Sheriff and staff deliver quarterly report to City Council

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by Richard Uhlhorn

On Saturday, April 6, Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett, Undersheriff Mathews, Chief of Special Operations Reinfeld and Sgt Forman sat down at a Special City Council Strategic Retreat to give a quarterly report on law enforcement activity in Chelan, a discussion on the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and marine patrol operations


Sheriff Brian Burnett (center) and Undersheriff Matthews (left) and Chief of Special Operations Reinfeld answered questions and presented the Sheriff’s quarterly report to City Council.

Sgt. Foreman started the discussion off by remarking that February and March are a slow time in the community and that the department was being pro-active in patrolling empty homes on the lake.


Sgt. Chris Foreman

Councilwoman Erin McCardle stated that she has heard there are more traffic stops being made. Residents are asking are they safe to drive, or are they going to be pulled over. Councilman Tim Hollingsworth added that deputies hiding behind a bush generates a feeling of harassment. Apparently, a number of people are pulled over and then given a field sobriety test but coming out normal.

Sgt. Chris Foreman said if a person isn’t driving normal they will be stopped. He remarked that with more wineries in the valley that even if a person says they are a designated driver, the deputies are going to do due diligence. “Sometimes they will lie to us… they’ve been drinking too,” said Foreman.


Sheriff Brian Burnett

Sheriff Burnett stated that when he was patrolling and he had a reason to pull someone over that he wanted to make sure that if they are going to drive away, “I want to be sure they are not impaired. It’s a liability.” Burnett added that there was a high awareness at night to keep the highways safe in a professional manner.

Driving under the influence is up with most of those arrested coming from Senor Frogs. In February and March there were 78 traffic violations in the City. Hollingsworth remarked that he would love to see slow rolling sheriff’s rigs patrolling the neighborhoods. “We would all love that.”

With respect to Memorial Day, Special Operations Chief Reinfeld stated that the law enforcement schedule would be the same as it has been with plenty of presence in Don Morse Park where there is obvious drinking going on. “We just try to keep the peace.” The last thing the Sheriff’s Department wants is a problem where everything is alcohol fueled.


Councilwoman Erin McCardle

McCardle asked if Memorial Day was better than in the past. Matthews replied that if was definitely better. “We are seeing more families.” Sheriff Burnett added that it has pretty much changed from a college party to a family oriented weekend.

With respect to the Marine Patrol operations, Sheriff Burnett stated that 75 percent of marine patrol operations in the County is conducted in the lower basin of Lake Chelan.


Councilman Tim Hollingsworth

Hollingsworth said the City had talked about imposing additional fees on rental watercraft to help fund marine patrol activities in the City. “It is a discussion we need to talk about.”


Councilman Ty Witt

Councilman Ty Witt asked what the City was paying for Marine Patrol services and Burnett replied that the Sheriff’s Department provides those services at no cost to the City.

Hollingsworth asked if it was possible to have one more marine patrol officer on duty within the City at all times. Mayor Mike Cooney asked if the Chelan Fire & Rescue boat was a welcome addition. Foreman replied that the department will be able to work with them. “We still have to respond to incidents. There is certain criteria we have to follow.” Burnett added that a deputy in a car could join the Fire & Rescue boat if required. Reinfeld stated that three more deputies were being certified for marine patrol. “Having more people certified would help,” said Hollingsworth.

Mayor Cooney asked how closely the department interacts with the rental companies. Sgt. Foreman said they not only track them but work closely with the rental companies.

Currently, the Marine Patrol in on the lake from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Mayor Cooney brought up the City’s expectations. “I’ve had many conversations about the sheer number of traffic stops doubling…. DUIs doubling. I’m on your side, but I’ve heard the same comments that other council people are hearing.”

Cooney said the message was for more policing downtown with deputies out of their vehicles and walking. Matthews replied that Call for Service takes priority, traffic enforcement comes second and community oriented policing is third. “What we don’t want is two hour breaks at Starbucks.” He said he wants deputies at sporting events and more patrols at night.

