Kathy Jones honored for 40 years with city

Oroville City Clerk/Treasurer Kathy Jones accepts a certificate of appreciation from Mayor Chuck Spieth for her 40 years of service to the City of Oroville. She will be retiring at the end of October. Gary DeVon/staff photos
Oroville City Clerk/Treasurer Kathy Jones accepts a certificate of appreciation from Mayor Chuck Spieth for her 40 years of service to the City of Oroville. She will be retiring at the end of October. Gary DeVon/staff photos

Library board suggests money saving tips for remodel

OROVILLE – The first order of business at the Oroville City Council meeting was for Mayor Chuck Spieth to recognize Kathy Jones’ many accomplishments over the past 40 years with a Certificate of Appreciation.

Jones, the city/clerk treasurer, received a round of applause from the council and those in attendance at the Tuesday, Sept. 2 council meeting. The long time city employee has announced that she will be retiring toward the end of October and Joanne Denney has been selected to fill her position.

The Oroville Public Library was discussed at the Tuesday, Sept. 2 city council meeting. Sally Bull, treasurer on the Oroville Library Board, asked the council to consider the many energy saving grants available through the Okanogan County PUD. If the city takes advantage of these and low interest loans the money saved could stretch the dollars being saved to one day do a major remodel of the library, according to Bull.

Sally Bull, treasurer for Oroville Library Board, addressed the council about money saving programs available from Okanogan County PUD that might help in reducing costs when the future remodel begins on the library.

“The PUD offers incentives for lighting projects that could save us 30 to 70 percent on costs… if we use volunteer labor with a supervisor it could be even cheaper,” said Bull.

She said a recent lighting assessment of the library resulted in lumen readings on the south side of the library that were extremely low, nine lumens, while the north side was much better at between 36 and 38 lumens. Just changing out 34 lighting fixtures could result in much better lighting at much lower energy costs, she said.

“We’re just trying to find different pockets to use which would extend the remodel money quite a bit,” said Bull, adding that there are other grants or low interest loans available for insulation and Energy Star heat pumps and duct work.

City Accused of Spying

Property owner Ginger Downs appeared before the council expressing concern about a letter she received seeking information on whether she was renting an apartment or taking in boarders.

“I’m a little concerned about you council people so I’m having you guys watched… it bugs me when you have my house watched, now see how you like it,” she said.

She said the letter she received said only two boarders were allowed. She told the council that what she had was a sign saying she had an apartment for rent. She claimed the city had “scared away” her tenant.

“Who watches our houses?” she asked. “I have an apartment for rent. I have a sign that says ‘apartment for rent.’ That bothered me because they didn’t look at what the sign says.”

Chris Branch, director of Community Development, commented on what the letter from Christian Johnson, the city’s building and permit administrator, had to say.

“When we got there the sign was gone,” said Branch, adding that zoning law requires certain standards be met before an apartment can be let or boarders taken in.

“I get a letter and all the sudden my renter leaves. It has to be that someone is watching my house,” she said.

“Ginger, the sign itself draws attention to your apartment… it’s an advertisement. There are always rumors of renters in garages. When we receive a complaint we take it to the staff to investigate. Did you talk to the staff?” asked Mayor Spieth.

Branch explained that the regulations are in the zoning code and that the codes are available for review at city hall, at the building department and online.

“I’m upset because this isn’t a big town and that’s why I live here even though I don’t live there,” said Downs, who earlier said she lives outside of town.

Branch said the thing to do is find out what is required in the code first.

“No the thing is I should move to the county so people don’t spy on me,” she replied.

City Projects

Rod Noel, Superintendent of Public Works, reviewed a list of city projects, both completed and about to begin. He said that the North End Reservoir project, which serves people living north of the city limits on the west side of the lake, as well as the new U.S. Border Patrol Station, was working as intended.

“Apparently what is holding up closing on the issue is what our contract requires with the tank manufacturer,” said Noel. “Generally the warranty is covered by the general contractor. In this case if there is an issue with the tank then the general and subcontractor can fight it out.

“The project is completed, done, everything is working as it should.”

Other than the final repair to Main Street where the water line was connected for the Central and Cherry Street projects, that project is done, according to Noel.

The runway project at Oroville’s Dorothy Scott Airport has received its Notice to Proceed, said Noel.

“We have an anticipated schedule to start the project on Monday, Sept. 8 and the runway should be closed through Friday,” Noel said.

Community Development

Chris Branch talked about the Kernan Street Trailhead for the Similkameen Trail. He said the city had gotten a letter from Okanogan County Planner Perry Huston about the city taking over the trailhead.

“I don’t know why that popped up… it was talked about a long time ago and the state doesn’t like that idea,” said Branch, adding that the city is discussing a maintenance agreement regarding the trail that would be similar to one Omak had with the state Department of Transportation.

Branch also discussed the Mosquito District and the fact that a public hearing was not held in time to get it on the upcoming general election ballot. Instead it will probably have to wait until next year.

“About assessments, we don’t have a lot of control over them. Once it goes to the ballot we’re pretty much done with it and it is up to the district commissioners,” said Branch. “They’re guessing at $150,000 to $200,000 to get started.”

Branch said the county commissioners “were on the fence” about whether to try to get it on the ballot this year.

“One commissioner said the cities should put it on their utility bill,” said Branch, adding that Grant County has been helpful in identifying some of the mosquitos in this area.

The council approved the purchase of some mosquito traps to continue toward better identifying the types.

“Identifying the kind of mosquito is important to determine what we have, because some of those already trapped are the kind that carry the West Nile Virus,” said Branch.

Editor’s Note: On Monday, Grant County Public Health announced A Pierce County woman in her thirties who recently spent time in Grant County has been confirmed as having West Nile virus. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has investigated the case and determined that the individual was likely exposed to the infected mosquitoes during her stay in Grant County.

The press release states: “So far this year, there have been four other human cases in Washington; two of those cases were exposed in-state in Walla Walla and Benton counties, the two other cases were exposed while traveling out of the state. The virus causing West Nile disease has been detected in 26 mosquito samples from Grant County so far this year.

West Nile virus is a bird illness that can spread to people and other animals through mosquito bites. The best way to prevent West Nile virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites.” G.A.D.