ILWACO — Ilwaco is moving forward with the city’s watershed harvest project.

At its July 8 meeting, Ilwaco City Council authorized two agreements for the watershed harvest project. The city also passed a 2019 budget amendment worth over $2 million.

CREST agreement

Councilors authorized an agreement for the Ilwaco Watershed. The agreement is with the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce (CREST).

The agreement will help cover the city’s expenses for creating a stewardship plan, which is required by the Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative. The city will use up to $4,000 of watershed harvest proceeds to work on creating the plan.

“We need a detailed inventory of Ilwaco and Weyerhaeuser properties,” said Councilor Matt Lessnau. “What this framework gives us, it scopes the project. It scopes what we want and what we intend to do.”

Lessnau said the agreement will help the city determine which grants to apply for. Grant money would be used in the planning stage, not for timber acquisition, according to Lessnau.

Watershed harvest

Councilors also authorized an increase for watershed-harvest expenses. In March 2018, the council approved the project to not exceed $36,000. In April, councilors learned expenses would cost closer to $56,000.

At the April meeting, councilors approved a motion to accept a consulting contract for the project, but didn’t approve the required project increase to $56,000.

“There was a motion made to move forward with permitting but it was never officially cleared,” said City Treasurer Holly Beller. “I think the intent was there. There just wasn’t a motion made.”

Budget change

The council’s third and final decision of the night was to approve a budget amendment to the city’s 2019 budget.

“Twice a year, in early summer and again in late fall, we attempt to clarify for any expenses we had,” Beller said.

The amendment adds to the official final cost of projects to the city’s budget. Originally, the city budgeted for $3,444,707 to be spent in 2019.

The first amendment adds $2,623,328 to that original figure, for a total of $6,068,035.

Increases cover final figures for the Sahalee water and sewer project, Ortelius Drive improvements, and Whealdon Road improvements.

Costs also cover city hall renovations for the city’s rodent problem from last fall, Community Room maintenance costs, a welcome sign for the city park, and city employee raises.

“Many of these things, [Beller’s] brought up many times, so nothing’s a surprise,” Lessnau said.

Other news:

  • Planning Commission Chair Jon Chambreau said the commission can take on more work, as “we’re not being underworked.”
  • Chambreau also reported noticing brown water in his home on July 6. His is at least the second complaint about water since June 24, according to Beller. Mayor Gary Forner suggested the dirty water may have been caused by a fire hydrant that was removed.
  • Councilor Kristen Mathison suggested the city add more signage to advertise the Ilwaco Saturday Market. The market happens weekly from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on July 22. The meeting is open to the public and held at the city’s community room, 158 First Ave. N.

Alyssa Evans is a staff writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact her at 360-642-8181 or aevans@chinookobserver.com

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