Sheriff Burnett added, “It is your city! We want to serve you well.” He added, “How can we constructively work with the City but do what we have to. I want you to know we are listening.”

McCardle stated that the community is feeling more of the traffic stops. “The grumbling gets a little louder each time… it is uncomfortable. There needs to be a balance between the stops.” Councilwoman Kelly Allen said, “We need more of a community spirit.”

Foreman stated that the number of places that are serving alcohol is going up and DUIs are going to go up also. Burnett added that the School Resource officer would be plugged in as soon as school was over.

Mayor Cooney asked how the Department handles immigration. Matthews replied that it wasn’t the Departments job. “We do not enforce immigration,” he said. Burnett added, “We don’t even have the ability to run them.” Foreman added, “We don’t even ask (if they are legal).”

The offered council or anyone else that would like to ride with a deputy for a shift to ask.

Chelan Fire District to hold Town Hall on Tuesday evening, April 16



by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan Fire and Rescue Commissioners held a long term planning meeting on Thursday, March 28, to discuss a number of long term issues facing the District.

The major decision for the residents within the District boundaries is to hold a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, April 16, at the Senior Community Center (if available). This meeting will, in essence, give the public a chance to learn more about the District’s issues including:

  • Staffing
  • Finance
  • Apparatus
  • Succession Plans

Commissioner Phil Moller brought up the idea of holding a Town Hall meeting. Commissioner Jay Witherbee said, “I don’t even know if there is a group that will show up… we might end up with an empty room.” Chairman Russ Jones stated that there is a lot of interest in the District, and its workings.


Commissioner Phil Moller

City Councilman Ray Dobbs was present and told the commission that he feels the District, like the City Council, mostly work in a “closed circle.”


City Councilman Ray Dobbs attended the  District’s planning meeting and encouraged the Commissioners to be transparent with District residents.

“At City Council we are trying to get the community involved with what we are doing,” said Dobbs. “A Town Hall gives you the chance to go outside of that circle.” One of Dobbs’ biggest issues at the Council level is to get information out to the public so they know what is going on.

Witherbee said a Town Hall would give the District a chance to share its Succession Plan and the reason for it.


Commissioner Jay Witherbee

Jones said that the District would most likely be seeking a bond levy in 2022 for a number of reasons. Chief Tim Lemon, who is retiring at the end of this year, said the District will lose $220,000 at the end of 2021. “We will drop down to one chief and there will be different responsibilities for the staff.”

Witherbee said the public meeting should share a budgetary Spread Sheet with the public so they know where the District stands financially in the future. Jones added that it would be a good idea to have a discussion with the public about funding. Moller added that the District needs to be transparent and at least give the Public an opportunity to chime in.

Witherbee said the District should adopt a budget for 2019/20/21. “I don’t think we can demonstrate to the citizens of where we are,” said Witherbee.


Commission Chairman Russ Jones

Jones stated that if the District doesn’t have additional funding it will have to cut personnel. “We truly need a long range plan.” Witherbee replied, “We really need to demonstrate to the community where we are going.”

The District is growing. Each career firefighter costs the taxpayer $.05 cents/thousand to cover salary and benefits. Add in funding to replace aging apparatus and miscellaneous dollars to generate $500,000 would cost the taxpayer approximately $.20 cents/thousand.

“That’s a conversation I’d like to start with the community,” said Jones. Moller added that the District has a compelling story to tell.

Jones stated that most taxpayers don’t understand the District can only increase its funding by one percent and despite growing property values, that one percent by law to the District does not increase like it does at the School District or in the City coffers. “We don’t’ get increased revenue,” said Jones.

Regarding the potential of one chief, Moller said, “I would hate to see us go backwards and have only one chief. Assistant Chief Brandon Asher who is being paid through a Safer Grant stated that dropping back to one chief scares him.


