Town council agrees on garbage rate increases

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

The Waterville Town Council at their March 5 meeting agreed on a garbage rate increase designed to cover the administrative costs for the town related to garbage collection.

At the council’s Feb. 20 meeting, Clerk/Treasurer Marsha Peterson had informed council members that the town garbage fund had ended 2017 with $10,000 less compared to the previous year. The council had looked at proposed increases but felt that the increases were too much for totes and too little for Dumpsters.

The revised plan, agreed upon by the council, will increase the city garbage fee from $5 to $6 for all customers. In addition, the cost of the various Dumpsters will be increased. The total percentage increase for Dumpster users will be from 8 percent for a 2-yard Dumpster to 20 percent for an 8-yard Dumpster. A 2-yard Dumpster will now be billed at $94 per month. An 8-yard Dumpster will be billed at $302 per month.

Council members requested that town attorney Steve Smith amend the town’s garbage rate ordinance to reflect these changes. The council will vote on the ordinance at the next meeting.

In other matters, the owner of a bitcoin mining operation located at the former Mitchell’s Hardware building was present at the council meeting and asked for clarification on town policy. He told the council members that his operation is a hobby, rather than a business, and this is why he has not obtained a business license. Mayor Royal DeVaney told him that he should continue to work with code enforcement officer Hugh Theiler and follow the guidelines that Theiler gives him.

The council approved livestock permits for Jackie Finkbeiner for 10 chickens, and for Garrett and Mia Thomsen for four pygmy goats. Mia Thomsen is the FFA advisor at Waterville School.

DeVaney said that the town heard from the Department of Ecology that it did not receive funding for sewer collection system improvements for the 2018 funding cycle. The town had applied for $750,000 in loans that would have covered lining the entire sewer main to the sewer lagoons to prevent spring runoff from entering and overloading the system. The town may make some piecemeal improvements on its own and will continue efforts to seek funding.

Chelan-Douglas Health District Board member Jill Thompson reported that at the last meeting board members had learned that the state’s emergency planning services are now being centered in two regions rather than the previous nine. This means that the services for Chelan and Douglas counties, as well as the rest of Eastern Washington, will now be headquartered in Spokane. This was a budget-cutting measure on the part of the state Legislature for which the health district does not have control.

Thompson said that the board also discussed a new shingles vaccine that has been developed. The vaccine, offered as a two-shot series, will be more effective than the one that has previously been available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the immunization for individuals over the age of 50 and for those who are immune-compromised. Those who were immunized with the old vaccine can be immunized again with the new vaccine. Individuals should check with their insurance companies for coverage information.

Waterville Main Street Association Executive Director Lisa Davies reported that the association had donated a barn quilt square to Pangborn Memorial Airport and plans are under way to have it hung in the airport later this spring.

Thompson announced that the Main Street Association would be holding an informational meeting on a planned community garden from 2 to 4 p.m. March 17 at the Waterville Library.

The next town council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. March 19.