Council hears details on Link Transit measure

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Richard DeRock, general manager of Link Transit, was at the May 6 Waterville Town Council meeting to explain a measure that would increase the transit authority’s sales tax by 0.2 percent. The measure will be on the Aug. 6 ballot.

The sales tax proposal is a response from Link to a series of community surveys that began in 2016. Survey results showed that community members want Link to provide extended hours and days of service. They also showed support for other improvements, including service to the disabled and seniors, access to areas not currently served and increase in frequency. Respondents expressed a willingness to pay increased taxes for the improvements.

If passed, the tax would go into effect in two stages, with an increase of 0.1 percent effective on Jan. 1, 2020, and the additional 0.1 percent becoming effective on Jan. 1, 2022. The total 0.2 percent would represent an increase of about $24 per household per year.

Planned improvements would be gradually introduced, with extended hours on major routes; increased Saturday service for Chelan, Leavenworth, Rock Island, Cashmere, Entiat, Wenatchee and East Wenatchee routes; and more LinkPlus service planned for 2020.

Changes planned for early 2021 include more extended hours; adding Saturday service to Waterville, Rock Island and Malaga and new ride share options. Later in the year Sunday service, holiday service, increased extended hours, van pools and new smaller neighborhood buses would be added.

Additional improvements are planned for later in 2022.

Those interested in learning more about the proposal should visit linktransit.com/vision2020.

A group of citizens is volunteering to promote the ballot measure. To volunteer, contact Jean V.E. Speidel at 662-1211.

In other matters, the council unanimously approved an ordinance to designate Waterville as a Certified Local Government and an ordinance to establish a new sewer rate system, with a residential base rate of $45 per month.

The council set a public hearing regarding submitting a Community Development Block Grant application for sewer improvement. The hearing will be held during the May 20 council meeting.

A livestock permit for 10 chickens was approved for Ann Whitehall.

Keith Soderstrom spoke to the council regarding the town clock on Locust Street. The clock has not been functioning and it has been determined that the problem is due to damage in the computer which runs the clock. The computer has been removed, and Soderstrom said that he was planning to ask a friend of his who is knowledgeable about electronics to look at it.

Soderstrom emphasized that the Town of Waterville owns the clock and needs to take responsibility for keeping it in repair. Jill Thompson, who was serving as mayor pro tem during the meeting, said that she would pass the information on to Mayor Royal DeVaney.

The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. May 20.