Assistant Chief Brandon Asher (center)

Currently, with Lemon retiring, the Chief’s position is up for grabs with Deputy Chief Mark Donnell has thrown his hat in the ring to replace Lemon. The Commission’s desire is to hire within because it makes sense to continue with someone familiar with the District’s operation instead of spending money to recruit outside of the District.

Chief Lemon said he would like to see Asher retained along with Donnel. Regarding recruiting, Lemon stated it would cost the District $20,000 to $24,000 to a recruiting agency. “How much time and money do we spend,” he asked. “Also, a new person coming in would be a change and disruption. I have full confidence in those two guys.”

“Do we have candidates inside that are interested,” asked Moller. “I haven’t heard.”


Deputy Chief Mark Donnell has declared his interest in becoming the new Chief of the District when Lemon retires.

Donnell said, “I am the candidate.” He also stated that a new outsider would take up to nine months to get up to speed. “We have a qualified staff.” Donnell added that the idea of a succession plan is nice, but not everyone is going to be happy with it.


Chief Tim Lemon 

The Chief shared the District’s methodology regarding apparatus. “We have a rating sheet based on use, mileage and age,” said Lemon. Moller asked about putting money aside so funds are available when new equipment is needed. Jones stated the District should put $20,000 into an apparatus account each year. “That’s the current plan.”

Lemon said the District has done well with its apparatus. “Some is new, some are new build outs and some are used with low miles,” said Lemon. “We need to make sure they (staff) have the right tools.”

The April 16 meeting will allow the community to learn more about the District and its needs, and will be able to ask questions.


City to hold Strategic Planning Retreat

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By Richard Uhlhorn


Chelan City Council will meet in special session beginning at 9:00 a.m. on April 6, 2019 in Council Chambers at 135 E Johnson Avenue in Chelan, Washington. The purpose of this Strategic Planning Retreat is to discuss: 1) Legislative Update, 2) City Hall and Public Works Workspace Study, 3) Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Report, 4) .1% Sales Tax for Affordable Housing, 5) 2020 Capital Project Priorities, 6) Brainstorming Session. No action will be taken. Please note, the retreat is for Councilmembers and public input will only be taken up on Council’s approval.

At the March 27th City Council meeting Richard Watson was recognized by Mayor Mike Cooney and the Council for his dedication to Community Service. Watson has worked with Chelan Valley Hope for the past 10 years and Mayor Cooney stated that at their recent dinner, CVH “showed Chelan at its very, very best.”


Rich Watson (right) was honored at the March 27 City Council meeting for his 10 years of community service.

Before retiring and becoming involved in community service, Watson was a banker. Over the years, he has worked with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, the Lake Chelan Hospital Foundation, Lake Chelan Ski Club, round tables at the Community Center and was one of the first people to help Chelan Valley Hope get started.

Watson is a member of Rotary and helped develop and construct Rotary Park and has worked with the Columbia Valley Health Board.

“I appreciate the recognition,” said Watson who also stated that he didn’t get into community service to be recognized, but to help the community


Dani Kroll, board member of the Chelan Bach Fest presented the City Council with a plan to improve Chelan’s Riverwalk Pavilion with new acoustic panels by September, 2019 and to help increase scheduled events by
10 percent by August, 2020

Prior to the special presentations that also included the new North Shore Interceptor Sewer Agreement with the Lake Chelan Reclamation District (LCRD), Bach Fest Board Member, Dani Kroll spoke to the Council about a plan to improve Chelan’s Riverwalk Park’s pavilion’s acoustic and visual environment for performing art events by installing 10 durable, safe and easy to use wall panels by September.

The plan for the Pavilion is to increase the number of scheduled events by August, 2020 by 10 percent and establish a capital reserve fund for panel maintenance and replacement through a $50 per event use of the panels.

