New annexation proposal made to Oroville City Council

OROVILLE – David Taber Sr. appeared before the Oroville City Council to request that 2.1 acres east of Highway 97 on the south end of town be annexed into the city.

Taber presented his Notice of Intent to annex the 2.1 acre strip of land adjacent to Bob Neal Road at the Tuesday, Feb. 10 council meeting. He told the council he had received verbal agreement from Paul Schwilke and John Moran that they would not oppose the annexation of their two parcels to the south. Combined the parcels represent less than half an acre, according to Taber.

Taber said he wanted to fence the portion of the property that includes his mini-storage units and wants to do a boundary line adjustment. He says is impossible with property both within and outside the city limits.

After some discussion, the council agreed the proposed annexation should take in the small section of Ninth Avenue lying just north of the Taber parcel and that the property be zoned C-2 as are the adjacent properties.

“The property annexed should also assume their proportional share of any existing city indebtedness,” added Kathy Jones, city clerk-treasurer.

Mayor Chuck Speith asked Community Development Director Chris Branch where the city goes from here.

“We will need to do a little bit of a boundary description and we need to set a meeting for final approval,” said Branch, adding that since the Taber parcel makes up more than 60 percent of the value of the property that he technically doesn’t need approval of the adjacent property owners.

“I know that but it makes sense to do this with everyone’s okay,” said Taber.

Councilman Tony Keopke made a motion to accept the Notice of Intent with the three conditions discussed. Councilman Jon Neal seconded the motion and it was approved.

Jones said the city had received eight bids for the City Hall Expansion and Remodel Project. The lowest bid was from Halme Builders for $907,911 and the highest was from Colville Tribal Services for $1,344,741.

“Apparently the low bidder feels comfortable that he can do the project even though the bid is more than $35,000 less than the next lowest bidder,” said Jones. “We are now having a little trouble with the state as far as the project goes. They wanted to know where our money will come from in 2010. I think they’re concerned about the city’s commitment to making the payments.”

Jones updated the council on the funding process and obstacles encountered and said that until funding from the State Treasurer’s program was assured, any decision to award the bid should be delayed until the next council meeting. This would still meet the requirement of awarding the bid within 30 days of the bid opening, she said.

The city has asked for $1.5 million from the LOCAL (Local Option Capital Asset Lending) Program. According to the State Treasurer’s Web site, “The LOCAL program is an expanded version of the successful state agency lease/purchase program. The program was originally created by the Legislature in 1989 to provide the lowest cost financing for state agency purchases by pooling funding needs into larger offerings of securities. …the Legislature passed legislation in 1998 to provide local governments access to the program. Local government agencies of all types can finance equipment or real estate needs through the State Treasurer’s office subject to existing debt limitations and financial considerations.”

In other business, Branch reported on his discussions with various representatives from the State Parks Department regarding the city’s willingness to explore taking over operations of Lake Osoyoos Veterans Memorial State Park.

“I did make the trek to Olympia to discuss the issue with Larry Farley,” said Branch “The message is clear that we would look at running the park with some stipulations. We have also contacted Sen. Morton and asked that the state run the park until at least 2010. It is also clear from several people we have spoken with that they’re (the state) also building new parks.”

Branch said that he had also visited with Seventh District Reps. Jole Kretz and Shelly Short.

“There is a whole lot of information we have to go over,” said Branch, who presented the council with two worksheets of rough figures regarding the park’s financial information.

The information is incomplete and necessary capital improvements need to be reviewed before the city can make any decisions regarding taking over its operation.

“The State Parks Department is obviously not in business to make money and with Osoyoos State Park it looks like they are in business to spend money. If the city took over operation there would typically be a rider stating that it would stay as a park,” Branch said, adding that he was assured the park would stay open through Labor Day.

Mayor Spieth reported on a telephone conference he and Branch had with the Director and Assistant of the state Department of Licensing, which has also proposed closing the Washington Driver’s License office in Oroville.

They led with a long list of changes they are considering, according to Spieth. These include self-service renewals online with vision testing completed by local physicians; earlier notifications of renewal dates; telephone services upgrades; mobile vans to serve more rural areas; renewal kiosks; extension of central office hours until 7 p.m. and adding Saturday to be more accessible to citizens.

“Their intent is to make the licensing centers they keep into super centers,” Branch said. “The question we thought of was ‘Wow, that’s a lot of stuff, is that going to cut your costs?'”

When the WDL representatives mentioned kiosks the mayor and Branch described all the down time experienced with the state Labor and Industries kiosk already available at city hall.

“Their answers were not very satisfying,” said Mayor Spieth.

“The good thing is some of their ideas sound so ludicrous that they will be easy for us to take to the legislature and ask them to take a good look at them,” Branch said.

Spieth added, “Yes, if they get that info to us it will give us some good ammunition for our argument that they need to keep the Oroville office open.”

Branch attended the recent Okanogan County Solid Waste Advisory meeting. He said that the county indicated they have two recycling bins available and that Oroville could have one if a proper location could be found to place it.

“I hope we have better luck with it this time than we did last time,” said Rod Noel, superintendent of public works.

The last time one of the multi-compartment bins was tried in Oroville they ended up with all sorts of garbage in them that was not recyclable.

“Tonasket had to get rid of dead animals, etc. until they were moved to a better location and now they work better and have only had a couple of incidents,” Branch said. “Tonasket found and identified the garbage and tracked down the people who had thrown it into the recycle bin… it was a cultural misunderstanding and they haven’t had a problem in a couple of years.”

The city will consider finding a location where the bins can be placed with clear markings indicating that only certain types of recyclable materials may be put into them.