the virtual meeting by going to the District’s website at Chelan7.com and clicking on the ZOOM link on the Districts agenda.
NEW CAREER HIRE:
Chief Donnell introduced Brittany Atkinson as a new hire for the District. She told the commissioners that she was from Selah where she served as a volunteer firefighter before attending Central Washington University. She joined the U.S. Army as a generator mechanic, went to Afghanistan in 2019 and is now serving six years in the reserves.
She worked in the Lake Stevens District and instructed at the fire academy. “I love what they do here and love the people,” she said.
Chelan City Council had a long and engaging conversation regarding the City’s Recycling and Waste Management rates for the next four years.
At last week’s City Council Workshop, the staff had proposed a 2021 increase in waste management charges to $21.29 plus $9.10 for recycling for a new monthly charge per resident with a 64 gallon cart.
Council person Erin McCardle told staff and other Council members that she felt a monthly increase of almost $6.00 per resident was too much considering the fact that the populace has been undergoing financial and other hardships during the Pandemic.
At that same workshop, Tim Hollingsworth asked it there was a way the City could spread out the increased costs over several years. Finance Director Steve Thornton stated he would look at different rate structures that would help.
The conversation at Tuesday’s, January 12, Council Meeting discussed several options including the possibility of dropping the recycling program to save residents money. The Solid Waste Fund has a surplus of $400,000 in it, which the City would like to maintain.
The City’s consultant, Chris Bell said that the recycling program is an incredibly expensive program. The City had asked both Waste Management and Zippy if they would be interested in servicing the City’s recycling program, both of which said they weren’t interested unless it included garbage pickup also.
In addition, 75 percent of Chelan’s residents are utilizing the recycling option and reducing their garbage output. “Hopefully the recycling program will increase and add to the fund balance,” said Bell after noting that cardboard is increasing in price.
McCardle also told Bell and the City that a red flag was raised when Bell suggested that businesses help subsidize the cost of residential garbage pick up. “We need to recalibrate,” said McCardle. “I don’t think businesses should be subsidizing residents.” Mayor Goedde agreed with McCardle. Hollingsworth said that the workshop figures mounted to sticker shock.
Finance Director Thornton stated that if the City delays the increase, the increase in collection would have to be higher next year, but McCardle stated that as more households come on line, it would help to balance the revenue stream.
John Olson stated he’d like the City to stay the course with the recycling program. “Seventy-five percent use is huge,” said Olson. Servando Robledo seconded Olson’s comment
Public Works Director Jake Youngren stated that he doesn’t want the Public Works Department to get into an uncomfortable spot. He added that it looked like Council would vote on the new rate schedule at the next Council meeting.
The Council unanimously approved the City’s new Rate and Fee Resolution No. 2021-1385.
The only changes were to the Lakeside RV Park’s rate structure which will see a five percent increase over the next three years beyond 2021. This upcoming year, the rates will remain the same as last year because registration is already open and the park is filling up.
Golf Course rates for 2021 will increase by seven percent over 2020.
The Council also discussed what it wanted on its Legislative Priorities list for 2021.
Last year, one of the top priorities was to provide Pedestrian Safety in Downtown Chelan between 97A and SR150. At the time, the Department of Transportation was scheduled to pave 97A from Lakeside to Wall Mart, a DOT program that has been delayed. A part of that program was a $700,000 proposal from the City for the DOT to provide 21 Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons to provide safe pedestrian crosswalks along the state highways in the City.
McCardle said it would be nice to understand where the State and City were on the issue. “I’m not clear where they are,” said McCardle. “It would be great to have an understanding. Should this be on our Legislative list or not,” she asked. Mayor Goedde replied that he didn’t think the City has a problem.
McCardle said there were some high priority spots and Hollingsworth suggested that . Mike Steele find out why it is so hard for the City to get (state) funding. He then mentioned the required infrastructure required on Henderson Road for low income housing. Mayor Goedde asked how far that request would go. Hollingsworth replied tht it was where money can be used. “Low income housing take s a lot of money.”