The cost for the acoustic panel project is $42,500 and Kroll said, “We have raised almost half of that.”


Public Works Director Jake Youngren

Regarding the North Shore Interceptor Agreement, Jake Youngren told the Council that the two agencies needed a new agreement for over 14 years. He talked about the pro-rated share of costs and the LCRD will pay the City 22 percent of the total cost of sewer treatment. “The agreement is pretty lengthy, but we feel really good about it,” said Youngren. The new agreement also has language to begin a joint odor control program.

Councilman Ray Dobbs asked about Manson’s Hookup Fees. LCRD Manager Rod Anderson said, “I think we are close (to Chelan) but hookup fees are lower. We are looking at ramping them up.”


Councilman Ty Witt

Councilman Ty Witt asked how the City audits the sewer flows. Youngren replied that both agencies have flow meters installed along with data logs. Witt stated that if the numbers on flow are the same everyone is happy.

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Under motion considerations the Council heard from Planning Director Gildroy on the 2019 Comprehensive Plan and Development Amendments. “We are planning on developing a work plan and process all at one time,” said Gildroy. “The proposals haven’t been fully developed yet.”

The amendments will include changes or proposals on the following:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Wildfire
  • Boat and Slip usage
  • Lead/Arsenic which Gildroy says the City is still working with the Department of Ecology on.
  • The Northshore Pathway.

Gildroy told the Council that the Chelan Planning Commission was seeking approval of this year’s work plan. “We think it is a realistic plan for this year,” said Gildroy.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth asked about the Public Works Development Standards. Gildroy said he hadn’t seen them yet. Dobbs remarked that the City is working on developing a set of standards.

Gildroy also mentioned the Lead/Arsenic issue and told the Council that he wasn’t willing to raise the SEPA Threshold until the DOE is complete with its studies.

Dobbs stated that the Public needs to know early and participate in the process.


City Administrator Mike Jackson

City Administrator Mike Jackson brought forth an agenda bill to revise the City’s Regular Meetings to include the bi-weekly special workshops to a regular meeting basis thus eliminating the need to publically announce them within the 24 hour notice period required. “We have had the entire council meeting once a month for the past two years and it has worked well.”

Past Councilmember and candidate for Mayor Stan Morse stated that people would not be able to attend these public meetings if they took place during the work day. He suggested that they move the time to after work hours so residents could attend if they wished. Mayor Cooney replied that the they would take his suggestion and discuss it.

The City Administrator Mike Jackson told the Council that since the construction of the roundabout at No-See-Um Road intersection was done by the Washington State Department of Transportation, that the City’s cost was much less than what was assumed in 2006 when they established a cost reimbursement benefit area for new developments in the area. For that reason he recommends establishing new reimbursement amount based on the actual cost incurred by the City. “It’s a piece of business that affects a lot of people and Benefit areas can be ambiguous.”

“We saved these developers a lot of money. They would be on the hook for all of it (otherwise),” said Jackson. Clint Campbell remarked that he and Jake (Youngren) were going to have a meeting of the mind before the next council meeting before the Council decides on an amount.

The Food Truck idea is still being proposed adjacent to the sailboat storage area in Lakeshore Marina. “The concept is to bring in a variety of food not currently available,” said Jackson. According to Jackson the intent is not to duplicate food currently available but to expand food choices and add more color and variety to the City.

He asked the Council to bring back their thoughts about this concept, stating it would be operated on a day to day basis for x-number of dollars. There would be no music allowed and the City would be responsible for garbage/recycle removal.

Jackson said he had talked with several restaurants but hadn’t talked to the Park Concessionaire about the concept. (At a later date, Erin McCardle said she had talked to the Concessionaire who was against the idea).


Amy Mack, new Owner/Operator of the Lakeview Drive-In.

