Oroville looking at moving two 'Chrises' to old VIC Building

Oroville Councilman Walt Hart III received an Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership from the Association of Washington Cities.  Photos by Gary DeVon

Oroville Councilman Walt Hart III received an Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership from the Association of Washington Cities. Photos by Gary DeVon

OROVILLE – Oroville will look into the feasibility of moving its Director of Community and Economic Development and its Permit Administrator to the city’s vacant Visitor Information Center at 1730 Main Street.

With the city trying to formulate next year’s budget, Clerk-Treasurer Kathy Jones said, “We’re looking at what it would cost to move the two Chrises to the VIC building.”

Jones was referring to planner Chris Branch, Oroville’s Director of Community and Economic Development and Christian Johnson, Oroville’s Permit Administrator and building inspector. Currently the two share a small space in an area at the rear of the council chambers separated by a portable wall. Moving to the former Visitor Information Center would give the two administrators more room to work and be a convenient place to meet with the public.

The Visitor Information Center was owned by the state which used to fund the Oroville Chamber of Commerce to run it as one of onlyeight “gateway” VICs in Washington. When the state closed it’s gateway information centers several years back, they gave the building to the city and the chamber leased it to continue to serve tourists coming into town. However, the chamber asked the Okanogan Borderland Historical Society to take over tourist information services and the society operates their center out of the Old Depot Museum building. This left the city with the small empty building on Main Street.

The money to move the two to the VIC building would have to be found in next year’s budget, according to Jones. Currently it looks like the 2011 budget will come in around $5.8 million, around $2.5 million less than this year’s.

“That’s because we have fewer big projects scheduled for next year,” Jones told the council, referring to the Pedestrian Street Project and Biosolids Project the city completed with grant funding this year.

The council had another budget workshop with the mayor and department heads scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 23 to try and firm up numbers for next year.

Rod Noel, Oroville’s Superintendent of Public Works, reported that he had two bids to install fire sprinklers at the two houses at Veteran’s Memorial Park. The ranger and other personnel used the houses when it was a state park. Now that the park has been transferred to the city the idea is to turn them into short-stay summer rentals. To do so a fire suppression system is required by code.

One of the bids was for a system that used PVC pipe and covered the installation with sheetrock, while the other used black iron pipe, but wasn’t covered and at a much lower cost. Noel said he preferred the iron pipe as it did not require as many hangers because PVC has more of a tendency to “sag.”

“That’s my recommendation at this point. We can do the soffit work later… my recommendation is to take the lowest bid and address the sheetrock later,” Noel said.

Councilman Jon Neal made a motion to approve Patriot Fire Protection to install the fire sprinkler system at $11,097. Money to do the project will come from $50,000 promised Oroville for the park from the county’s .09 Infrastructure Funds, according to Noel.

“We do have local sheetrockers who could do the work when we want it done… I think we should go that way,” agreed Mayor Chuck Speith.

At the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Spieth presented a certificate of appreciation to Judy DeVon for her 10 years of service on the Oroville Library Board. DeVon served as library board secretary and Spieth told her the city was grateful for the donation of her time and service.

“I appreciate the library and the city for all they do. We really have a wonderful library,” DeVon said.

Councilman Walt Hart III was then presented with an Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership from the Association of Washington Cities (AWC). “Councilman Hart completed over 60 hours of training credits to earn this distinction and demonstrated valuable service to his community,” reads the press release that accompanied the certificate.

To earn the certificate, Hart attended a variety of AWC sponsored municipal workshops. The council member has been on the city council since May 1, 2001 and currently serves as Mayor Pro Tempore.