Chris Baker said he’d heard that the proposal was to turn Woodin Avenue from the stoplight to Les Schwab into a three lane (left hand turn lane in the middle) from the current five lanes. Mayor Goedde said, “We don’t have a problem. City residents don’t want it. How it ends up… we’ll (have to wait) see.”
The Council agreed that the $7 million dollar Chelan Butte Conservation Funding be taken off the list. McCardle said, “It isn’t something we want on the list this year.” Goedde remarked that it wasn’t going very far anyway. Hollingsworth said there is talk that a buyer is interested in that property.
For the Butte Property to be purchased for preservation by the City would require a lot of donations, grant funding and state funding to make it a reality. “I agree with Erin.”
John Olson brought up a new item for the Legislative Priority list. “I want to add more public access to the lake,” said Olson. “We’ve got to be planning for this.” City Administrator Wade Ferris said he would work with Parks Director Paul Horne on this issue.
Baker stated that he would like the City to move forward on the Spader Bay property and would also like the City to get behind the Community Center that will begin construction next spring.
Lakeside Park will remain on the priority list. “That’s a big priority,” stated Hollingsworth. “We need to increase capacity. The parking issue is also there. That is a project that deserves State money because people from all over use it.” Horne said he is waiting to hear from the Recreation and Conservation Office. Last year the City was ranked 14th and the RCO only funded 11 projects.
Mayor Goedde also stated that the City is still working on getting water to the airport so it can be developed. Ferris stated that the City supports effort to bring water to the airport.
A final list will be presented at the next Council meeting for approval.
Garbage rates may increase by a large amount, but some on City Council are questioning a decision to raise the rates by 25 percent at one swell swoop a little much for residents still struggling with unemployment and the ongoing pandemic.
Erin McCardle said, “Twenty four percent is a really large jump, especially for those on fixed incomes. It’s hard to swallow.”
Tim Hollingsworth carried the discussion further by suggesting that the City look at spreading the higher costs out over several years. City Finance Director Steve Thornton said the City has some cash in the fund. “We could combine the total over two years.”
Mayor Goedde commented that it might be a good idea to see what the residents would like the City to do. Hollingsworth suggested a four year ease into the high rate, but Thornton replied that the City’s fund is not that flush.
Public Works Director Jake Youngren remarked that most of the departments phone calls center around garbage and recycling. City Consultant Chris Bell stated that costs are rising. Mayor Goedde suggested discussing with Zippy the potential of taking on the City’s recycling needs and that the added volume might help Zippy make some money. Bell replied that it would be an expensive venture.
Mayor Goedde asked if the Council had to make the decision by next Tuesday’s Council meeting. Thornton replied, “No… we can do more research.” McCardle stated she appreciated that approach.
Peter Jamtgaard suggested that more research into finding more outlets for recycled material is needed. Bell mentioned that several companies are exploring the recycling business in Eastern Washington. “Cardboard has increased substantially,” said Bell. Recently, cardboard was selling at $22 a ton, but has increased to around $40 to $60 a ton as opposed to its once high of $110 to $150 a ton.
Bell also stated that mixed paper is getting a lot of interest by Kelso Norpac which is converting its plant to process more paper. “They will be able to take more than what Washington and Oregon can produce and pay $80 to $90 per ton.” The ability to move the materials to more locally centered businesses will also reduce costs. “It would be good if you can go back to earning a little money,” said Bell. “I’m hopeful.”
The City’s recycling revenues have dropped considerably from $97,000 in 2017 to $40,000 in 2020, which is a net change of $135,000. Residents will pay $9.10 cents per month for recycling pickup services which currently is a City requirement.
Jon Olson asked where the proposed purchase of a glass crushing machine and program was at. No one had any answers to that question except that Olson said the total program will cost around $150,000. “This would be a great service to wineries.” It will be included in next Council’s discussion.
