Tonasket ballfields may see upgrades

Danison asks again for support for NCWEDD study and funding

“We just passed a recreation district, so they might be able to help with it (matching funds).” Jill Vugteveen, Tonasket Councilwoman

TONASKET – Representatives of the Tonasket Youth Baseball Association appeared before the Tonasket City Council Tuesday, March 8, to present plans for upgrading the baseball fields at Chief Tonasket Park.

Jeff Prague, president of the association and Jenny Cory, secretary, were joined by Andy Townsend to tell council members about a grant opportunity with the RCO (Washington State Recreation Conservation Office), and to ask the city for a letter of support. Prague said the funding would not be available until June 2017. He also said the grant required a match, which would be zero if the city were in an area that was designated a disaster zone by the federal government. City Planner Kurt Danison said that designation was only until July 2016, and Prague said the grant had a ceiling of $250,000 with a zero match.

“A restroom alone would be $150,000 to $200,000,” said Danison. “It’s easy to get money to build something but hard to get money to keep it maintained. You could easily spend a quarter of a million dollars on fields and fencing.”

“We just passed a recreation district, so they might be able to help with it,” said Councilwoman Jill Vugteveen. “It’s not just for the pool.”

Prague asked about the possibility of putting in a prefabricated restroom that gets pumped annually.

Danison suggested the association apply for the grant and then have an agreement in place for the city to administer it.

The council passed the motion unanimously to allow the mayor to write a letter of support.

In Danison’s report to the council, he said he wanted to ask once again if the city wanted to participate in the NCW Economic Development District’s Okanogan County Fire Economic Recovery Strategic Plan. He said Oroville and Okanogan both contributed $500 to be involved, and Twisp and Winthrop each contributed $2,500. Vugteveen asked what the return would be.

“What are we getting, and why should we pay more than the other communities?” asked Vugteveen.

Danison said the study was focused on Okanogan County. “Without collecting a match, the EDD won’t be able to keep operating. Any amount would help,” said Danison. “Hotel/motel funds can be used for something like this. We are going to do this anyway, and you’re going to have access to the data anyway, but we won’t be doing anything for you personally.”

Plumb said when the council did not agree to contribute to the project at their last meeting, he was approached by a representative from the governor’s office the very next day. “She wanted to meet with me personally to find out the impact to the city from the fires and what we can do to move forward,” said Plumb.

“The bottom line is, what are we going to get out of this for our $500 or $2500?” asked Vugteveen. “Because the way it has been presented up to this point, these are things the commissioners should be doing.”

Danison said the data collected would be looked at to help determine what would make the community more resilient in the event of a fire in the future, as well as to create a user-friendly and easily accessible data base.

Council members agreed to give the idea additional consideration.

Danison said he would be attending the next Okanogan County Council of Governments (OCCOG) meeting where a consultant would be selected to do the Regional Transportation Plan by the deadline of July 1.

Danison said he would soon be setting the date for a meeting to discuss annexation of an area south of Tonasket.

Danison also reported the city’s Pedestrian Bridge and sidewalk project was going well, and that businesses who have their sidewalks torn up for replacement are still staying busy, especially with road construction crew members eating there in the restaurants.

Danison said he would attend an upcoming swimming pool committee meeting along with Attwood and Public Works Superintendant Hugh Jensen. Danison said a list of questions would come out of the meeting the city would need to ask their lawyer, and a list the Tonasket Parks and Recreation District would need to ask their attorney.

“There needs to be some agreements in place up front,” said Danison. “There are some issues that really need to be looked at.”

The Tonasket Parks and Recreation District meets the second Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Tonasket Visitor and Business Resource Center.

Barb and Brad Warfield addressed the council about “being charged double for water” at a rental home they have on Tonasket Ave. which has both an upstairs and a downstairs rental.

Mayor Patrick Plumb explained each occupant unit is charged the basic fee for the hookup, and that water usage wasn’t the major cost. If one rental unit is not occupied, they are still charged half the basic fee so they don’t have to pay to have the water turned on and off.

Vugteveen advised them they would have to meet with Building Official and Permit Administrator Christian Johnson and have him determine they couldn’t rent to more than one family or occupant in order for the city to modify it as a single unit. City Planner Kurt Danison said the key to it being a separate unit was if there were separate bathing and cooking facilities.

“To make those kind of improvements, you have to get a building permit, and then it goes on record that you got the permit to make it a separate dwelling,” said Vugteveen.

The Warfields asked to see the law that said that, and Plumb explained it was not a law, but a policy that had been adopted by the city. City Clerk and Treasurer Alice Attwood offered to get them a copy of the resolution that has that policy in it if they wanted to stop by City Hall.

Danison asks again for support for NCWEDD study and funding