East Washingtonian - Your Hometown News Source

City's waste issue thickens


October 24, 2019

POMEROY–The city has been notified it is non-compliant with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permit. Part of the problem was that Columbia Pulp overloaded the system for a while, but it is now hauling its waste to Spokane at a large cost to the company. Although the Department of Ecology (DOE) inspected and issued permits prior to Columbia Pulp starting up, their permit allows more waste to be produced than the city’s permit allows. Also, Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) contractor Scott Potter was unaware that temperatures had to be taken daily. This clerical oversight caused a “hit” against the city every day. Potter is responding to DOE .

Clerk Shaun Martin said that the Public Works Department and City Hall have submitted budget requests and the mayor will meet with each department to determine needs and priorities.

James Harris asked City Crew Foreman Mike Lockard the cost to replace broken meters so the city would stop losing revenue. New water meters run approximately $80-$100, so the city must balance the cost effectiveness of replacing old meters. Charging a basic connection maintenance fee was suggested again but was tabled.

The Garfield County Assessor Local Valuation Letter for 2020 taxes was given to Mayor Miller and the council. A motion was made by Harris to authorize the mayor to sign a contract with the Garfield County Health District for solid waste investigations. Mike Cassetto seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

A structural observations report has been received concerning the gazebo at the city park. Public Works Director Kenny Landkammer is to research options and repair costs.

Sheriff Drew Hyer reported that calls to service in September were down from the prior month, but citations were up. There were no burglaries, but there were three thefts, one public nuisance, two domestic violence calls and some dog complaints. Fraud calls, especially ones aimed at senior citizens, increased although Hyer said people are well-informed and not falling for the scams.

The flashing speed limit sign on Main Street located across from the Post Office is placed but not operational. and still needs to be wired by Pacific Power and Light. “We were hoping to get two but only got one,” Hyer said.

He gave an update on the status of the newest deputies. Cassetto asked Hyer if there were any available trustees to help with City needs and City Crew Foreman Lockard said he would check with Deputy Calvin Dansereau regarding that.

Jim Whitbread and Michelle Bly of TD&H Engineering, presented a letter to the council explaining in more detail some items brought before the council last month, including the delay in installing the girders at the Sixth Street Bridge Project. Whitbread said the girders were ordered the first of July for September delivery but there was a delay at the factory which pushed that date back, and that the state allows for delays in procurement. The girders are now scheduled to be delivered next week. Parapets, pedestrian and approach rails will also be placed.

A prolonged discussion ensued concerning the necessity of a change order for S&L Contracting regarding the need to drill instead of driving the piles into the ground. Cassetto asked Whitbread if he had received two recommendations to drill the rock bed rather than driving the piles into the bedrock. Whitbread responded that was not done, as four borings and core samples were used to determine that pile driving would work, and how that procedure indicated there would not be a problem with the bedrock. Mayor Miller inquired about paving the bridge and Whitbread stated that the paving will be completed in the spring when the paving contractor is in Pomeroy working on the Columbia Fifth to Sixth Street project. Doing the paving for both projects at the same time is more cost-effective and would save the city considerable money. The weather has also gotten too cold for paving at this time. An inquiry was made as to the effect of the delay on the fish window. Whitbread said that is not a concern as the project is “out of the stream” and no longer doing work in the water. Other factors contributing to delays on the project included the need to do tree trimming, a prolonged response time by Pacific Power & Light regarding moving power lines, questions about chip-sealing. The anticipated start date for the project was pushed back due to one of the contractors bidding on the project challenging the initial bids.

Bill Preston of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) discovered there is no current contract between TD&H Engineering and the City, and the non-existence of an agreement prevents the payment of federal funds. Due to clerical error the original agreement between the city and TD&H Engineering expired on December 31, 2016. To correct this, Preston recommended the need to implement a Request for Sole Source Consultant Services, with the observation, “We don’t want the city or TD&H to fail.” It was pointed out during the discussion that the state is also culpable since they review and issue such documents. Fuchs made a motion to authorize to the Mayor to sign such a request and Bowles seconded. Fuchs, Bowles, Hodges and Cassetto voted in favor, with Harris abstaining, and the motion passed by majority vote.

Bowles made a motion authorizing the Mayor to sign Change Order #1 in the amount of $32,844.54 for S&L Contracting and it was seconded by Hodges. Voting in favor were Fuchs, Bowles, Hodges and Cassetto, with Harris abstaining, and the motion passed by majority vote.

Project supplement #4 in the amount of $54,173.08 was tabled until the regular November meeting.

TD&H Engineering distributed a project report to the mayor and council, along with Invoice No. 18719 in the sum of $4,000.00 to the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB). There were no questions from the council regarding the project. Moving to the Water System Plan update, TD&H need the city’s okay before submitting requests for grants to fund several projects identified in the plan. Council requested that Bly submit the plan to the Department of Health (DOH) for review, as grant funding would need DOH approval. In regards to the Booster Pump Station Funding, council was told the special appropriation can be used for items identified in the city’s Water System Plan.

Leann Clayton presented a request to the city for work done at the rose garden at the east end of town and said the Shepherd Foundation was willing to fund it again. Clayton asked about using automatic sprinklers at the site. She brought up the issue of deer damage to the roses and other plants in town and asked the city to consider contacting Fish and Wildlife for help with damage control.

Clayton also brought up the issue of her next-door neighbor asphalting over the gutter, causing water to pool in her driveway, exposing rocks and making access difficult. She had paid for new sidewalks and said another party had suggested a one-foot by ten-foot patch of hot mix would solve the problem. Lockard said he will measure out this area and provide a cost of this work to the council.

Jim McMahon requested a set-back variance regarding extension of a garage. Public hearing and notification processes will be started.

Mayor Miller reminded council members of the Elected Officials Essentials course to be held in Kennewick on December 7, 2019, and encouraged them to attend.

Jack Peasley informed the council that the Blue Mountain Action Council (BMAC) has $140,000.00 available for funding flyers, travel and community participation in the 2020 census, and a two-person tech team would like to speak with them about it. Peasley said after meeting with Tom Ruchert and Del Groat regarding improvements at the golf course that he will be applying to the Department of Commerce for a grant for paving golf cart paths and areas that are currently graveled. The cost would be about $38,000 but he indicated there were various sources which could reduce that cost. The city asked Peasley to proceed with the application process.

Peasley also reported that The Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) has access to funding and tech teams who actually do the planning, for infrastructure and other projects in the city such as the water system. He said that CERB really encouraged city council members to be involved, as “It needs to come from the city.” The issue of enforcement of the Downtown Business Code was brought up again. Mayor Miller asked the council, “How far do you want to take it?” and asked for a better definition of what constitutes a warehouse now compared to when the code was written.

The issue of dogs in the city park was raised under old business. Martin provided samples of dog ordinances from nearby communities for the council to review. She also handed out a copy of the resolution procedures for granting relief from water overage charges.


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