By Beka Compton
The Times 

Waitsburg City Council update

 

October 29, 2020



WAITSBURG—The Waitsburg City Council met Wednesday, October 21, for a regularly scheduled meeting. Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the council is meeting via phone conference. Call-in information is available on the City’s website, http://www.cityofwaitsburg.com.

City Administrator Randy Hinchliffe reviewed the second payment application for the Taggart Road Waterline/Extension project. The second payment included paving services on the new Hazelbaker Road and water line repair/replacement. Construction crews are anticipated to finish up this portion of work within the next week, and that the City should anticipate the third payment in November. The council approved the second payment for $216,134.68.

Council Member Karen Gregutt relayed concerns about whether the ditch around the project was sufficient enough to direct excess water and prevent drivers from damaging the private fields along the road. Hinchliffe said he and Gregutt spoke earlier, and he felt the slope was steep enough to prevent issues. Still, he would do a final walkthrough before the project was finished and will ask for more grading if necessary.


The council reviewed the application for the first payment on the sidewalk project. In the past few weeks, crews have been working to finish sidewalk construction at the end of West 7th Street. Crews have been preparing areas for construction across town, including on Kinnear, Powell, and Willard streets. Hinchliffe expressed hope that the weather remains warm enough for crews to finish the project. The council approved the payment of $30,759.20.


At previous meetings, the Council voted to approve a portion of the CARES Act money available to the City to be offered as grants to Waitsburg businesses. Only seven applicants applied for the $1,500 grants. Hinchliffe told the Council that the applicants had finished applications as well as the necessary supporting documents.

The City received a rough total of $55,000 of CARES Act money. Hinchliffe expressed that he was worried the City would have to give money back due to the small number of grant applicants and expenses incurred by the City buildings, including the library, did not quite hit half of the $55,000. Council Member Gregutt asked if another round of small business grants would be possible.

Hinchliffe said that another round was a likely possibility, but he was concerned that applications would be few; the City has until the end of November to distribute the money. City Attorney Jared Hawkins offered some insight as to how the City could go about the second round of loans if the Council chose to do it.


The Council reviewed Resolution 2020-709- the Hazard Mitigation Plan Update. Walla Walla Emergency Management requested the City adopt the changes in a resolution. The update would allow for more monitoring along Coppei Creek and the Touchet River. The Council voted to approve the resolution.

Councilman Jim Romine reported that there have been several arrests in town, and that drug activity has been ‘thinned down’ a little bit. He also shared that the D.W Morgan building, formerly the Bullseye Tavern, had sold. Romine shared with the council that the Millstone Cafe and Bakery had posted on social media that they would be closing their doors.


Hinchliffe gave a brief update on the 2021 budget, saying there is not much in the budget at the moment, aside from a road project. He anticipates the budget process to be difficult as the City deals with COVID-19-related revenue adjustments.

The Council approved the monthly city bills and adjourned. The Waitsburg City Council meets the third Wednesday of each month and is open to the public, currently through a call-in number available from City Hall.

Reporter’s Note:

The Times reached out to the owners of Millstone Cafe and Bakery and the business is planning on staying open, retracting a Facebook post made earlier this month.

 

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