ILWACO — Two Ilwaco area trails could soon see improvements if the city of Ilwaco receives a grant for maintenance costs and secures an easement that would close the gap by connecting the start and end of the Black Lake Trail.

    On June 25, the Ilwaco City Council passed a resolution required by the Recreation and Conservation Office in order to apply for a grant from the agency’s Recreational Trails Program. Mayor Mike Cassinelli said the funds would reimburse the city for costs incurred through maintenance of the Discovery and Black Lake trails, as well as the purchase of a skid steer with broom and attachment. If the city receives the $60,000 to $75,000 grant, the city would be required to make a 20 percent in kind match.

    Councilwoman Vinessa Mulinix led the discussion on a proposed easement through the Esther Oman property to complete pedestrian and bike path around Black Lake. At the south end of lake on the west side of the old Ilwaco High School, the Oman property easement was reviewed in 2003 but the path connection project was never completed. At the time, it was negotiated as a revocable easement where the landowners could regain control of the property by providing notice one year in advance. Mulinix said that even though the offer isn’t an ideal permanent easement, it could be headed in that direction.

    The council also discussed an interagency agreement with the Department of Health to remove three deteriorating metal pipe culverts in the Indian Creek watershed.   Cassinelli said the culverts have created a barrier, preventing water sediment flow through the watershed causing a build up of sediment and organic materials that could, in time, negatively impact the efficiency of the water treatment plant.

    Designated as a high-priority project in the city’s 2011 Water System Plan, $30,000 in federal funding would pay for removal of the culverts, as well as resurfacing the ground into a stabilized open channel ensure proper flow of natural drainage.

    Councilman David Jensen asked the council to consider modifying the city’s policies for notifying utility customers whose accounts are past due. Currently, water, sewer and stormwater bills are due by the 20th of each month, though the city has given customers 30 days from the bill’s postmark date to pay their balances before they are considered delinquent. After 60 days, the city places a door hanger at the customer’s residence, giving them a 48-hour shut-off notice. Once service is shut off, the customer must pay a $50 fee to have it turned back on.

    City Clerk PJ Kezele explained that most cities have eliminated the practice of door hangers, as they are time consuming and a hazard for staff.

    Suggestions included making the bills due on the 25th of each month and declaring accounts delinquent if payment isn’t received on the first day of the following month, resulting in a $15 late fee.

    In other business, Evan Sutherland, a sophomore at Ilwaco High School, made a presentation to the council about his proposed Eagle Scout project. Sutherland said he would like to use paint and stencils to put either fish, anchors, or the IHS mascot on School Street to lead visitors to the high school. He also plans to make signage to direct visitors to the school. The council was responsive and the mayor suggested Sutherland meet with the city’s streets department to solidify a plan.

   

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