Amy Mack, new owner/manager of the Lakeview Drive-In told the Council that she had questions. “I haven’t been in the Drive-In for a full summer. This could be a really strong issue for us.” She also wondered what Tony Race at Chelan Market has to say about it. Chelan Market has a thriving deli business. Not only would it be completion, but parking could also be an issue for Mack.

She said Company Creek Pizza is also concerned about the parking issue. Mack said there are very few bathroom options and that needs to be considered.

Jackson replied that there would be a whole list of requirements for this operation including insurance, references and quality. “We may not get into it,” stated Jackson. “There is a lot of opportunity when you look at that park. It would bring some excitement.”


Councilman Tim Hollingsworth

Hollingsworth said that the positive side is that it would be a go to place. “I see the potential.”


Councilwoman Kelly Allen

Councilwoman Kelly Allen brought up the garbage issue. “Who in the City is going to be taking care of the garbage,” she asked. Allen said that the garbage at her place of business is always overflowing. “What is the plan for this.” Jackson replied that the City would develop a management plan for those contingencies.


Councilman Ty Witt

Witt stated that there were three to four weekends over the summer when the restaurants were overloaded. Dobbs suggested $100 a day or $350 per week. Hollingsworth feels that a trial basis would be good. Allen said, “I’m in no rush.” Mayor Cooney stated that it would be done right.


Councilman Ray Dobbs

During Council Comments, Ray Dobbs said that LINK will begin running a trolley between Wal-Mart and Lakeside beginning on July 4 to get people out of their cars.

The City will be holding a City Council Strategic Retreat on Saturday, April 6, beginning at 9 a.m. in Council Chambers.

The next City Council meeting is on April 9 at 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.

Manson Community Council reviews its Comprehensive Plan for the County

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Manson’s Community Council held its monthly meeting on March 19.

Justin Erickson, Managing Director of the PUD’s District Services, was on hand to present the PUD’s vision for a new Service Center. “We are looking at what the best long term value is for our customers,” said Erickson.

The PUD has purchased property at Olds Station and plans on moving its entire operation to that location. “It is large enough to consolidate all of our services in one location,” stated Erickson.

The decision to move out of its current headquarters in Wenatchee is seeking what is best for its customer/owners and its 800 employees. The Wenatchee headquarters has never been a particularly inviting place for customers to visit. Parking has been an issue and the reception area is not inviting either. Erickson remarked that the plan for the new headquarters was to have a place where customers feel welcome.

The PUD had already received 400 comment on-line about the plan. “Some of the concerns for the Wenatchee community is how the relocation will affect downtown Wenatchee,” Erickson told the Council. “We are very cognizant of that issue and are working with the City of Wenatchee and the Port of Chelan County.”

The PUD sees its Wenatchee property as a perfect location for redevelopment in the downtown core. “We are responding to all the comments we’ve received and encourage you to attend open houses to learn more.”

Vice Chairwoman Kari Sorenson asked what the statutory limitations of the property is. Erickson replied that the PUD can’t give public money but said there were things the PUD can do to help redevelop. “We can’t simply give the building away.”


Vice Chair Kari Sorenson

Chairman Chris Willoughby asked if the PUD expected to increase customer rates? “Rates are not related to this,” replied Erickson. The relocation will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $124 million dollars and the PUD has put $50 million away for the relocation effort. “Our current debt is $500 million which is the lowest debt the PUD has had in year,” said Erickson.

Asked if the PUD would be moving services out of Chelan, Erickson said they would stay in Chelan and Leavenworth.

After the presentation, the Council discussed the Manson/Chelan County Comprehensive Plan. Willoughby said that Fire Chief Arnold Baker had asked to remove the verbiage regarding Planned Development in the Urban Growth Area because it would create at bunch of loopholes for developers.

Willoughby agreed and the Council voted unanimously to strike that language.

The Council is sending the County language that proposes that a contiguous lot be a buildable space and struck the Planned Development portion.

As for Tourist Planned developments, the Council voted 3-1 to have a 1,000 foot setback from any bordering parcel with noise limiting barriers.

