On August 24th, with all council members in attendance, the Winlock City Council meeting was off to a swift start.
With no matters of old business, Mayor Lonnie Dowell brought up the topic of Mayor and Council comments. At this time, Dowell turned the attention of the council to a sheet of paper that detailed "how much money the city has received in grant funds in the last 18 months." As he described the grants that they applied for, he notified the audience that the total they were given in "free money" was just over $9,000,000. This money was given to the City of Winlock to fix projects throughout the city. After thanking the grant writers, Dowell concluded his comments.
Following the mayor's comments, Council member Sarah Gifford spoke up. Her comment was turned to the previous topic of the Big Foot Proposal. As she continued speaking her admiration of the idea, she also stated she believed that they would need to "start smaller." Her fellow council members agreed with her comment and continued with the topic. While the council began to speak of money, the man who proposed this idea in the previous meeting, Michael Townsend, spoke up from the audience, "I'm not requesting any funds at all, I'll write all the grants myself." With this statement, Townsend continued that all he was after was the help of the council for approval. Continuing with his topic, Townsend updated the council of display ideas and reaching out to his fellow scientists around the world for more contributions. As Townsend went on, Councilman Aaron Mummert suggested that City Attorney, Erin Hillier, look over the proposal for further information and advice. With this suggestion, the council approved to let Hillier review this proposal and the council tabled this topic for further discussion until the next meeting.
At this time, with no further comments, Police Chief John Brockmueller came forward. Approaching the front of the room, Brockmueller told the council that there had been "32 calls of service in the last two weeks" to the city of Winlock. In his update, he announced that he had hired another officer, with 30 previous years of experience. Brockmueller then notified the council that the fire in Winlock, with the oil spill, was still under investigation. Finishing his update, he returned to his seat while the council moved forward into agenda items.
First on the list of agenda items were Denise Morlin, Winlock School District Counselor, and Boyd Calder, Principal at Winlock Miller Elementary School. Once at the front of the room, they told the council members of the new program they are starting at the Elementary School called "Kids at Hope." Calder told the audience and council that the vision of the program was to give the kids an adult that believes in them. Calder went on to say, "I believe every kid can be successful, kids deserve our best effort!" As Calder began to close his points, he read the pledge of "Kids at Hope." Stepping away from the microphone, Denise Morlin took her turn by starting with her background of working at Green Hill. "Years ago our kids were labeled "Youth at Risk", and so now we would like to reverse that and now our kids are "Kids at Hope." She also told the council that she hopes that at later meetings they can get community involvement for the kids, such as mentors. With her closing, she called her husband, Joel Morlin, who works at Green Hill, to the microphone to explain the idea of mentors. He explained that at Green Hill, the mentors are people who believe in and can coach the kids. After these three representatives spoke their points, Calder handed out "Kids at Hope" cards to the council members. Calder explained that these cards could be given to kids to "remind them how important they are."
Returning to their seats, the council called for Linda Goermans' Park Board update. Since Goermans was not in attendance, the council moved to the approval of sending the mayor to the IACC Conference. The only costs would be for the mileage and hotel. With this, the council moved to send the mayor to the conference.
Next on the agenda was the Water Sewage Repair Update. In this update, the mayor told the council that the sewers were working much better after the removal of almost "80,000 gallons of the sludge." Also, he updated that the Eureka One valve has been sucking oxygen in, which causes a cloudy look to the water. He assured the audience that the cloudy water was not toxic or dangerous, just that it has a bit of a carbonated taste if you drink it while it is still cloudy.
Closing the update of sewage and water, the council moved into the topic of Resolution 2015-07, which was a formality for funding an emergency such as the fire and oil spill into the creek. As Hillier told the council that all they had to do was approve this resolution, Council woman Barbara Pederson moved to approve the Resolution 2015-07. As the council agreed with her and no one opposed, the council continued onto the next topic of the Development Code Amendment.
Hillier told the council that this amendment was merely to update the current code to be "up to speed" with the state. After much discussion, they agreed to table the topic until next meeting.
Again, the council was faced with the topic of fireworks. Hillier notified the council that they were not in danger of legal issues with their choice for giving out just one license for firework sellers. "As long as it's open to any non profit that does business here, you're not in violation of anything. It's a business decision on your part," she reassured them. With Hillier's explanation, the council seemed to be less worried about the threat of being sued. Dowell moved forward to present a list of everything the Winlock's Lions Club does for the city and continued that he believed that by opening another fireworks stand, the city is taking away one of the Lions Club's biggest fundraisers. At this time, Mummert spoke up that he believed that there should be other fireworks stands open so that the community can choose where to buy their fireworks. "Let the citizens decide where they want to go," he declared to the council. With much heated discussion, the council agreed to discuss this topic after further research. With this, the council moved to the amount of days the lighting of fireworks should be done. It was agreed by the council that fireworks could be lit on July 2, 3, 4 and December 31. On July 2nd and 3rd, the fireworks could be lit from 9 am to 11 pm and on the 4th from 9 am to 12 am. Again, this topic was tabled until the next meeting. As this topic drew to a close, the council moved to approve payment of vouchers for just over $16,000.00.
With the consent agenda approved, the council adjourned to go into executive session, thus concluding this meeting until the council meets again on September 8.