The council also discussed the upcoming rate changes and projections for the next four years. Permits, water and sewer hookups and other charges were looked at and will be discussed at next week’s Council meeting.
The Parks Department is raising its golf course rates upwards by six percent and the RV Park will begin raising its rates in 2022. “This will be a three year rate increase,” said Parks Director Paul Horne. He stated that he can’t raise rates for 2021 because the park is already booked out.
Jamtgaard asked if there was a way to allow people who have been trying to use the park to gain access in the future. Horned replied that booking is mostly done through email when the Parks Department sends out notification that it is open for booking. He stated he relied on Parks employee James Hayter for his expertise in rate changes. Mayor Goedde remarked that the RV Park bookings fill up in five days after it is open for reservations.
Consultant Chris Bell suggested that the Park keep its summer rates through Labor Day. “September is still a peak season. You need to keep your prices up until the end of September,” he said.
The Council will consider its list of Legislative Priorities at its next meeting. McCardle asked to see past Legislative Priorities for reference at the next meeting.
Mayor Goedde remarked that over the last several years, the City has employed a paid lobbyist. “We need to spend some time on this at the next Council meeting,” he said.
The Council also decided on which councilmember would liaison with other organizations over the next year.
City Councilman Chris Baker joined Chelan Fire & Rescue’s virtual commission meeting on Wednesday, December 16. He told the commissioners that he thought he’d join in lieu of Ray Dobb’s departure from the City Council. “I’m not sure I’ll be the fire liaison between the City and you, but thought I’d join the meeting today.
Chief Mark Donnell reported that the City and Fire District have still not met regarding a City of Chelan Fire Protection Services Contract. Donnell hopes that meeting can take place in January.
The Department is financially at 95% of its budget currently and Donnell reported that there was a lot of revenues the District has not received yet. “Basically these revenes are from State Mobilizations,” said Donnell.
“November has been somewhat slow,” said Donnell. The staff responded to a vehicle fire on Hwy 97 and a structure fire up Washington Creek. “We get a better response on structure fires.” During daytime, it is hard to get volunteers to respond because they are working.
Operationally, the District has modified its response because of COVID. “We will respond if needed,” said Donnell who went on to report that Emergency Medical Services have not had a positive case on duty. “It’s (the virus) out there. We need to get through this thing (pandemic) without affecting our operations.”
Chelan will receive 1000 doses of the COVID vaccine and Lake Chelan Community Hospital staff and first responders will be able to receive their two required shots with the first installment of doses.
Assistant Chief Brandon Asher has been struggling to get more applicants to volunteer at Chelan, Entiat and Orondo Fire Districts. He reported that they have had one new application at Chelan and one at Entiat. He added that they lost one who moved to Idaho. “We have (recruitment) banners out.”
Currently, Station 71 has 19 volunteers; 72 has one; 73 has 7; 74 has 4; and 75 has 8. Asher said the Departments have to get the message out for volunteers to train and respond. We’ve got to get people coming in,” said Asher. The Department is offering hybrid classes which is a good time for volunteers to get certified. He has six individuals signed up for the EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) class.
Chairman Phil Moller asked if they all fit in with the departments training program. Asher replied they did and that training funds are available. Chief Donnell stated that the District is cost sharing with Wenatchee and that the Volunteer Academy comes at no cost. “Retention is tough,” said Donnell. “I don’t envision this improving.” He said it was a another reason to get education under the belt.
Board member Russ Jones said there is a District on the west side that gets 20,000 calls a year and has about 300 volunteers, but they have a large population to work from. “We are locked into the residents we have here,” said Jones. “There are only so many fish in the sea.”
Moller added that at some point the Department is going to have to go in a different direction. “What’s the next plan,” he asked. “We are spending a lot of money on volunteers.” He suggested that the money spent on volunteers might go towards hiring more full time staff firefighters. Donnell replied, “We cannot support a full staff department. We have to make some changes if we are going to remain a fire service.”
