Tonasket City Council set ad valorem rate at 1.63 percent increase

TONASKET – The city council voted to increase the ad valorem rate by 1.63 percent during their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

The increase of 1.63 percent will bring an additional $1,863 to the city over 2009’s collection of $113,939. This increase was supported by all council members except Jean Ramsey, who voted against the increase.

During this meeting, the council also approved the 2010 budget action items list. All salary and benefit increases were deferred to a future meeting. The council approved $10,350 in hotel/motel funds, $500 to the Okanogan County Transportation and Nutrition program, $1,000 to the transportation bus replacement program, a health insurance increase of $47.93 per employee per month, $24,889.25 for the public works department and $94,700 for the Tonasket Police Department which included $30,000 for booking and jail fees.

Ordinance number 673, which amended the 2009 Budget Ordinance No. 660 and budget amendment numbers 661 and 665 to include revenues and expenditures for Traffic Safety and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Grant funds, was also approved. This amendment included the $1,019.84 from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs for a radar unit into the budget as well as the $9,999 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development for traffic and safety and criminal surveillance. The inclusion of these funds increased the 2009 budget to $2,649,072.68 from $2,638,053.84.

The council then authorized Varela and Associates to apply for Community Development Block Grant Funds for the Mill Drive Sewer Extension.

“One of Mark Varela’s major concerns was: is the main premise to annex or to supply Mill Drive with sewer?” Alice Attwood, city clerk, said. “I told him I believe the main thing is to get the people on sewer. We talked about annexation being a benefit of the project. He would like to do water lines at the same time.”

Mayor Patrick Walter told the council that he thinks they should go ahead and authorize Varela to apply for the CDBG grants. After discussion the fact that providing sewer and water lines into the area will be an incentive to the residents to annex into Tonasket city limits, the council made the decision to approve.

Finally, Attwood announced that the City of Tonasket received a Best of 2009 North Okanogan Country award for having the best skate park.

The next city council meeting is on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.