ILWACO - Mayor Ed Leonard's report to the Ilwaco City Council during its meeting June 9 included an announcement that he and the city's treasurer, Debbie Gore, had traveled to Seattle two weeks ago "to get a thorough financial review of the First and Howerton project, funding for the third cell for the sewer plant expansion and repairs to the city's water treatment plant. I think it was an extremely productive day," Leonard said.
Calling Chapter 8 of the Ilwaco Municipal Code, which adresses nuisances, junk, junk vehicles, litter control and weed control "byzantine," Leonard said he will be proposing changes to the ordinance "to provide a consistent method of adjudicating suspected violations. I have had initial discussions with our municipal judge and the city prosecutor," he said. "I will submit draft revisions to law enforcement for consideration."
Leonard also reported that the monthly reports on city construction projects are available and the First and Howerton report is posted on the bulletin board in City Hall.
Addressing the addition to the city's sewer plant, Ilwaco resident Mike Cassinelli told the council he was very concerned about the pile-driving that will accompany the construction at the plant. Work is expected to begin in August, which Cassinelli said is his busiest time.
"The noise will send people out of my RV park," he said. "It was bad enough to start work in July when we have only three or four months to make our money. I worked in construction for 35 years and I know how much noise pile driving makes."
Councilwoman Victoria Stoppiello told Cassinelli that since a shoreline development permit needs to be completed before work begins, "It's possible work won't begin then anyway."
Leonard then opened a public hearing to approve the city acting as the lead agency for a planning grant to be acquired by Grays Harbor Community College. GHCC President Jewel Manspeaker explained the grant will pay for a needs assessment "with an eye to expanding the current facility, programs and services for the area. I've enjoyed my relationship with the city," she said. "We want to move forward."
The council adopted a resolution to support the college with its grant acquisition.
"I've taken classes at Grays Harbor," Council David Fritts said. Councilwoman Shirley Burt said she had also taken classes and "we want to keep you," she said.
After a long discussion about Pacific County Fire Protection District 1 taking over Long Beach Ambulance Service, the council turned to discussion of the new streetlights to be installed at the First and Howerton project.
For several months, the purchase of the streetlights has been an on-again, off-again question. Now, Leonard said, the city has funding for the lights.
"When we were preparing First Street (for the First and Howerton project), we discovered the water mains were too high and had to be lowered," Leonard said. "Normally we would have paid for this out of our water fund. Instead, we confirmed with Community Development that we could use grant money. Doing so reduced the amount of money available for the street lights but left money in our treasury. It now appears that the savings we've made in the project will make some grant money available for the street lights. Any balance needed, we can get by shifting our water funds to the lowering of the First Street water mains and using the grant money balance for our lights."
In addition, Leonard said the city is billing PUD No. 2, and CenturyTel for work outside the First and Howerton contract totaling about $39,000. And funds for the project are owed the city by the Port of Ilwaco.
The project originally called for 23 lights but the city now will order 16 - four in town, three at the Port of Ilwaco boat yard, nine on Howerton St. and seven on Waterfront Way at the port. The lights cost $2,150 each for a bulk rate, adding up to $33,400.
The council eventually approved ordering the lights after a long discussion period during which Stoppiello told the mayor she was "tired of him presenting us with carte-blanche votes on financial matters without a reasonable report. We need more background," she said. "A critical need could come up and we won't have the money."
Leonard said he shared Stoppiello's concern. "I don't have all the answers, and if we wait for the answers we'll be in even worse trouble. The problem as always is the need for a decison without complete information." He added that he didn't get the information on the lights until the previous Friday.
A number of people expressed concern that if the lights aren't installed before winter, the city and the port areas will be very dark.