Under new business the Council passed a number of Short Plats and Shoreline Development/Conditional Use Permits.


Chairman Chris Willoughby tendered his resignation at the meeting.

Chairman Chris Willoughby tendered his resignation from the Council with April being his last meeting. “I agreed to do a six month stint and that is coming up.” Willoughby stated that he had too many commitments and conflicts coming up to continue, but that he had learned a lot over the past six months. “If anyone has a question, I’m available. It has been fun and interesting.”

The Council is seeking new council members.

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The Manson Community Council meets every third Wednesday of the Month at 6 p.m. in the Manson Parks and Recreation Building. The public is encouraged to attend.


Port of Chelan County to purchase Kelly Property

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by Richard Uhlhorn

City Council meetings can be interesting, and sometimes very revealing about the council’s, mayor’s and administrator’s mind set. The recent Council meeting on March 12 was one such meeting.

The big question going into the Tuesday, March 12 meeting was how the Council would vote on the acquisition of the Kelly Trust property at the airport. A little background is necessary to set the stage.

On October 23, the Council and members of the Port of Chelan County met to discuss this acquisition. The price is $294,000 and the Port told the Council that it would finance the purchase with the City paying it back over a five year period at 2.5% interest. No action was taken.

On November 6, the Council moved to provide notice to the property owner that the City intended to exercise its Right of First Refusal and make a bona-fide offer, execute all documents necessary. The motion passed with both Councilmembers Erin McCardle and Ray Dobbs voting Nay.

The City Administrator and the City Attorney continued to work with the Port to seek information and develop an Interlocal Agreement. On March 12 a copy of proposed Interlocal agreement with the Port has been attached to the Council’s agenda bill.

Mayor Mike Cooney stated that City Administrator Mike Jackson has been working on the issue non-stop and “has reached an agreement (with the Port) we can all be happy with.”

In the final agreement, the Port will purchase the property outright with a sunset clause to turn the property over to the Chelan Airport no later than January 1, 2035. In the meantime, the Port will clean the property up and make the property into an expanded enhanced storage facility that they will operate, hopefully at a profit.


City Attorney Quentin Batjar

“The will take all the revenue from that,” said City Attorney Quentin Batjar. Also, it the Port decides to get out of the agreement before the sunset clause, the City has the Right of First Refusal. “They are not thinking about getting out,” said Mayor Cooney.


Mayor Mike Cooney

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said that this long term development by the Port is doing what its mission is. “It seems like a good division of labor between Chelan and the Port.”


Councilman Tim Hollingsworth

McCardle stated that there was a private entity that had made an offer on the property and that the Port wanted it for economic development.

“It serves our purposes,” said Jackson. “The basis of the agreement is to give the property back to the Airport. They think they can recover their costs.”

The Council’s major heartache on the purchase was taking money from the City’s General Fund which would, in turn, take away from some other City project on the books.

So, what started out as a City/Port acquisition, has turned into a Port acquisition with a sunset clause that will have the Airport gaining control of the property in 15 years. Not a bad outcome for the Port or the City, if the Port passes its resolution to go forward at its Tuesday, April 19 meeting.

In other business:

With all the talk about the dangers of egress and ingress adjacent to Chelan High School and adjacent intersections, Councilman Ray Dobbs and his grandson, seventh grader Charlie Morgan gave a special presentation on the only exit from South Chelan at Farnham St. and Hwy. 97A.


Councilman Ray Dobbs and his grandson, Charlie Morgan gave a special presentation to the City Council regarding the only outlet from South Chelan and suggested a small round-about be installed to help traffic flow.

Dobbs and his grandson walked the South Chelan neighborhood and ascertained that there were up to 700 to over 1,000 people living there in the 234 residential units counted. “That’s a quarter of the population of Chelan,” said Dobbs.

