Oroville Council discusses bio-solids, VIC and IVs

OROVILLE – The Oroville City Council discussed a variety of subjects at their Tuesday, Sept. 15 meeting, including the bio-solids grant, the future of the Visitor’s Information Center and training for IV Techs.

Oroville Chamber of Commerce President Rich Solberg recently sent the council a letter saying the business organization would no longer be running the Visitor Information Center or leasing the building from the city. Solberg said the chamber would be concentrating on “commerce, rather than tourism.” The information center is located in a city-owned building on Main Street which the chamber has leased since the state gave the building to the city after it stopped funding gateway information centers around the state more than a decade ago.

“The scuttlebutt is that the Historical Society may be interested in taking over. I heard they would like to move it to the Depot and that would kind of take away the purpose,” said Mayor Chuck Spieth.

Chris Branch, director of Planning and Development, said he had sent out requests for comments from businesses in town.

“Most of my comments are about how tourism does go with commerce as illustrated by the concern of local businesses when they thought the [state] park would close,” Branch said.

In Solberg’s letter he told the council the chamber no longer had the funding to lease the building and pay a salary for someone to man the center. Much of the funding used to come from the OCTAB – Okanogan County Tourism Advisory Board, which distributes hotel/motel tax monies. The funding from OCTAB was cut back considerably and the chamber board voted to give up the VIC and concentrate their efforts elsewhere.

The council will continue to discuss the matter at future meetings.

City Clerk Kathy Jones reported on her attendance at the recent EMS Commissioners’ Meeting in which obtaining IV Tech training for some of the EMTs was discussed.

“The EMS Commissioners want to send three or four for training,” said Jones.

Ambulance Coordinator Debra Donahue said she would like to see two EMTs get the training first based on the district’s current call volume. IV Techs will have the ability to start or maintain IVs giving fluids and medicines that could be beneficial to a patient being transported to the hospital.

At the previous meeting of the council, Dr. Thrasher said initiating an IV could mean the difference between life and death.

“Once I get recertified I can train that class and defray the costs,” Donahue said, adding that a member of the community has offered to pay the entire cost of equipping the ambulance to make it IV compatible.

In other business, Rod Noel, Superintendent of Public Works discussed the purchase of a dewatering-skid for the city’s bio-solids project at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

The skid, which will cost $3129, has already been ordered and will increase the overall cost of the bio-solids project.

“If all contingencies are used a quick guestimate is the city will be $20,000 short,” said Jones.

Noel said there may be some costs savings that have not been figured into the overall cost of the project – some things that can be done “in-house” could lower the price tag. Noel said this will be Wenatchee-based contractor KRCI’s second project involving American Recovery Act dollars and hopefully they had learned from their first experience, which Noel said they described as a “nightmare.”

About the potential $20,000 shortfall, Noel said, “With that small amount of money I think we can work with [city engineer] Varella to find the difference.”