Tonasket Council still thinking about ad valorem taxes for 2011

TONASKET – The Tonasket City Council continued their discussion of an ad valorem tax in 2011 to their Tuesday, Nov. 9 meeting during their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 26.

According to Ordinance No. 687, if passed, the ad valorem tax would raise taxes upon all taxable property, both real and personal, within the city of Tonasket by one percent.

Council Member Connie Maden said she is in favor of the one percent increase and Council Member Julianna Griffin did not voice an objection to it, either. New Council Member Scott Olson said he felt he did not know enough about the issue to vote on it during the meeting while Council Member Jean Ramsey stated strong objections to the raised taxes.

“No one is getting a cost of living adjustment this year and this amount is not going to make or break our budget,” Ramsey said.

With Council member Jill Vugteveen not present at the meeting, the issue was tabled until Nov. 9, when the council may take action on the ordinance.

At this same meeting, Resolution 2010-11 “Green House Gas Reduction Emission Policy for the City of Tonasket” was passed by a 3-1 vote with Ramsey objecting.

“Many local governments throughout the nation, both large and small, are reducing the production of global warming pollutants through programs that provide economic and quality of life benefits, such as reduced energy bills, green space preservation, air quality improvements, reduced traffic congestion, improved transportation choices, economic development and job creation through energy conservation and new energy,” the resolution states.

Within the resolution is the equipment policy that states that the city will “monitor the efficiency of the pumps in water and sewer systems and when possible, maintain them at peak efficiency. If feasible, when cost effective options are possible, pumps using the least amount of energy shall be preferred.” Regarding water conservation, the resolution states that the city will maintain Tonasket’s existing tiered rate structures for water use.

The policy was approved because the city having one will give the city more points when they apply for certain grants for projects such as cleaning up Bonaparte Creek and it will be required for other applications.

During the meeting, the council heard from Tonasket High School senior Matt Gschiel regarding his senior project. Gschiel is hosting a run/walk on Saturday, Nov. 20 to raise money for breast cancer as his project. His walk will start at the RV Park and head down Locust Avenue all the way to Chief Tonasket Park and then back for a total of two miles. Gschiel said the walk will be from 9 a.m. to noon in order to account for the walking pace of everyone involved in the walk. His mentor, Julie Goyette, is helping him organize the event.

Finally, the council heard from Green Okanogan’s Loreen Felstet regarding the space the group is looking for to replace the building they have now lost for collecting e-Waste and recycling. Felstet said the group has worked on the idea of having a food bank and clothing bank incorporated into their collection center. He said Donna Benitez is ready to go and organize a clothing bank and that Jack Gavin wants to continue running the food bank and is happy to collaborate with a clothing bank. The group is still looking for a building and for more volunteers.

The next city council meeting will be on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. in city hall.