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Tiger Dieu steps down from City Council

DAYTON–The City Council was advised Tiger Dieu has stepped down from his position No. 7; advised the board of a meeting in regards the need for flood mitigation in the North Touchet; approved three key action items; a franchise agreement with Charter Communications, a professional agreement with a firm solely for the Wastewater Treatment Project (WWTP); heard a report from County Commissioner Marty Hall about two upcoming public hearings for special purpose districts; and of upcoming street closures for filming on June 22-23 at the regular Council meeting on June 13.

Mayor Zac Weatherford pointed out the vacant seat of Council Position No. 7 to say that Tiger Dieu stepped down. Upon learning this, he advertised for the open position in the local papers with no response. He intends to run the advertisement another two weeks in hope that someone will step forward to be interviewed.

Weatherford and councilmembers Teeny McMunn and Jim Sueuga reported on the May 25 meeting of 30 stakeholders and representatives to review the flood mitigations needs in the Touchet River within the city. He said they have been awarded $55,000 in grant money from the Walla Walla 2050 Group to gather data to develop a plan for mitigation purposes.

Council approved three key actions items. The first was approved following a public hearing about the city vacating portions of 1st, 2nd and Touchet Streets just south of McCall. There were some questions about it from residents, but it was explained that they have the right to purchase up to 50% of the right-of ways at a significantly reduced price. Following the public hearing, Council approved of the vacations effective immediately. Also passed was the franchise agreement with Charter Communications for construction, operations, and maintenance of telecommunications facilities within the city to offer services including broadband. Council had previously voted to table the matter for a few months to allow time for the construction of the fiber network for the Port of Columbia's broadband project for which they have contracted with three providers making Charter the fourth broadband provider for Dayton when complete. The other key approval was for the mayor to execute a professional service agreement with SCI Alliance for consulting and planning services strictly for the WWTP.

Commissioner Marty Hall reported they will be holding two public hearings–one on July 3 about placing the formation of a county parks and recreations district for the purpose of a pool on the ballot and the other on June 26 about dissolving the inactive and unfunded Flood Control Zone District (FCZD) which is the lowest prioritized district coming out of the 5.90/1000 assessed property value taxing district schedule. The FCZD has relied on registered voters to approve two proposed special levies, both of which failed. Similarly, if voters approve the parks and recreations district, it would then be the lowest and would likewise rely on voter's support to pass special levies for funding.

Public Works Director Ryan Paulson spoke about the Third Street Project that has begun on both the south and north sides of Main Street. Work is being done also on J Street between Third and Fourth Streets and jumping over Fourth to extend to Fifth Street, with work on Pearson expected to begin directly. He reported problems with repeat vandalism at Caboose Park adjacent to The Depot. He wants to inform the public that the city is working with the Sheriff's Department to curtail the problem.

Paulson informed Council that the first blocks north of Main Street on First and Second Streets and the alley between them will be closed June 22-23 from 7 a.m.–7 p.m. for crews from a production company and Walla Walla Community College to work on a historical film.

Weatherford scheduled a workshop on the morning of June 27 for Council, and staff. Council candidates and the candidate for mayor are also invited. The meeting will review the roles and responsibilities for each position. Councilman Jim Sueuga suggested they have some discussion about proper communication with the county and the public to which the mayor said he would add it to the agenda.

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