Sheriff candidate addresses town council

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Kevin Morris, who is running for Douglas County sheriff in the November election, attended the March 19 Waterville Town Council meeting to introduce himself. Morris currently serves as undersheriff.

Morris explained how he got involved in law enforcement and outlined some of the contributions he has made while at the sheriff’s office. He said that if elected, he plans to keep the office on the same course in which it has been under Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal. Gjesdal, who was first elected sheriff in 2006, announced last November that he won’t seek re-election.

Leeon Leyde, who has filed for the office as well, was also in attendance at the meeting and asked for the opportunity to address the council at its next meeting.

In other matters, the council approved an ordinance drafted by town attorney Steve Smith that reflects new garbage rates. The council and town staff had worked on determining the rates over the past few council meetings. The increased rates will help the town to cover the administrative costs related to garbage collection.

Council members approved an ordinance that sets rates for information provided in response to public records requests. The charges reflect what state law allows entities to collect for the requests and includes fees for providing the information in a digital format.

A resolution was passed setting swimming pool wages for the 2018 season. These are based on minimum wage law. A first-year lifeguard will be paid $11.50 per hour; an experienced lifeguard will be paid $12 per hour; the assistant pool manager will be paid $12.50 per hour; and the pool manager will be paid $13 per hour.

The council set a public hearing for 6:30 p.m. April 16 to receive comment on a proposed vacation and purchase of the east half of Franklin Street from Poplar Street to 1st Street. A property owner has petitioned for the vacation of the property in order that they can purchase it and have a larger buildable lot.

Mayor Royal DeVaney opened responses to a Request for Qualifications for engineering services for the upcoming Walnut Street and sidewalk reconstruction project. Qualifications were received from TD&H Engineering, Erlandsen & Associates, Anderson Perry & Associates and Gray & Osborne, Inc.

The town has been working with Erlandsen & Associates on the project for the past three years, and this is the company that successfully obtained funding for the project from the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB). TIB requires that the town periodically request qualifications for engineering services. DeVaney, however, told council members that he did not recommend that the council choose to change companies at this time.

Council members approved a new livestock permit for Nicholas Loebsack for eight chickens. Loebsack resides at 212 W. 1st St.

The council proclaimed April 11 as Arbor Day in Waterville. The Arbor Day designation is required for the town to maintain its status as a Tree City USA. Clerk/Treasurer Marsha Peterson told council members that it is important that the town plan a ceremony or event to observe this day.

Council member Jill Thompson suggested that the commemoration could happen during one of the scheduled Waterville Community Garden workdays to be held on April 7 and April 14.

Thompson, who is a Chelan-Douglas Health District Board member, reported that at the last meeting the board discussed that the childhood vaccine program will now be administered by the state instead of by the health district. Board members also discussed ways to encourage teenagers to follow through with recommended vaccinations.

DeVaney reported that the Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council discussed state funding that has been provided for chip sealing on roadways. DeVaney has requested funds for 3rd Street from Columbia Avenue to Chelan Avenue. The town will be responsible for providing about 10 percent of the funds for the project.

The town traded in a 2005 4-wheeler for a new model. The 4-wheeler is used for clearing snow, checking flows and gauges at the sewer lagoon, and maintaining the parks and town land on Badger Mountain.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 2.