Moller stated that the department needs to protect the community professionally. Jones said that he would like to see a master list noting of why the volunteers left. Karyl Oules stated she has been pondering the issue. “We’ve got to do something different.” She wondered what kind of wild out of the box ideas are out there that might stick.
Donnell replied that he needs ideas for going out to the community. “I can give this community the fire service they want.” The issue is the need for more money in the future which means an increase in the M & O levy. “The bottom line is we are strapped with limited resources.” Oules replied that the District can’t be an Island and that regionalization is potentially the way to go.
Donnell said that mutual agreements between the Districts offset some of the problems. Oules asked if any other Chiefs out there were willing to look at regionalization? “We’ve failed how many levies? We are doing something wrong in that department,” stated Oules.
Donnell replied that if the District goes out for another levy, it has to do it right. “Ww are meeting with other Chiefs. It’s going to take the community.” Moller said that the cost to regionalize would be money well spent. “It would get rid of duplication of un-needed services.” Jones added that it isn’t about empire building, but about the community. Donnell said he would be happy to move aside if they could regionalize, but that if it happens it also needs to include EMS. “Seventy percent of EMS services are Fire Based. They could be trained for fire suppression as well.”
Jones said they need more commissioner meetings with other commissions. “We need to bring the commissioners together.”
The commissioners adopted one year of the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan and asked for an aggressive plan for community involvement. It was noted that 85% of Union Valley residents are involved in a fuel reduction program.
The District will put together another attempt at involving the community in an advisory committee, recognizing that the last advisory committee directed under a paid consultant was a failure. “We need to manage it internally,” said Donnell. Moller said he would like to see goals and objectives of that group. “There was so much floundering last time.”
Councilman Chris Baker stated that a Citizen’s Committee is a good idea, but mentioned that the vision the School District’s Advisory Committee didn’t do a good job of getting the vision to the community. “People who are being asked for money, want to know where it is going.”
Oules asked if it was proper as a Chelan commissioner to attend other District Commission meetings. Moller told her that they are open public meetings and that it wouldn’t hurt to know what they are planning. Jones stated that he had attended the Manson meeting and was welcomed. “It is neat to see other district and what they are discussing.”
Jones added that it is important that the community understand the one percent cap means. “People don’t understand that.” He asked for a new count of new structures in the valley since 2007 when the last M&O Levy was passed. “I’m sure it is several hundred and our service requirements have increased substantially.” Jones thought the District should continue to look at a way to put a surcharge on Short Term Rentals.
Dan Crandall, president of the Fireman’s Association told the Commissioners that 2020 has been a challenging year for fund raising. “We have been able to use the money raised the previous year.” He added that the Association has gone through half of its funds, but that they still have a cushion in the bank.
Crandall said that the Association has been able to do some good despite not being able to fund raise. They have built a storage shed, contributed funds to Thrive and the Okanogan Recovery Group along with contributing funds to a GoFund me campaign for the couple who lost their child in the 2020 fires and who were also burned badly.
The Association has donated $500 each month ($1,000 in December) to the Chelan Food Bank, purchased the Halloween candy, donated to the VFW luncheons, given money for the firefighters to go shopping with kids at Wall Mart, and purchased electronic equipment for Marine 71 despite the pandemic.
The Fire District commission meetings are held at 3:00 P.M. on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Currently, they are being conducted on Zoom because of the pandemic.
Sgt. Chris Foreman presented the Sheriff’s Department 2020 update to Chelan City Council on Tuesday, December 15. He presented a 2019 versus 2020 graph of Calls for Service from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. “Despite COVID we were busier with call this year than in 2019,” said Foreman.
Foreman specifically noted the increase in calls for service on the lake. “Our marine calls on the lake were the busiest we’ve ever had,” he stated. Marine Patrol Officer Brian Moody reported that 90 percent of his patrol time was spent on the lake this past summer.
The Chelan River and Riverwalk Park saw unprecented use in 2020. Boats anchoring in the river channel became a problem for the Marine Patrol who made contact with many boaters, asking them to move on.
