Tonasket renews agreement with hospital for MRI Trailer

Police chief concerned about possible closure of juvenile facility

TONASKET – The Tonasket City Council agreed to renew the franchise agreement with North Valley Hospital allowing them the public right of way to locate and operate their Mobile MRI Trailer.

At the Tuesday, March 8 city council meeting, hospital CEO Mike Zwicker asked to have the franchise agreement extended to five years rather than the current two, but council member Jill Vugteveen said she thought it should remain the same due to “ongoing issues with the dumpster and the generator in the right of way.”

Zwicker then asked if the cost of the franchise agreement to the hospital could be reduced from an annual sum of $3,000 to $2,000.

NVH CIO Kelly Cariker said part of the “bump out” space was owned by the PUD. Vugteveen said that was discussed when originally calculating the cost, which is based on parking spaces, and that $3,000 was a fair and equitable price based on square footage of other businesses the city has a franchise with.

Mayor Patrick Plumb advised Zwicker and Cariker they could request a re-evaluation after three years.

Other business

The council approved an interlocal agreement allowing the services of the Oroville and Tonasket Building Inspector to be used by Omak, whose building official is out with an injury.

The council also approved the surplus of old swimming pool items and office equipment from city hall; and they approved paint striping to be done by WSDOT. They also approved the first payment to Moreno and Nelson for the pedestrian bridge project.

In Council Reports, Council Member Jensen Sackman said she was approached by people complaining about pot holes in the road between OK Chevrolet and the Tonasket Post Office.

Plumb said with all the vehicles being washed at the car dealership, the water erodes that road, along with all the traffic on it.

“I could be up there every week fixing that road,” said Hugh Jensen.

Vugteveen asked if the city was required to have that alleyway.

“If not, can’t we sell the property to them and let them maintain it?” she asked.

Plumb said in previous discussions with the car dealership, they said if they owned it they would pave it. He said he would begin negotiations with them if Attwood discovered the city was not required to keep the alleyway.

Vugteveen reported being told Omak was increasing their airport use for fire suppression.

“This is the ideal time to get some money put back into our airport. Omak is seizing the moment and we should too,” said Vugteveen. “Right now all the Hueys they bring up sit at Omak, and I think the Highlands could benefit form having one or two ships staged up here.”

Jensen said he thought he could put in three helicopter pads for $2,500 using local white rock.

“It would benefit our community to have those services provided, including having the pilots stay in our hotels, because I know those guys don’t sleep in tents on the ground,” Vugteveen said.

Council Member Dennis Brown said April 29 will be the city’s Arbor Day.

Council Member Maria Moreno said she heard concerns from people that the sidewalk work being done at the south end of town was causing traffic back ups when people attempted a left hand turn onto Highway 20 from Highway 97. She was assured there was a traffic flagger on site, and he would be asked to keep an eye on it.

“I think they have been doing a great job on the traffic control,” said Jensen.

In Department Head reports, Attwood said she spoke with County Engineer Josh Thompson, who informed her now that the Bonaparte Creek area was annexed into the city, it was the city’s responsibility to have the bridge inspected every two years. She reported the county could do it, at a cost of between $600-$800.

Attwood also presented two different possibilities of loan funds to cover the city’s $250,000 share of the city’s project at Parry’s Acres, which was originally to have come from the reserve fund for sewers. It is to be discussed further at the next council meeting.

Chief of Police Darren Curtis said he would be attending the next meeting of the County Commissioners regarding the Okanogan County Juvenile Detention Facility and the discussion on closing it.

Curtis said the county was considering expanding the facility when contractors were brought in and they discovered nonstructural cracks in the walls.

“The report went to the commissioners, who began considering shutting it down as they think that report red flags the building,” said Curtis, adding, “To contract out to other facilities, the arresting officer would have to drive the juvenile out there. We don’t have the resources to do that, even if we only had to go to Chelan, let alone Medical Lake.”

Curtis said it was still just in a contemplation stage at this point, with all the Police Chiefs requested to attend the March 15 meeting.

Mayor Plumb apologized for language he used at the Feb. 23 council meeting.

“In my passion and my angst I did use language unacceptable to some and I apologize for that,” said Plumb.