They both feel that it is a dangerous situation because of the one-way change into Chelan that is now forcing more and more traffic to leave town over the new bridge.

Both feel that the City and State should be looking at installing a small roundabout at the Farnham intersection, “so the people on Farnham have an equal opportunity.”

When asked about an alternative exit, Planning Director Craig Gildroy said that they were looking at secondary access during the Holiday Hills development.

During the Council Comments several items of interest to the community came out.

Councilwoman Wendy Isenhart said that the Arts Council is looking for art work which will be displayed in the Library and then in the park during the Arts in the Park weekend.

Councilman Ray Dobbs mentioned that the City Crews jumped on a water leak in his neighborhood and got it covered quickly. “Nice work you guys.”


Councilman Ty Witt

Councilman Ty Witt said the Century Challenge staging area will be moved to the PUD Park by the High School to alleviate issues at Don Morse Park.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said the Town Hall meeting on wildfire brought awareness to the community about the need to prepare the 2019 fire season.

Councilman Cervando Robelia said he was organizing an open house for the Hispanic Community on Affordable Housing.

It was also mentioned that the kids would be out cleaning the town in preparation for Earth Day. Mayor Cooney said that 800 cubic yards of material are collected each year for recycling.

Mayor Cooney wanted to dispel a rumor that the only reason he wants to buy the Butte is to develop it. “It will be turned into a conservation easement,” said Cooney. “It will never be developed.” However there is an idea of using 40 acres at the Far East end as a potential affordable housing area.

City Administrator Mike Jackson brought up the subject of potentially having food trucks parked on the old Bumper Boat Pad as an additional revenue source for the city and another attraction for visitors.

“This would not displace the boats,” said Jackson. “I’m trying to see if we can get some takers.” Jackson handed out a Request for a Proposals at the Lakeshore Marina.

The food truck business is a $250 million dollar enterprise in larger Cities. Jackson’s proposal outlined the City’s thoughts on how it would be handled. Food trucks would, if approved by the Council be allowed to operate from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

This proposal started the obvious conversation.

Councilwoman Erin McCardle

McCardle asked about the longstanding businesses in the area. “My concern is the impact this would have on local businesses,” she said.

Jackson said each vendor would have only 30 days to operate. “It is not meant to give them a permanent location.”

Hollingsworth felt that it could have an impact on the Lakeview Drive-in. “They only have three or four months to make money,” said Hollingsworth. “I do get the appeal of it,” he added.

Former council member and candidate for Mayor, Stan Morse added that the Lakeside area has no real option for food. Why not find a place there.

Not sure this idea was dead on arrival or not, but it is an interesting concept.

The next City Council meeting is on Tuesday, March 26. The public is encouraged to attend.

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City Council to decide on Kelly property purchase at March 12 meeting

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by Richard Uhlhorn

The proposed purchase of Gene Kelly’s three acre parcel adjacent to the Chelan Airport all comes down to a City Council vote on Tuesday evening, March 12.

The Council was presented with three options at a Special Council meeting on Tuesday, March 5.

  1. Walk Away;
  2. Port will only support the purchase if the City Council supports it; and
  3. Continue forward with the proposed 50/50 partnership using the City’s General Fund which has already been approved by the Port of Chelan County

The proposal to purchase the Kelly property for $294,000 is based on the City’s Right-of-First-Refusal. The Port agreed to front the $294,000 if the City will agree to pay its half back over a five year period at 2.5 percent interest.

While both parties feel it is a good purchase, the Council is having second thoughts, primarily about using the City’s General Fund to pay back the Port loan.

City Administrator Mike Jackson told the Council that utilizing General Funds from the City budget will take away from other capital projects the City has planned.

At the March 5 meeting, Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said, “I’m just a little uncomfortable using general funds. What is the short term benefit to the City.” He also remarked that there is no water available to the property. “Let the Port run with it. The Port may manage it more effectively.”