Councilman Tim Hollingsworth told Foreman that he was glad to see the patrol in the river channel. He noted that there were several altercations when boaters who had been rafting up were asked to move along. “It happens only when things get busy,” said Hollingsworth. “It’s a big lake out there.”
Foreman replied that the Marine Patrol’s main intent was to contact folks and promote safety in the River. “There are safer areas with less boat traffic on the lake. Other places on the lake you can go.” Foreman said the deputies would recommend the Three Fingers area.
Hollingsworth added that a lot of loud music and drinking went on and that the park itself was getting more use also. Foreman replied that the department was trying to be fair with everyone.
Councilman Peter Jamtgaard recommended that it might be a good idea to getsome signage over at the boat ramp and maybe on the bridge to make it clear that it is a river channel.
Councilman John Olson brought up the bridge jumping issue and stated he saw several near accidents. “I would hate to see a jumper land on a paddle boarder or, worse, a boat,” said Olson.
Bridge jumping became an impossible activity to control despite new signage stating that jumping was prohibited..
Foreman replied that the bridge jumping issue is one of those things that is hard to monitor. “I’ve seen parents encouraging their kids to jump and the local kids jumping. As soon as we leave, it is happening again. To some people it is a right of passage.”
Public Works Director Jake Youngren stated that the department replaced signage at the bridge with signs that indicate it is illegal to jump. Mayor Bob Goedde added that if you don’t think it is risky, ask his son-in-law who had a diving accident this past summer that has left him a paraplegic.
Councilman Chris Baker asked about Marine 1 that is moored in Manson. “When does it get used,” he asked? Foreman explained that Marine 1 was essentially the department’s up-lake boat build for open water and not a boat easily maneuvered. It is also a two man operation and contacting boats of which some are worth more than a home with Marine 1 is asking for trouble. “Marine 2 is a soft sided vessel moored at the Lake Chelan Marina. We use that for contact along with two jet skis.”
Foreman also said the department is trying to get a volunteer marine patrol up and running. (Note: Lake Chelan had healthy volunteer group for marine patrol duties under a previous Sheriff’s administration. It was cancelled because of liability concerns.)
Foreman went on to say that all of the department’s plans for marine patrol training in 2020 were sabotaged by the pandemic. “We had more vessel collisions this year than ever before,” said Foreman. “On the Fourth of July the rental companies reported that everything was rented out.”
He said the department was working with Manson Schools to produce an educational boating video to help educate those who want a one day boater license. “The idea was to have them watch the video and then answer some questions before being given a license.” He hopes to move forward with the plan in the spring of 2021 for the summer season.
2019-2020 Memorial Day through Labor Day Weekend Statistics
City of Chelan Zone
Calls for Service 2019 – 1065 2020 – 1170
Law Incidents 2019 – 954 2020 – 1116
Marine Calls for Service 2019 – 83 2020 – 111
Marine Incidents 2019 – 66 2020 – 86
DUI’s 2019 – 17 2020 – 23
In other Business:
The City Council had a number of motion considerations to go through that included mostly end-of-the-year issues. The Council unanimously approved all of them including:
1. – Final Contract Voucher for the Chelan Butte Road Paving Project;
2. -An authorization with RH2 Engineering for Chelan Airport Well Susceptibility Assessment;
3. – Adoption of the Chelan Airport Budget for 2021;
4. – Adopton of the City of Chelan 2021 budget;
5. – Approval of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City and Union;
6. – Approval of the Non-Represented Employees Compensation Package;
7. – Renewal of the General Engineering Services Agreement with RH2;
8. – Approval of Davis Arneil Law Firm as City Attorney for 2021; and
9. – Approval of a Golf Course Concession Agreement.
City Administrator Wade Ferris remarked that the new agreement with the union had no significant changes over the past year. McCardle remarked that she liked the how the negotiation went with the Union representatives.
