Oroville approves $8.28 million budget

Bin lot causing concerns again

OROVILLE – Oroville approved a 2014 budget of $8,279,700 at their Tuesday, Dec. 17 council meeting. The budget includes carryover from water and street projects, as well as the city’s share of a new ambulance that is on order.

“We have carryover of the North End Reservoir tank installation and the Central and Cherry Street STP and TIB funded street overlay and water main replacement funds,” said city clerk Kathy Jones.

“There will be no layoffs and no water and sewer rate increases and the city will continue to provide fire and ambulance services to the local rural districts and continue to hosy the Building Official/Permit Administrator program, sharing time with Tonasket and Okanogan,” Jones said.

Other included programs include the U.S. Homeland Security Department Stonegarden Grant toward the purchase of a new patrol car for the police department and the child passenger seat safety grant.

Employees will be getting a $90 per month wage increase.

Councilman Jon Neal made the motion to approve the 2014 budget and it was seconded by Councilman Walt Hart and passed unanimously.

Only one bidder, Romine Fuel, submitted a bid for supplying fuel and oil to the city for 2014-2016. The council found the bid to be acceptable – $2.79 a gallon with appropriate taxes, for unleaded and $3.51 a gallon for diesel. For 55 gallon drums of hydraulic oil it will be $7.10 a gallon.

Apple Bin Lot

Mayor Chuck Spieth said the city had received a letter of complaint about the “desert that has been created” by the lot on Fifth Avenue where apple bins are stored. The letter complained of dust storms created by winds picking up dirt and blowing it into the neighboring residents’ yards and homes.

Spieth asked Councilman Jon Neal, who has a business and residence across the street from the lot for his opinion.

“It’s mostly what I’ve been saying for the past 10 years, it’s an ongoing problem. Gold Digger does a token effort to water daily. But when it gets cold it doesn’t do any good because they can’t water it down,” said Neal. “One area of my lawn has for or five inches of dirt on it from the lot.”

Noel said he had seen the wind blowing the dirt around.

“What I witnessed the other day looked like a desert storm and that was before they put up the wall of bins,” said Noel.

The mayor, who lives a couple blocks away, said he had gone down to take photos of the blowing dirt.

“Jon’s son was sweeping and told me that was the third trailer load. I can’t see how Jon can run his business.”

Jones added, “I don’t think the property owner (of the lot) would let that happen if it was across from his house.”

Noel said that the problem was infringing on the other property owners rights.

“We had a meeting two years ago. At that time it was expressed by the property owner that the city would be putting an undue hardship on Gold Digger if they were made to move the bin piles,” said Noel.

The mayor suggested that the city may want to run the issue by the city’s attorney to determine the proper approach so that they do not get the same sort of response it has had in the past.

“If we can go through this without going the legal route I think it would be best,” said Noel.

“We will be having someone from Ecology come and talk about smoke concerns, maybe they can address this as well,” said Mayor Spieth.

Water Issues

Rod Noel, superintendent of public works, reported on the ongoing North End Reservoir tank installation.

“The contractor has asked to suspend the project for cold weather so we will suspend it until spring. They were up there today testing the 12 inch main lines so they can get paid for what they have gotten done,” said Noel. “I think it is in our best interest to wait because of the cold weather.”

Noel said he had also been on a conference call concerning the city’s attempt to participate in a water rights transfer. The Center for Environmental Law has filed a protest against the transfer to the city, according to Noel.

“There are four or five things they are concerned about, including temperature and other things,” Noel said.