Both Kelly Allen and Tim Hollingsworth are skeptical of using the City’s General Funds to help purchase the Kelly property at the airport.

Councilwoman Kelly Allen said, “They want to defer to us… whatever we are comfortable with.” Mayor Cooney added that the Port has said that if the City doesn’t want the property, they would purchase it.

An extension to the purchase was mentioned by City Attorney Quentin Batjar who called Kelly’s real estate agent who replied they were not interested in extending the deal.

Hollingsworth said, “I’m skeptical of spending $150,000 and am not prepared to make that commitment.”

Mayor Cooney at the City Council meeting on February 26 stated that he didn’t see where the purchase would ever benefit the citizens or the airport. Jackson added that the City still hasn’t solved the water issue which will cost around $7 million. “We will have to discuss this the March 12 meeting,” said Jackson. The City has to make a decision prior to March 15.

It will all come to a head at the Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting when the Council will once again discuss and come to a decision regarding the property.

Chief Lemon to retire… District faces numerous issues


By Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan County Fire District #7 (Chelan Fire & Rescue) held a special meeting on Thursday, March 6 to disseminate information concerning the department.
Board Chairman Russ Jones announced that Chief Tim Lemon will be retiring at the end of the year. After the meeting, Lemon stated that he had agreed to serve the District for 10 years and that this was the tenth year of his tenure at Fire Chief. “We decided that it was time to enjoy our lives while we are still healthy,” said Lemon.
The District will begin its search for a new chief this coming Fall. “We will get through the summer before addressing that position,” said Lemon. Deputy Chief Donnell’s position is being eliminated at the end of the year, but he will be able to apply for the Chief’s position when it becomes available.


The District has budgeted the funds to replace Administrative Assistant Faye Barker when she retires at the end of March. Jones stated that her position was important enough to move forward with a new hire to fill it. Commissioner Jay Witherbee was not in favor of moving ahead.
“What are our priorities,” asked Witherbee? He is reluctant to hire for the position because the long term planning is not finished and the person who is retained might be let go because of budgetary reasons. “They are people,” said Witherbee. “I take the responsibility of hiring or dismissing someone seriously. I’m not suggesting we eliminate the position, just delaying it for a short while.”
Commissioner Phil Moller agreed with Witherbee, but was willing to go forward with the replacement because of the day to day business that Barker was handling. “So I support replacing that position,” said Moller.
The motion to replace Barker passed with Jones and Moller voting yes and Witherbee voting no.
Staffing issues continue to be discussed and Commissioner Jones stated that the District needs to strategize for two or three years down the road on running any kind of Bond for the department. “My opinion is that in two years we will be ready to go.”
The Safer grand funds that are keeping Chief Brandon Asher employed run out in 2021. His job is recruitment of volunteers for Orondo, Entiat and Chelan.
The District is headed towards a $254,000 shortfall and has zero money for apparatus replacement. Most of the District’s apparatus is 30 years old and in constant need of maintenance. “This is the exact example of what I’m talking about,” said Moller.
Jones stated that the one percent cap placed on the District is a broken funding model. Unlike the School District that sees its revenues go up when property taxes go up, the District is capped and can’t collect more than what the voters gave them in the last levy. “It is what it is,” said Jones, “but we can’t survive this way. It’s going to be tough one.” Jones figures that 2022 will be the earliest the District can go back to the public because of the Hospital and proposed School bond.

“We need to be working on it now so the community knows why we need to get there.”
Jones made a statement at the end of the meeting to the fire fighter personnel at the end of the meeting. “I just want you to know that the notion that the commission meetings are contentious isn’t true… stressful, yes, but not contentious. It is a tougher job than I ever imagined..’
Moller added that he is serving for the community and respecting what the community wants. “I want to do what the community wants us to do,” he said. Witherbee had no comment at the end of the meeting.
Jones said that the District needs to be more active with the other districts. “We need to get around to the other Districts.”