Youngren remarked that he was pleased with where the City is with RH2 Engineering and that the Public Works Department is getting projects completed in time and under budget. “They are also the engineering firm with the Lake Chelan Reclamation District and the South Shore Sewer District which provides a lot of continuity for us.” Councilman Chris Baker asked if the department is without and engineer? Youngren said they had advertised but put the hiring on hold because of the pandemic, but he explained it would have no affect on the City’s agreement with RH2.
The Golf Course Concession Agreement is only for one year. Councilman Ty Witt asked about maintenance of the City owned kitchen equipment. Witt noted that there was a $1,000 bill for hood cleaning and was confused as to why the concessionaire wasn’t responsible for that maintenance?
City Parks Director explained that Witt’s question was a good one. However, City Attorney Quentin Batjer under the agreement that the City is responsible for the hood and exhaust cleaning. McCardle also added that a $1,000 was a “humungous” amount of money for a small business that is only on a yearly contract. She suggested that next year the City determine if the concessionaire would like to have a longer term commitment.
Ferris said that he and Horne have had conversations about this and would like to look at a longer contract. “I have a two inch stack of letters approving this concession,” said Ferris. Mayor Goedde stated that a number of people have tried to run that concession and have failed. McCardle said she would like to wait until the Golf Course Feasibility Study was completed before negotiation a new, longer term contract.
John Olson said he is still very concerned about COVID and remarked that Heritage Heights is doing a good job with their residents. He also mentioned that the City’s STR code was good. He said the County will soon have a hearing to vote on their STR code. “Cashmere as said no to any STRs in residential areas. Leavenworth has said No period. It is a contentious issue.”
Timn Hollingsworth remarked that it has been a challenging year. “I’m pleased that the election is finally over.” He is hoping that the strength of our democracy and institutions prevail.
Chris Baker thanked Finance Director Steve Thornton and the rest of the team for a great job in summarizing the budget. “You made it very simple to understand even though it was 200 pages.”
Ty Witt said that some of the employees at Heritage Heights had tested positive and that the residents have been isolated. “It is hard for them, but there have been no illnesses or deaths at Heritage Heights.” He also thanked Wade Ferris for all of his god work. “Hopefully next year will be better.” He added that the Lake Chelan Community Hospital has the capability of storing the new vaccine and that they would be receiving 1,000 doses in the next several weeks.
Servando Robledo and Peter Jamtgaard wished everyone a good Holiday Season.
Mayor Goedde and Wade Ferris both thanked the staff and individuals for all the hard work this year.
At the end of the Lake Chelan School District’s Tuesday, December 8, board meeting, Superintendent Barry DePaoli brought up Senate Bill 5395 – Comprehensive Sexual Health Education. This is a bill that has created a lot negative discussion amongst parents and DePaoli wanted to take the time to update the board and those who joined Tuesday’s Zoom meeting.
Stating that OSPI (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) has been working hard on this issue, DePaoli stated that the School District does have a curriculum in place. “There are no discussions involving sex,” said DePaoli. “These curriculums have been in place for a long time.”
He stated that the District should look at upgrading its curriculum, but that the District has a lot of latitude in doing so. He also made it clear that parents can opt out of this program and that the District has to put the curriculum on its website.
In addition, the District will have a committee to help update its curriculum.
Board Member Lynda Foster said, “Thank you for clearing up the mud. I know it is a big topic and I want to be a part of the committee.”
DePaoli responded, “I will be messaging parents before we meet. It is an important topic.”
In other business:
K.C. Knudson. Director of Teaching gave a report on ongoing educational activities at MOE, the Middle School and High School. He gave shout outs to each and every team that are working on providing student education. “The staff is doing some powerful work with their kids,” said Knudson. “You have to teach a lot with a limited amount of time. The teachers are making use of that time.”
He especially noted the Migrant team who he says are some of the most caring and committed group of individuals he has worked with. In addition, he stated that the English teams from Kindergarten to the Seniors are continuing to do excellent work. He gave a special shout out to Sarah Clarke who is developing essential services for special needs students.
