Decision on joining Conservation District postponed until September

Mill Drive will soon be getting new sewer lines tying the area into the Tonasket Wastewater Treatment facility. The area off Seventh Street will also be annexed into the city at a future date. Photo by Gary DeVon

Mill Drive will soon be getting new sewer lines tying the area into the Tonasket Wastewater Treatment facility. The area off Seventh Street will also be annexed into the city at a future date. Photo by Gary DeVon

TONASKET – After a short public comment period about whether or not to join the Okanogan County Conservation District, the Tonasket Council decided to postpone their decision until their Sept. 13 meeting.

The city had scheduled a discussion period on the issue of joining the conservation district before the regular council meeting. Some of the more vocal comments were against joining because membership would mean a fee to property owners of $2.40 for each parcel owned. Bob Clark with the conservation district was also on hand to answer questions.

“There’s no big push for this,” said Councilwoman Jean E. Ramsey at the council’s regular Tuesday, Aug. 9 meeting.

“We did get some input though, there is no reason to rush into joining… I’d be more comfortable with all five council members here to decide,” added Councilman Scott Olson.

The council agreed to ignore a bill from Land Expressions regarding a study done of the Tonasket City Pool at History Park. The company is trying to bill the city over $5000 for what they are describing as work done by Pool World that they had forgotten to include in the original bill.

“I sent the bill to attorney Howe and he sent it back with a note that said we are only obligated to pay the contract amount, if they failed to include money for Pool World in the contract we are not obligated to pay them… we did not retain them,” said Alice Attwood, city clerk-treasurer.

Mayor Patrick Plumb said the city would acknowledge the receipt of the bill and inform Land Expressions the city attorney had looked it over.

“We have met all obligations… if they want any more information I suggest they contact our attorney,” s aid the mayor.

In her council member report, Julianna Griffin spoke about recent efforts to paint over graffiti by herself, Councilwoman Ramsey and other volunteers.

“Those kids hit it out of the park,” Ramsey added.

Griffin said that she had been receiving many questions on the city’s timeline for annexing the Mill Drive area where the sewer line extension is going.

“They want to know if it is going to be this winter or next summer,” she said.

“It has a lot to do with the zoning portion, perhaps (Planner) Kurt Danison will have more information,” said Attwood.

In Councilman Olson’s report, he said he had three issues to discuss. The first was a continued problem with dogs running at large. The second he said was that he had been thanked for the city spraying for mosquitoes, even though the city hadn’t done so. The third was about the pool no longer being open after it closes for the summer.

“We need to get the information out there, rather than just rumors,” Olson said.

At the last council meeting the pool was declared obsolete, this allows the city to not have to pay back monies borrowed to make repairs in the 1990s. The pool, in its current form, will close permanently after this year. The several thousand dollars the city pays each year in operating costs will be saved in a fund to be added to grant money to help build a new pool in the future.

The pool, built in 1948, will close on Aug. 20 as the lifeguards go back to high school or college, according to Griffin.

“Let’s celebrate the life of the pool and not mourn its death,” suggested Ramsey.

Ramsey said the city now has a list of names for all the tree plaques at History Park. She said they honor pioneers of the town from 1883 to 1915.

In her report, Councilwoman Selena Hines said she would like to pursue a program to get bicycle helmets for kids.

Mayor Plumb reported that the Douglas and Chelan County PUDs had been using the briquette method of mosquito control at their parks and were having better success with the organic control than they had with spraying.

“I am going to also send out formal invitations to people to join the Economic and Finance Committee,” said the mayor.

Under new business, the council approved the selection of Varella and Associates for water and sewer system engineering.

Attwood said that the city had been contacted by the Department of Transportation regarding the runway slurry and crack repair project at Tonasket Municipal Airport. The project totals $150,308, with $142,793 coming from the state.

“As long as the public realizes this comes from taxes paid on aviation fuel only,” said Ramsey.

Dale Clarkson made the point, however, that $7515 was coming from the city for matching funds, not aviation fuel taxes.

“I think we get good value from our airport, both through tourism and emergency medical services,” said Olson.

“I think one reason we are getting funds from the state is because of such good city support for the airport and we have a good airport improvement club,” said Mayor Plumb.

A budget workshop is scheduled for Oct. 19 with approval of next year’s budget scheduled for Nov. 22.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are the Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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