JoAnn Denney will be new Oroville City Clerk

Water request denied after much discussion

Oro-Council-Denney-1-33SidebarOROVILLE – Councilman Walt Hart, serving as mayor pro tem, announced that JoAnn Denney will be Oroville’s new city clerk/treasurer following the retirement of Kathy Jones at the end of October.

The announcement that Mayor Chuck Spieth had selected Denney was made at the Tuesday, Aug. 5. Oroville City Council meeting to a round of congratulations from the council members, who confirmed her appointment. Denney, a 23-year employee of the city, was on hand as she was taking the minutes that night for the council.

The first order of business was approval of the city’s six-year transportation plan. This plan, a requirement of the state, shows which roads the city would most like to see improved in the next six years. Such a plan is drafted each year and aids a city when they apply for funding for things like paving and overlay projects. However, just because a road is not currently on the plan does not mean that it might be added or taken off as the need arises.

Project Updates

The north end reservoir (right) was recently completed. You can see it here, looking up the new road to the new U.S. Border Patrol station. The reservoir was needed to ensure an adequate water supply for the station and north end customers. Gary DeVon/staff photo

The north end reservoir (right) was recently completed. You can see it here, looking up the new road to the new U.S. Border Patrol station. The reservoir was needed to ensure an adequate water supply for the station and north end customers. Gary DeVon/staff photo

Rod Noel, Superintendent of Public Works, commented on several projects, including the North End Water Reservoir. The reservoir will serve people on the North End Water System, which is located mostly north of Oroville and west of Lake Osoyoos. The city felt it needed to be built if it was going to supply water to the new U.S. Border Patrol Station and much of the funding is coming from the federal government.

“The project is complete and on line. It is functioning well and there are no major issues with the project as a whole, just a few issues that were mostly cosmetic and our crew handled those,” said Noel.

He added that he had forwarded the information to the Border Patrol on cost overruns and problems with the contractor.

“When we get the final costs tallied then we will talk again with the federal government about what they will pay,” said Noel.

Noel also discussed the airport grant.

“The documents have been signed, but we had to go back to have them reprinted because the FFA did not like the heading on them. Apparently the engineer had some title wrong and we had to have them redone and re-signed by the mayor,” said Noel.

Road Products Inc. of Spokane bid $89,323 to do the FAA financed project which will be make repairs to the runway, including crack sealing. The city is also receiving $5339 from the Washington State Aeronautics Airport Aid as a partial match on the project.

About the Central and Cherry Street pavement overlay and waterline project, Noel said there was only one thing remaining on the “punch list” before it could be signed off on as completed. He said the city was waiting for the contractor do the Main Street crossing. He also said the state would be sending someone from the Department of Transportation to check the work that was done regarding the streets.

Mosquito District

Chris Branch, Director of Community Development, discussed the proposed Mosquito District, which would include several of the municipalities in the county, including Oroville, Tonasket, Riverside, Omak and Okanogan.

“We had a public hearing scheduled with the commissioners to get it on the ballot. The fires caused the commissioners to cancel and reschedule for Aug. 26, so we won’t be able to get it on the general election ballot this year,” said Branch.

He also said members of the committee had met with representatives from Grant County who encouraged them to do a more thorough assessment of what would be included in the district and what isn’t. He said that the Grant County district had found that some areas like alfalfa farms had been disregarded, even though they can be breeding grounds for the pests.

“Rather than disease bearing mosquitos, at this point we are mostly concerned with nuisance mosquitos,” said Branch

Water Service Request

After much discussion, a water service application from members of the DeVon family was turned down. Ronnie DeVon and her brother Rocky approached the council with a request to hook on to the end of the water line at Gordon Robert’s property and bring city water up the Oroville-Loomis Road to the house she shares with Don Pickering. Like many of the wells in the area theirs has gone dry, most likely because the irrigation district has abandoned the ditch which used to help refresh area wells.

City Superintendent Noel discussed the problems with allowing the request – he said he normally would make the final decision, but felt he should bring the request before council in this instance. Noel said Robert’s property was served by a very small line, which in turn was part of a 1948 vintage system of lines that serves properties on Summit Drive. Much of the pipe is on private property and the city does not have rights of way to service the line if something goes wrong with it. Noel said he felt the line could not adequately provide enough water because of its small size if another property was added on to it.

Rocky DeVon assured the council that most of the properties served by the system had Oroville-Tonasket Irrigation District water to meet any needs outside of the house.

“Everyone up there has O-T for other water it would only be used for domestic purposes inside the house,” said DeVon.

“The city was not involved in any of the construction of that system which was originally done in 1948, but we have installed meters. It ran out of pressure and the city installed a pump station about 30 years ago, now it is part of the main booster station,” said Noel. “It’s one of those things that evolved over time and pre-dates most of us here. As customers kept adding on there was never enough water pressure.”

Noel recommended that the applicants get together with the other people on that part of the system and see what they can work out, but staff felt that adding on to the line as it was would not be wise for the city.

“If the city was to update that line all the way to Deerpath then we would have to negotiate all those easements. It looks like a capital public works project and big dollars… it may be in the future if the city were to annex those properties,” said Naillon.

Branch pointed out that the city already has substandard lines on the west side of the lake after it took over the North End Water Users system.

“What makes it worse is we have a substandard system on the west side of the lake and on the east side because of the new line we are encouraging standardized construction when people hook up to the main line there,” said Branch. “What we do on Eastlake is when people have property they want to develop we encourage them to get together with others and develop a main line.”

“I think they need to get together with the other parties,” said Councilman Tony Koepke, adding that he felt the city had to deny the request.

After much discussion the council voted to turn down the application.

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 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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