Knudson stated that the Para Educators are doing an amazing job, and are meeting every Wednesday to continue their professional skills. “Sometimes they are the unsung heroes in your system.” He also mentioned Frank Phelps and Kathy Stimpson who are working hard on the online learning system and trying to gauge how effective that program is.
Special Education’s Sarah Clarke reported that the team is looking at what the barriers to the District’s students learning is. “We find ourselves in a unique situation now.”
Homeless issues are one of the areas being worked on. Board member Agustin Benagas asked what she considers homeless. She replied that homes which are doubled up or living in substandard housing like mobile homes. Benagas thanked her and mentioned that he grew up in a mobile home with 10 others.
The District has a system in place that FLAGS disturbing keywords from students and Clarke said they are seeing a disturbing trend of keywords from students. MOE Principal Erin Morin explained that the system searches for inappropriate words and she has seen an increase of these types of keywords pop up in the fourth and fifth grades, i.e. seeking suicide counseling, or depression comments, and an up tick in self harm.
Suicide has increased 1.5 times for kids from 10 to 19 in rural areas over urban areas reported Morin. “We have more kids in crisis. COVID has had a huge impact on mental and social health.”
Clarke added that “We know how complex this problem is.”
Middle School Principal Brian Wood reported that 33 students in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades have opted to remain in a remote learning system. “We are trying to develop a network with these kids,” said Wood.
In school attendance has been fairly consistent with 93 to 97 percent on a daily basis. “We are excited to see attendance so high.”
Jeff Fehr, board chair, asked about safety protocols and Wood replied that masks are mandatory and the kids are maintaining six feet separation. “We are constantly reminding kids to stay six feet apart.”
Wood also said that students were allowed to go to the bathroom during class as opposed to between classes. They are also not using lockers but carrying everything in their backpacks. They are following cleanliness guidelines like cleaning their desks. “A lot of things are going well.”
High School Principal Brad Wilson reported that 38 high school students from 9th through 12th grade have decided to stay online. “We are looking forward to next week,” said Wilson. High School students will be returning to in-classroom instruction on Monday, December 14.
DePaoli thanked them for their reports. “There is a lot of work going on with logistics,” he said. “There is a lot of proactive planning. I’ve been watching the middle school and the kids are excited to be back.”
DePaoli said that Dr. Butler, Chelan-Douglas Health District, visited Cashmere High School and was impressed with how the schools seem to be the safest place for kids.
The high school students will have six days to get accustomed to being back on campus before the Christmas/New Year break.
Mike Kaputa, Chairman of the Lake Chelan Watershed Planning Unit (Director of Chelan County’s Natural Resources Division) and Phil Long, Lake Chelan Research Institute gave a presentation to Chelan City Council members during a City Workshop on Tuesday, December 1.
The City is entering into its last year of an agreed five year $20,000 per year support of continued Lake Chelan water quality studies and efforts to keep the lake ultra-oligotrophic.
Kaputa went over the Planning Unit’s efforts to process water rights that have been sitting on the Department of Ecology’s desks for years. “Ecology is moving forward with water rights processing,” said Kaputa. He added that there isn’t much water available but that the Planning Unit is developing solutions with water supply issues. The County recently purchased 73 acre feet/year (afy) of water rights from Bear Mountain Water District at a cost of $365,000.
The Lake Chelan Valley holds 65,000 afy for existing and future domestic and irrigation uses in the basin. In 1992 an agreement between the PUD and Ecology affirmed the 65,000 afy reserve for non-project purposes. The additional 73 acre feet purchased is enough water right to serve the needs of residents who have been drawing water from the lake without a right.
The amount of water available for non-PUD purposes is approximately 6,000 acre feet. As of 2017, more than 150 applications were on file at Ecology for new surface and groundwater permits in the Lake Chelan Basin. Ecology permits water rights on a first come-first serve, so those applications that have been sitting on Ecology’s desk are permitted by the oldest date applied for.
