After the obligatory motion to accept previous meeting minutes and spending $269,568 in claims and payroll, Mayor Dunsmoor added an agenda item to start the meeting that did not begin until shortly after 6 pm.
The added agenda item had to deal with the county's request for repayment of a loan, which provided radio and dispatch equipment for Pacific County Communications or PACCOM.
During discussion the council was still not fully understanding why they should have to repay the county for a loan that they did not request. The amount in discussion is just shy of $60,000. In earlier discussions on the topic, it was revealed that by signing up with PACCOM and agreeing to terms, the council automatically accepted the purchase of new radio equipment at an earlier date. The issue that the council sits with now is that the county did not advise the city that the loan needed to be budgeted for the current year until well after the city budget process had ended and the 2015 budget was set in place.
The council understands that they are in a hard place and that the loan will need to be repaid, but is frustrated with the process and is attempting to look deeper at budgeted items across all departments to see if any finances can be gained to put toward the loan. The council does have a little time before they have to make the hard decision as the first payment is not due until the end of the year. The items will be revisited in future meetings.
Mayor Dunsmoor pushed the agenda into Public Comment of which a couple of items were presented.
Tim Martindale of the Willapa Harbor Baseball Association stood to discuss the possibility of user groups (the football and little league families), taking over the park and/or the facilities at the Lion's Club Park (Stewart Anderson Field).
With the city looking at a deficit budget, they are all to eager to pass along financing things, like the park, to better stave off additional burden on the tax base. With a future commitment from user groups like the little league and football associations, to maintain the park, it was agreed that the city would look into the possibility to lease or sell the property to the groups, with a provision that if not used for the intended prescribed athletics, that it would revert back to the city.
Raymond City Attorney Will Penoyar met up with Martindale after the meeting to exchange information so that a draft proposal can be inked.
Dick Woods, representing the Willapa Harbor Lions Club, was up next requesting for a new city bench. The Lion's are looking for a way to memorialize and honor past members and thought that a new bench in the city would be a win-win for both the club and the city.
The council advised Woods that they would consider it and will look into suitable locations that may need an additional bench. The only other requirement from the sitting council was that it would be prudent to also have a trash receptacle be placed alongside the bench; as they tend to be a point of littering if not.
Woods additionally thanked the city with the help of relocating the Lion's Recycling trailer, now located at the 101 Quick Stop. He further mentioned to the council that when he went out to the city's website, it appeared to be very outdated. The council advised that it will soon be fixed and that people should go and have a look during the upcoming weeks.
The next actionable item was the second reading of the new Flood Plan Regulations, Ordinance No. 1835. It was motioned and approved to move the ordinance on to the final reading with now discussion.
Department Head Reports was highlighted by Raymond Fire Chief Todd Strozyk, who reported on the public restroom fire at the visitors center. The chief gave a brief description as to what looked like an intentional setting of "paper products" and that it did more smoke damage than anything else. The site has been cleaned and is ready for public use once again. The fire is still under investigation.
Raymond Chief of Police Chuck Spoor reported that K-9 Deko and his partner Officer Verbooman have finished certification and have already been put to work as a team, recently assisting South Bend in an investigation.
Public Works Director M. Dean Parsons brought to the attention of council a future city project that will run two years prior to a WSDOT project in the same area. The WSDOT project will remove anything that the city had done and it was suggested that the project along with the grant money set aside for the project be forwarded to WSDOT, which will do the work of the city as well. It was approved with little discussion. The public will be advised, in two years, when the project is slated to start and any disruption to traffic flow during the construction phase.
During Council Member Comments, Councilman Randy Flemetis brought out that a Riverdale resident had voiced concern to him about trees along the alley between Cedar and Larch streets. The very large trees running along a creek that runs the area have exposed root balls and look to be in danger of toppling over. Director Parsons noted that he would have city crews look at the situation, but advised that there may be little the city can do as it is also a salmon habitat for one, and the area is actually unimproved and is not directly the responsibility of the city.
The regular meeting went into recess as an executive session was held for possible litigation that will be put off until June 1. The session involved a grievance that the city council may have to arbitrate.
The next regular Raymond City Council Meeting is scheduled for May 4 at 6 pm in city chambers.