Council continues work on water agreement with county

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

At its Jan. 22 regular meeting, the Waterville Town Council continued to work on the process of revising an interlocal agreement with Douglas County for the use of a decommissioned well at the NCW Fairgrounds. The well water is to be used mostly for irrigation at the fairgrounds, and the county will be paying for the water it uses. It will take responsibility to pay for and install equipment needed to operate the well.

Council members reviewed the current draft of the agreement submitted by the county commissioners and discussed possible changes. Town attorney Steve Smith will present a revised draft to be discussed at the Feb. 4 council meeting.

In other matters, the council discussed the possibility of reorganizing the Planning and Zoning Commission as a committee. With this new organization, council members or members of town staff could be appointed by the mayor to serve as representatives on the committee. The possibility is being discussed because of difficulty in reaching quorum at recent Planning and Zoning Commission meetings.

Smith submitted the council with a written memo outlining restrictions in place by the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) on the composition of such commissions. Only one council member or town staff member could be appointed. An alternate or two could be appointed, but unless they regularly attend meetings, they may not be informed enough on recent proceedings to make sound decisions.

The council will make a decision on the idea at a future meeting.

Council members reviewed proposed amendments to the Town of Waterville’s Comprehensive Plan, Maps and Zoning Code. These amendments are part of an update to the Comprehensive Plan that must be submitted to the Washington State Department of Commerce as required by the Growth Management Act. The amendments were prepared by Town Planner Kurt Danison and had been recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Smith reported on a discussion at the Jan. 16 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting regarding whether data mining operations should be an allowed use in the downtown commercial business district. Smith said he believes the operations could be beneficial to the town with the stipulation that they not be located on the ground level of the buildings. The operations could provide rental income to the property owners that would better enable them to maintain and improve their buildings.

Joyce Huber, Town of Waterville representative to the Link Board, reported that at the Jan. 15 meeting the group had recapped a previous strategic planning workshop. The board is looking at changes it can make to routes in order to increase access to service and ridership.

The town recently purchased a new sewer jetter for approximately $38,000. The jetter is expected to arrive within the next six weeks. The purchase price includes training for town utility staff.

Town hall will be closed Feb. 18 in observance of Presidents Day.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 4.