ILWACO — What do Black Lake, law enforcement, sewage and the Planning Commission all have in common?

They were all focuses of Ilwaco City Council’s Feb. 11 meeting.

Ilwaco City Council’s next meeting is 6 p.m. Feb. 25. A council workshop on the city’s Growth Management Act will be held at 4 p.m. Both the workshop and meeting are open to the public at the city’s community room, 158 First Ave. N.

Black Lake property acquisition

Councilors authorized Mayor Gary Forner to make an offer to purchase real estate. The privately owned property for sale is located at Black Lake near the trail and boat launch area.

If the city purchases the land, it will add picnic tables, explore the possibility of making the main trail accessible under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and possibly expand the park.

The city will use $36,000 from its tourism revenues for the purchase. Ilwaco incorrectly received the money in 2012. The city has since kept the money in its reserves.

Law enforcement contract renewal

Councilors passed a police department contract between Long Beach and Ilwaco. The contract is good until 2021.

The last contract update between the two cities was for Jan. 1, 2004 to Dec. 31, 2005.

“I’ve been working with the mayor of Long Beach catching up with contracts and that kind of thing,” said David Glasson, Long Beach city administrator. “We tried to keep it as similar to the last one as possible.”

The contract is for $261,458 and covers Long Beach Police Department’s seven officers.

“Even though it’s a large portion of your budget, it really isn’t out of line,” Glasson said. He noted that Ilwaco pays less for law enforcement services than Long Beach, Raymond, South Bend and Pacific County.

Forner asked LBPD Chief Flint Wright if it would be possible to have officers track the number of hours they spend in each city. Wright said LBPD views the two cities as one community and acts as such.

“We don’t track hours and I don’t intend to. That would be a huge mistake,” Wright said. “We’re down here as much as we want to be, as much as we need to be. We handle issues exactly the same between the two cities.”

Wright emphasized the value Ilwaco gets from LBPD and encouraged the council to call him if they ever have questions or concerns.

“I’ve been especially happy as a citizen in our city with your efforts in the city,” said Councilor Kristen Mathison.

Before the council moved on to other business, Councilor Kenneth Sprague questioned whether the council could address a contract update at the end of 2021 “instead of waiting 10 years like last time.”

Grinder pump system maintenance

Councilors authorized Forner to enter into an agreement for city grinder pump system maintenance.

The city’s Sahalee water and sewer improvements project included the addition of 39 grinder pumps to the city’s sewer system. The city is responsible for system maintenance.

The company, Correct Equipment, will inspect the pumps annually and handle any issues that come up with the pumps. The company also has a guaranteed service response time of under four hours. The contract will cost the city $5,000 per year.

Councilors Jared Oakes, Matt Lesnau and Mathison questioned whether the city needed to maintain a contract with the company that installed the pumps. The councilors questioned whether the city could instead not maintain a contract and only contact the company when incidents arise.

After Oakes asked City Treasurer Holly Beller to do more research on the contract, Forner suggested the council table the issue until its next meeting. Before the council moved on to other business, Glasson clarified with councilors that they were misunderstanding the contract.

“You’re paying for them to come out within a four-hour window,” Glasson said. “Sewer backups are very expensive. You’re not paying for the warranty, you’re paying for them to come fix issues quickly.”

Ordinance rescinding interfund loan

Councilors adopted an ordinance, which rescinded another ordinance. In December 2018, councilors passed an interfund loan to cover the possibility of the city not having enough funds in its wastewater fund. The loan wasn’t used because the city received a loan reimbursement on Dec. 31, 2018.

Councilors adopted the ordinance so the city would have on its record that the loan was never used.

Hearing examiner ordinance

Councilors passed an ordinance which allows the city to hire a contracted hearing examiner.

At the council’s Oct. 22, 2018, meeting, councilors authorized Forner to draft an ordinance which adds the hearing examiner position.

“I got a few calls about code enforcement today so maybe we’ll be using this sooner than later,” Forner said.

The hearing examiner will act as a neutral party between the city and other parties for issues such as land use decisions.

“I think at this point we’re saying there’s a solid need for a hearing examiner in the city of Ilwaco,” Oakes said.

Planning Commission

Councilors passed two ordinances regarding the city’s Planning Commission. The first ordinance creates the role of a councilor liaison. One councilor will attend commission meetings regularly as a way to “have better communication” between the two parties, Oakes said.

There are a variety of instances where the councilor shouldn’t participate in the commission meeting to avoid appearance of fairness issues, according to Josh Stellmon, the city’s attorney.

The ordinance barely passed, with Mathison voting nay and Sprague abstaining from the vote.

“The appearance of fairness is what concerns me,” Mathison said.

The second passed ordinance allows the commission to not meet nine times a year, as is currently required by the city’s municipal code.

“The code currently says the Planning Commission will meet nine times a year,” said Jon Chambreau, the commission’s chair. “Most meetings are cancelled because there is no business. This is merely to acknowledge reality, which is always a good thing.”

The commission meets at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month at the community building.

“We’re open for business. We work at your behest,” Chambreau said. “We work for both the city and the City Council, so have at it.”

Regional biosolids treatment plant

Councilors heard an update on the regional biosolids treatment plant from Glasson. The project is scheduled to go to bid at the end of March, with construction starting in April, Glasson said.

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

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