Town agrees on reduced water price for fairgrounds well

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

The Waterville Town Council at its Feb. 4 regular meeting discussed details on an interlocal agreement with Douglas County for use of a decommissioned well at the NCW Fairgrounds. County Commissioner Kyle Steinburg was at the meeting to discuss the particulars of the agreement.

Steinburg estimated that the county would be putting in about $80,000 to install the new plumbing that the town is requesting for use of the non-potable water and to get the infrastructure ready for use of the well. In light of this, the council voted unanimously that the town would charge the county a reduced rate of 1 cent per cubic foot of water for the next four years. It was estimated that this would save the county at least $20,000 per year in water fees, and would thus pay off the cost of the project. After the four years, an assessment will be made to determine if the rate should be raised.

The county plans to use the water primarily for irrigation at the fairgrounds, though it may use it for some other non-potable uses if this is expedient. Steinburg said that a key goal is to improve the look of the fairgrounds, including the camping areas, in order to better utilize this facility.

Steinburg said that the county did not intend to cover the cost of a meter for the water, and Mayor Royal DeVaney said that town staff would look into this cost.

In other matters, a discussion was held with members of Waterville’s newly formed Certified Local Government (CLG) Commission regarding the establishment of Waterville as a CLG. DeVaney was particularly concerned to learn about the cost and benefits of being a CLG.

CLG Commission member Lisa Davies reported that she had contacted a number of CLGs around the state and each had said that the only cost had been the cost of having the town lawyer draft an ordinance proclaiming the town a CLG. Benefits are that the program encourages property owners to improve their properties, and can provide access to funding for this. It makes the town eligible to apply for certain grants related to historic preservation. It provides access to training and technical assistance.

Davies said that volunteers were ready to perform all of the work needed to maintain the CLG status.

The council voted unanimously to authorize town attorney Steve Smith to draft an ordinance proclaiming Waterville a CLG and laying out some rules of operation. Davies will provide copies of the ordinances of other CLGs that may be used as models.

Sheriff Kevin Morris reported that three deputies had been promoted to corporal positions and Deputy Ron Oules had been promoted to sergeant for the north detachment. The corporal position is a new one for the department and will provide additional leadership when sergeants are not on duty or when they are busy with other matters. The increased salaries for the promotions will cost about $18,000 per year, Morris said.

Morris said that he planned to be at one council meeting every quarter unless the council members wanted him to attend more often. The members agreed that once per quarter was sufficient.

DeVaney said that in terms of design the city is ready to go out to bid for the Walnut Street Reconstruction Project, which is to be completed this summer. However, he is still waiting for a signature from an authorized person at the Transportation Improvement Board. DeVaney asked the council for authorization to go out to bid on the project when the signature has been obtained. Council members unanimously approved this request.

Jill Thompson, who serves on the Chelan-Douglas County Health District Board, reported that the board is closely watching a measles epidemic in Clark County.

Waterville Shocker Booster Club birthday calendars are available at town hall for pickup.

Spring cleanup day is scheduled for April 13. Household hazardous waste, except paint, will be accepted. Volunteers are needed.

Town hall will be closed on Feb. 18 in observance of Presidents Day. The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19.