Oroville's Six Year Transportation Program amended

OROVILLE – The Oroville City Council amended the 2012-2017 Six Year Transportation Program at their Tuesday, July 3 meeting adding $51,568 Preliminary Engineering money for the STPR Central and Cherry Streets projects.

The city recently received notice that they would be getting grants to help pay for the street improvements. There was also a public hearing on the 2013-2018 Six Year Transportation Program. The program is the same as the previous plan, with the exception of the Preliminary Engineering Costs for the Central and Cherry Streets Project, which were removed and replaced with a similar project with construction costs of $455,112. Councilman Walt Hart III made a motion to approve a resolution for the new Six Year Transportation Program and it was seconded by Councilwoman Neysa Roley and passed.

Rod Noel, Superintendent of Public Works reported on a meeting with Aspect Consulting’s Dan Haller and the Department of Ecology regarding water rights transferred from Puget Properties (Veranda Beach Resort) to the city. Also attending the meeting were Mayor Chuck Spieth and City Clerk Kathy Jones. Noel will discuss financial participation between the resort owners and the city in trying to transfer the withdrawal point from the resort property to the city’s wells.

Noel also gave an update on the U.S. Border Patrol’s acquisition of water from the city for the new Border Patrol complex north of town. The city is allowing temporary water usage for construction testing, but approval for permanent connection will be delayed until the city receives an agreement for water services, all development fees and an agreement on construction of a reservoir. Target date for the agreement is now mid-September, said Noel.

Spraying for mosquitos may begin as soon as Friday, July 13, although the date is dependent on when high water recedes, said Clerk Jones. She reported that the owner of the crop dusting service the city uses had a plane wreck and that Omak’s Superintendent said an alternate pilot and plane have been located. Omak is the lead agency in the mosquito spraying program.

The mayor and Councilman Ed Naillon recently paid a visit to the airport and noticed the runway is cracking and is in need of crack sealing. Airport Services Manager Steve Johnston said that the airport markings were in definite need of being redone. A representative from the Department of Transportation – Aeronautics division is expected within the next couple of weeks, according to Jones.

The city may need to do a slurry seal like was done a number of years ago, while trying to raise the necessary match for the runway relocation project.

Chris Branch, the director of Community Development reported on the Airport Advisory Committee that is working on an Airport Compatibility Ordinance. He informed the council that the county commissioners are now backing away from the six month moratorium in response to a couple of disgruntled citizens who have property near the Okanogan airport.

“The moratorium only restricted certain types of development in a couple of zones, mostly in residential and places of assembly like schools and churches,” said Branch in an interview after the council meeting.

“Commissioner (Andy) Lampe asked during the meeting about the moratorium and if they couldn’t just deal with Oroville’s airport differently. Commissioner (Bud) Hover’s response was ‘just let them build what they want.'”

Branch said the commissioners could have modified the moratorium, while the cities’ work on zoning maps, each designed to meet the safety needs of the various municipal airports in the county, continued.

“It’s about pilot safety and the safety of the people on the ground,” said Branch, who is proceeding with developing the zoning map for Oroville’s airport and the adjacent property.

In other airport news, Johnston reported sales of fuel have been brisk and that there are several helicopters operating out of the airport.

“Our helicopter boys have been really busy keeping the cherries dry and Rod’s got us lots of fuel… we’re in good shape, everything is operating well,” Johnston said.

The council approved a second budget amendment to provide for additional 2012 criminal justice fees for medical and incarceration costs at the county jail. Jones said she was taking $20,000 out of flood control to make up the shortfall.

Arnie Marchand, representing the Okanogan Borderlands Historical Society, asked and received permission for the society to create banners that say “welcome” or “hello” in five different languages, as well as one that would point out where to turn for the museum and visitor information center. These would use existing brackets already on light poles within the city.

“It’s a way to show the awful lot of foreign visitors that come through here that we welcome them,” said Marchand. “People from Holland and Germany are big advocates of visiting the Thompson-Okanagan region and they are coming down Highway 97 and through Oroville.”