Tonasket council holds last meeting

TONASKET – The final city council meeting of 2007 ended with a sendoff for Councilman Patrick Plumb and a celebration of Tonasket’s official incorporation into Okanogan County in December 1927.

Harry Hayter, a member of the Coulee Corridor council and publisher of the Coulee Corridor Publication, addressed the Council.

At their last meeting, the council decided to pull the $500 they gave to the publication.

The Coulee Corridor publication highlights the area, from Oroville to farther south and promotes tourism and visitors to the area. It includes information about the towns, restaurants and hotels through the corridor, as well as driving routes and outdoor activities.

Outgoing member Patrick Plumb has been unhappy with limited Tonasket coverage and had believed the town would be in the front of the publication. Tonasket did not make an appearance until somewhere around page 40, he said. This is the third year of the publication.

Hayter told the council he had shown them the proposed cover for this year’s publication, but regretted any misunderstanding. His goal, he said, was to promote the area.

“I’m not here to take any money out of the city,” he said. “I’m trying to promote the city.”

Hayter said results from the publication had been very positive. It had been distributed from Bellingham through Vancouver, he said. The publication gives each city a $1295 ad for $500, he said. Hayter said the publication is growing, with plans to expand it online. This year, it is running 64 pages full color, he said.

“I’d like to have you involved in this,” said Hayter.

Community Development Director Chris Branch told the council he supported the publication. “There aren’t too many publications out there that focus on byways,” he said.

“This is one of the major pieces of advertising we’ve got out there,” Branch said.

Council member Joyce Fancher supported the publication. After City Clerk Alice Attwood confirmed funds were available, Fancher moved to fund the publication with the requested $450. The money would come from hotel/motel funds, said Attwood.

Plumb, though initially concerned about the publication, moved to increase funding to $500. That number was approved. The Tonasket City Council will continue to support the Coulee Corridor Publication.

Branch then addressed the council on several city planning issues, including the 12,000 square foot skate park, which has been under construction even into the colder months. The park should cost about $178,000. Many organizations and individuals have donated equipment, labor and materials, Attwood said.

Council member Jean E. Ramsey motioned to approve the mayor’s ability to sign contractual documents for the skate park for up to $177,705.

The council also agreed Branch would continue to represent Tonasket at the Watershed Planning Unit and growth planning meetings, until a member could be selected to attend. Council members were concerned about not being properly educated about the issues when attending. Branch said council members should not worry; many other city council members attend the meetings and get by fine.

“If you go, you won’t be in the dark, that I can guarantee,” he said. He also said he would continue attending the meetings.

The council next went to unfinished business, which was Ordinance 648, part of the 2008 budget. It is part of the water-sewer reserve fund and allocates a certain amount of money to reserves. It was approved.

The council discussed the possibility of a retreat for new members at the beginning of 2008, so long as it was local.

Mayor Patrick Walter suggested Reno as a good destination.

“Reno, Washington?” Ramsey clarified.

Upcoming 2008 business was touched on briefly, including a new police station, the Business Resource Center (“It’s time to move on,” the mayor said) and possible city annexations.

“We can only sidestep these issues for so long,” he said. “We must face them. I look forward to working with a new council next year.”

Outgoing member Plumb had a few words at the end of the meeting.

“I’d like to thank the city employees for putting up with me for four years,” he said, pulling his nametag from its desk holder. “I’m pretty young and I’ll probably run again.”