Tonasket council approves crossing bid

TONASKET – The Tonasket City Council approved a bid to install the overhead crossing on Whitcomb Avenue at the North Valley Hospital parking lot crossing at the Tuesday, Oct. 9, city council meeting.

The council received two bids and awarded a bid for about $43,787 to Nepple Electric.

“As disappointed as I am that these are out of town contractors (that provided the only two bids),” said council member Jean Ramsey, “we tried every which way and sideways to get our local guys to do this.”

After Mayor Patrick Plumb pointed out that bid packets had been sent out to local contractors, city clerk Alice Attwood said that she did receive one that couldn’t be considered because it came in after the deadline and in an unsealed envelope.

“Is there something we’re doing that makes it inaccessible?” asked council member Scott Olson.

“I think part of it has to do with the difficulty and intricacy of all the forms,” Attwood said. “The government forms, unless they’ve done it before and are a bigger contractor, most people don’t want to deal with it.”

Attwood also reported that the city will be receiving $61,000 from the Department of Ecology that it hadn’t been expecting that will be applied to a contingency for project funding that will negate the need for the city to take out an additional loan to complete the project.

“They said Tonasket must be a charmed city,” Attwood said. “Someone gave up some money from a forgiveable loan; they turned it in since they didn’t need it.”

The council also approved the extension of a year-to-year lease with Jim and Lois Rice for the property adjacent to the Tonasket Airport. As part of the lease agreement, Rice handles security and Homeland Security calls at the airport.

Also approved were a temporary increase in assistant city superintendent Hugh Jensen’s salary to compensate for the additional work he has taken on in the wake of public works director Bill Pilkinton’s retirement, and approved the hiring Yvonne Kennedy as a temporary police clerk.

There were also public hearings held for the preliminary city budget and to review community development and housing needs in light of a proposed Community Development Block Grant.

The city is requesting funds to help pay for storm water and downtown planning.

There were no public comments during either hearing.

The Tonasket City Council next meets on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 7:00 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.