Oroville will make improvements to Ironwood and Fir

OROVILLE – Oroville will do an overlay of portions of Ironwood and Fir Streets under a state Transportation Improvement Board grant of around $85,000.

The project would do a pavement overlay of Ironwood Street from 12th to the south city limits and Fir Street from 17th to 18th, according to Rod Noel, Superintendent of Public Works.

Although three quotes were sent out to firms on the 2012 TIB Overlay Projects Small Works Roster the city only received one bid, City Clerk Kathy Jones reported at the city council’s Tuesday, Aug. 7 meeting. The bid was received from Granite Construction in the amount of $86,150.68.

“That works out to 77 cents a square foot and the project would take about two days and be done the week of the 22nd,” said Noel. “Although there is an $875 difference in the project budget, I have spoken with Gloria Bennett our TIB agent and she said they would give approval for the difference.

“The reason we are pushing to get the project complete is we want to get it done before school starts.”

Jones also reported on a recent workshop with the EMS Commissioners regarding the proposed formula and revisions to the agreement between the city and the EMS District regarding ambulance service.

“Although everyone that attended the workshop was in full agreement when they left, two days later they said they did not understand the formula and were not going to sign the agreement,” said Jones.

“As I said it looks like they’re still working on it, but it’s going to take a little time,” added Mayor Chuck Spieth.

“We should extend congratulations to (Councilwoman) Neysa Roley, she passed her National EMT test,” said Debra Donahue, Oroville’s Ambulance Coordinator.

Donahue, who teaches the course, added, “I highly recommend you approve her for the ambulance.”

Councilman Tony Koepke made a motion approving Roley for the Oroville Ambulance crew and Councilman Ed Naillon seconded it and it was approved.

The mayor reported that the Okanogan County Public Transportation meeting he was scheduled to attend on July 24 had been cancelled, even though he had not been informed about the cancellation.

“I went to the first meeting and no one wanted to proceed without telling their councils,” said Spieth.

Jones conjectured that apparently the issue of increasing the sales tax to fund the transportation system would not be on the November ballot, because the deadline to get it on the ballot had passed.

The council voted to donate Oroville’s 2009 FAA Non-primary Entitlements of $76,163 to the Grant County International Airport/Port of Moses Lake. Oroville is unable to use the funds at this time, although the Grant County Airport does not intend to donate them back when Oroville has a future project, like Omak Airport agreed to do when Oroville donated to it in the past.

There are available funds for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and the council had a short discussion on how these might be used in the future. Local and state matching money requirements have gone up, added Jones.

Perhaps the biggest project discussed was moving the runway to the east.

“Over the long term we wanted to build up funds to move the runway, but if you think the feds are going to fund that you’re mistaken,” said Noel.

Steve Johnston, Oroville’s Airport Service Manager shared a different take.

“With the feds, those are guidelines, then they come in and look at reality and do what you need,” Johnston said. “We can’t move Eder Mountain, we can’t move Mt. Hull, so what are we going to do?”

“One of the priorities is to purchase land at the end of the runway,” added Jones.

Noel said that these types of projects are something the council needs to consider at budget time.

“All these new rules, you need to decide what direction you intend to go. We’re lucky to have an airport, we’re lucky to have entitlement money, but it is the sort of thing that if you don’t use it you could lose it,” said Noel.

Jones suggested the city update its Capital Improvement Plan.

“The state is no longer going to fund airport projects without an updated plan,” she added.

“We might be able to use entitlement funds to update the Airport Improvement Plan,” said Noel, who added that the city crew would be doing crack sealing at the airport next week.

Johnston said he had been contacted again by the Washington Airport Manager’s Association about joining. Annual dues are $75, plus travel expenses to conferences, he said.

Mayor Spieth said he will consider Johnston’s request.

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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