Council is positive about allowing county use of fairgrounds well

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

The Waterville Town Council at its regular Sept. 4 meeting voted unanimously to move forward on a license agreement with the county for use of a decommissioned well located near the NCW Fairgrounds. Well No. 1 is an older, shallow well that has not been used for years because it draws surface water, which is not permitted for municipal drinking water systems.

The county wants to use the well for irrigation at the fairgrounds and for dust abatement in road construction projects.

The town had originally denied the request from the county when it was presented during the summer because council members were concerned about the possibility the water could contaminate the municipal water system. Town staff also did not believe that the town still had water rights to the well.

The issue of possible contamination will be resolved with the installation of hardware that would prevent backflow into the municipal system. Further, the town discovered that it does in fact still hold the water right to the well. The county commissioners presented the council with a letter from Trevor Hutton of the Department of Ecology stating that use of the water for irrigation of the fairgrounds would be an acceptable municipal use.

The county requested that the town commit to allow county use of the water for at least the next five years. It was also requested that water charges be based on the average use of irrigation water at the fairgrounds over the past five years to allow for easier budgeting. The county proposed paying for the power used by the well pump, but requested that the town share the cost of installation of the well pump, meter and pipeline.

A license agreement will be drafted, and the council will vote on the agreement at a future meeting.

In other matters, Dr. Ann Diamond, who is a candidate for state representative in the 12th Legislative District, was present to introduce herself and to field questions. Diamond is running as an independent candidate.

The council reviewed reports prepared by Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Erica Stoddard that compare water usage at the school, cemetery, parks and swimming pool during the summers of 2017 and 2018 to determine if water resources were being conserved. The reports showed that the only accounts that did not show a significant decrease in water usage were that of the school courtyard and the softball field. Both showed a significant increase.

The town is currently going through the process of a full financial and accountability audit required every three years. The audit covers the years of 2015-2017. It began on Aug. 28 and should be completed by the end of this month.

The town has begun its annual budget process. The next step will be a council budget workshop held at town hall from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 19. The workshop is open to the public.

Clerk/Treasurer Marsha Peterson presented the council with a draft copy of a 2019 to 2024 Capital Facilities Plan. Peterson asked council members to use the plan as a basis for discussion during the upcoming budget workshop.

The council reviewed a report prepared by Peterson regarding estimated revenues for 2019.

The council approved a contract amendment with Consolidated Disposal Service for a garbage rate increase of 2.3 percent beginning on Jan. 1. The increased cost reflects the average Consumer Price Index increase in July of 2017 and July of 2018.

Link Transit board member Joyce Huber, who could not be present at the council meeting, sent a written report of the most recent Link meeting. She wrote that Link would be represented at the National Bus Rodeo next year by Jason Sanberg who won the state competition. She also reported that the 2018-2023 Transit Development Plan and the Program of Projects were adopted. Huber also mentioned there has been somewhat of a decrease in Link ridership on most routes, with the exception of Saturday paratransit routes.

Mayor Royal DeVaney updated the council on the upcoming sewer line maintenance project. DeVaney said that current plans are to video and possibly reline 9,000 linear feet of sewer pipes beginning this month.

DeVaney reported that the town had recently received shipment of two new air scrubbers, which can be used at town hall and at the Waterville Library in the event of hazardous air quality conditions. Residents who are particularly sensitive to smoke could go to one of those locations to get a break from the conditions.

Next year’s spring cleanup day and hazardous waste event are tentatively scheduled for April 13.

The IACC Funding Conference is to be held in Wenatchee Oct. 23-25. DeVaney, council member Loyd Smith, Peterson and Stoddard plan to attend.

DeVaney and utility superintendent Marty Ramin were to meet with Erlandsen Project Engineer Jeff Sutton on Sept. 5 to view plans for next summer’s Walnut Street Reconstruction Project.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17.