While the water rights program is moving forward, Kaputa told the Council that the Planning Unit has conducted a Risk Assessment of Aquatic Invasive Species. “Lake Chelan is at high risk (for invasive species) because of the number of boats coming to the lake,” said Kaputa.
In conjunction with the invasive species issue, the National Park Service is funding a mobile watercraft inspection program beginning in 2022. This will include hiring staff and training them. The program will be modeled after the successful Lake Whatcom program.
Lake Chelan State Park will be putting a mobile watercraft cleaning unit in to move the program forward.
The Keep It Blue program is being designed to inform and educate the public about Lake Chelan Water Quality issues through social media and a website. “There will be a presentation next week at our quarterly meeting,” said Kaputa. The virtual meeting will take place beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, December 9. “You will probably see more about the Keep It Blue effort in the future.”
Lake Chelan is the third deepest lake in the United States behind Lake Tahoe and Crater Lake. According to Phil Long – Lake Chelan Research Institute, no one has seen the bottom of the lake.
Kaputa thanked the Council for the City’s support. “We are in year four of the five year commitment.” The City’s $20,000 is the largest amount of funding received to carry out the work of the Planning Unit. Other contributors include the Lake Chelan Reclamation District – $10,000; Chelan County – $10,000; Cascadia Conservation District – $5,000; and Chelan County PUD – $5,000 to equal a total of $50,000.
Kaputa told the Council that the City funding really helped to leverage the program, but added that the other funding was prioritized first and the Planning Unit has not had to utilize all of the funding. “We are spending in the range of $13,000 to $15,000 a year,” stated Kaputa.
Other support has come from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation – $5,000 in-kind laboratory support; U.S. Forest Service – $3,000 in-kind boating support; Clean Boating Program, Washington State Parks/Sunset Marina for the purchase of a multiparameter probe; and the Lake Chelan Recreation Foundation who accepts private donations allowing the Unit to purchase miscellaneous sampling equipment and expenses incurred on water quality data collection operations.
Phil Long – Lake Chelan Research Institute described the ongoing data collection program. “From 2007 to 2016 there were no studies or data collected,” said Long. “We don’t want that to ever happen again.” He added that 2021 will be the fifth year under the current funding to collect water quality data. “We are looking forward to what happens after year five.”
Long described the secchi disk data that has been collected and shows that water clarity is pretty consistent with data that was collected prior to 2007 when Phil and John Madden did the secchic disk clarity measurements. “I thing we are in pretty good shape with water clarity.”
Most of the data collected has been from sampling stations in the middle of the lake, but Long stated that an emerging issue is the increasing algae growth along the shoreline. The Institute has paid little attention to the shoreline ecology and the changes taking place. “Many people have seen an increase in green algae along the shoreline,” stated Long.
One of the locations being investigated is at the outfall from Purtteman Creek just east of Rocky Point and also at Mill Bay where the Reclamation District is taking samples. “We’ve got some numbers,” said Long. Purtteman Creek has the highest rate of phosphorus input in the lower basin. However, phosphorus can also come from natural sources.
Lake Chelan Research Institute’s Phil Longcollected algae samples on the beach at the PUD Micro Park adjacent to the Chelan Ranger Station.
Mill Bay has an area of erosion on the shoreline which is contributing to water turbidity. “We are looking into erosion control methods.”
Increasing presence of milfoil and its possible removal is being looked. Long suggested that diver assisted suction hose (airlift) could be used to remove the plants. Mayor Bob Goedde asked about a chemical program the PUD used in the Columbia River. Long said he wasn’t sure what chemical they used but that a chemical ProcellaCOR has proven very effective in small quantities. However, he added that since the City takes its domestic water from the lake, one has to be careful about using any chemicals.
Long told the Council that Dwane Van Epps (past city public works director) is working on a tool to collect water temperatures and electrical connectivity data from the Lady of the Lake which will add to the set of data already being collected.
For more information on Lake Chelan Water Quality issues check this website out: