Waitsburg City Council Update
July 2, 2020
WAITSBURG—The Waitsburg City Council met Wednesday, June 24 via conference call. All council members were present. The council discussed the six-year transportation plan, local coronavirus relief funds, and other items.
The council reviewed the six-year plan as presented to them by city administrator Randy Hinchliffe. The plan, which starts in 2020 and ends in 2026, includes work on Main Street, Bolles Road, and city-wide maintenance. The total expenses over the six-year period is budgeted at just over $2.5 million. The plan is available to view on the city website, http://www.cityofwaitsburg.com
The Washington State Department of Commerce has set up coronavirus relief funds for cities with populations under 500,000. The funds are reserved for direct pandemic-related expenses only. The City of Waitsburg has few expenses to report, mainly meeting-related expenses like Zoom costs, which will be submitted to the Walla Walla County Public Health Department. Public Health is the area-entity that will handle fund disbursement. Waitsburg is eligible for up to $36,000 through the program.
The city council also discussed the Washington Military Department’s public assistance grant. The grant, which would help with some of the expenses related to flood damage, is a 75 percent federal, 25 percent non-federal share grant. Typically, with this type of grant, the city would only be responsible for 12.5 percent of the related expenses, but Hinchliffe explained that Waitsburg would be responsible for the full 25 percent under this specific grant. Hinchliffe said that under the agreement, the city would be responsible for roughly $240,000. He relayed that it is estimated that Waitsburg sustained roughly $8 million in damage, with much of that cost falling to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The board approved the grant application.
The council appointed Becky Huwe to the Planning Commission. Councilmember Karen Gregutt said she has worked with Huwe briefly and she was confident that Huwe would be a good fit for the commission.
Councilmember Newell said he observed business success with to-go options and modified serving, like the outdoor window at Ten Ton. Councilmember Romine said he has observed the same trend at other area businesses.
Councilmember Romine said that there have been many complaints about ATV and dirt bikes being ridden unsafely in town. He has informed the sheriff’s office, and they are aware. He hopes that the sheriff will ‘beef up patrol’ in Waitsburg.
Councilmember Gregutt asked for clarification regarding the fire chief position. Councilmember Romine said that they are currently accepting applications for a new fire chief, and they have only received one completed application.
Councilmember Gregutt said that the planning commission is looking at a moratorium on video signage. She said that at the time the video signage was erected on the corner of Preston and Coppei, all rules were followed. The rules have since been ‘tweaked just a bit,’ and the commission is working with the city to deal with the issue.
Councilmember House said that the Lions Club has canceled the annual salmon BBQ due to coronavirus concerns. Councilmember Romine, who is also a Lions member, said that many people have requested that the club continue to sell the tickets as a fundraiser.
The council approved the bills. The meeting was adjourned.