The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
the Times 

Dayton City Council Update

Wastewater treatment, fireworks, and trees are among agenda items


DAYTON— On May 28, City Administrator Trina Cole attended a meeting with representatives from the state Dept. of Ecology, the Washington Water Trust, the Confed. Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), local water resource officials, and Jake Hollopeter from Anderson Perry & Assoc., to talk about a new direction for the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Wastewater Treatment

Instead of offsite application, which is currently being proposed and planned for by the city, the Tribes would like to see the water somehow discharged back into the Touchet River.

The Tribes would provide the Washington Water Trust with funds in order to have increased water in the Touchet River, and will authorize Washington Water Trust to work with the City to accomplish that, Cole said.

The state Department of Ecology had given the city a deadline of Dec. 1, 2021 for getting effluent out of the Touchet River, but has since assured the city that there will be no penalty so long as the city is working toward a solution.

Cole said a small task force will be created on July 3 to perform a scope of work, and a hydrology study will be done to see if flood plain by design or wetland distribution could be an option for getting water back into the river.

She said the scope of work will be submitted to the Tribes for their consideration.

The prospect of bringing water resources and water quality divisions together, for what could be a new state pilot program, is exciting, Cole said.

However, there are conflicting laws regarding effluent, and pulling water out, or leaving water in, having to do with water rights and contamination, and so legislative changes will be required, she added.

Cole said the city has a million-dollar loan through the Public Works Board, and 30% of the construction money for the new wastewater treatment plant will be allocated to the city by June, 2020, which is problematic if the city changes direction.

She said there is a need to see if those funds can still be used, and if there is additional money available.

Councilwoman Delphine Bailey said that while she supports the idea, she is concerned about conversations the city has had with local landowners who have been approached about purchasing their land for the new wastewater facility.

Other council news

The engineering is almost completed on the East Clay Street project and the project will be going out for bid, Cole said.

Right of Way boundaries for N. Front St. and Cherry St. have been performed and property owners will be informed, Cole said.

Councilman Dain Nysoe said the Safety Committee has discussed the possibility of restricting fireworks this summer, if conditions warrant.

Last year the city council passed an ordinance restricting fireworks, because of the dry conditions, and this could happen again if the fire marshal makes a determination to do so, he said.

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Nysoe said.

The Tree Committee is in the process of sending out Request for Proposals for a consultant/contractor, and will establish a routine maintenance schedule, including inspecting some tree root systems for viability.

Cole said the city is getting ready to advertise for staff to replace Mike Bowhay who is retiring from the city after 33 years, and to provide additional help in the Public Works Dept.

Sheriff Joe Helm said the Sheriff’s Department is still working to restructure the Search and Rescue Program.

“The Citizens Academy helped a lot, but we’re still promoting,” he said.

Helm said training will be provided in July for the Search and Rescue Program.

Mayor Pro-tem Zac Weatherford said the council is looking into forming a committee to help with safety improvements on Main Street, from the Blue Mountain Station to Patit Creek. The committee will work with the Sheriff’s Dept. and the state DOT on that.

Weatherford said a propagation study on water meter automation is in the works. The city will see if water meter automation is feasible, he said.

He said June utility bills were late due to a software glitch, but are not considered overdue until June 25.

“I want to let everybody know they are in the mail,” Weatherford said.

Planning Director Meagan Bailey said there were thirteen new permits issued in May, one of which is for a single family dwelling on S. 4th St.

Bailey said there were eighteen inspections by her department, in May.

She said there is one opening on the Dayton Planning Commission, and a change in the Commission’s meeting schedule, beginning in August. Meetings will be held on the fourth Tuesday of the month, instead of the third Tuesday. There is no Planning Commission meeting in June.

Bailey said the Comprehensive Plan Update was submitted to the state on May 28.

“We should see a public hearing with the Dayton Planning Commission in September and adoption of the final plan in October,” she said.

Bailey discussed post-adoption plans and said she would like to create a city-wide improvement plan, breaking the city up into neighborhoods and developing focus groups, to find out what individual neighborhoods really need.

“I think it would be really beneficial to the residents to get that hands-on involvement,” she said.

Bailey is working on a variance application for Seneca to eliminate 100% of the side yard set- back on the Washington Avenue side of the main operation.

She also said the Dayton hearing examiner is retiring and a committee will conduct a search for a new hearings examiner.

“I don’t think we will have a problem getting that position filled quickly,” she said.

Bailey said she has received a nomination for the Sherwood Trust Leadership program and she is in the process of considering it.

The council took the following action:

Adopted an ordinance vacating the right of way over the alley located within Block 8 of Day’s Railroad Addition, to Dayton, situated between Lot 1 and Lot 16 in Block 8 of the railroad addition.

The council approved a resolution terminating the code compliance and planning contracts with Columbia County. (Full story in the June 20 edition of The Times.)

The city council also approved Delphine Bailey as Mayor Pro-tem.

The next regular meeting of the Dayton City Council is July 10, at 6 p.m. at the Dayton City Hall, at 111 S. 1st St.


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