ILWACO - During a workshop and their regular meeting Monday night, Ilwaco City Council members met with Gary Kobes, the project manager for the Community Building renovation and the Ilwaco Fire Station rebuild projects. Neither project is trouble-free.

According to Kobes, one of the major concerns for the fire station rebuild lies in the hands of the insurance company, which provides coverage through the Association of Washington Cities. As of now, the insurance company says code upgrades included in the building plans aren't necessary and doesn't feel the upgrades should be covered. Most of the code upgrades are primarily of safety concern - some of which are under Washington Administrative Code.

"One thing we will be fighting [the insurance company] on is code issues," said Councilor Mike Cassinelli.

As plans for the Ilwaco Community Building continue to progress, council also approved a contract for a demolition/remediation consultant, who will oversee the removal of lead paint, asbestos and other hazardous materials in a correct manner. Originally $25,000 was budgeted for such purposes, but Kobes advised that $17,000 would be sufficient. The demolition bid documents are expected to be ready in early January.

After Kobes prepared a lease for PACE's temporary placement during the Community Building renovation, PACE sent the city a copy of their own revised lease, which asked the city for prorated utilities due to low funding. Several council members expressed distaste for the request since the process has been very time-consuming already.

"Dale Jacobson [a PACE board member] came and asked for money to move them and now they don't want to pay for the utilities they use?" asked Cassinelli, who felt the request was "a slap in the face."

Councilor Fred Marshall agreed by saying he took offense to the request, which "has become a nitpicking ordeal."

Mayor Doug Hubbard said that he met with PACE representatives to discuss the request and said PACE doesn't want to pay for two places after they move into the new community building.

Hubbard added that the meeting was "very cordial." Council members agreed that being cordial wasn't part of the issue.

Council approved the lease amendment four-to-one, with implication that they simply did not want to have to deal with the issue any further.

In other business, council approved the proclamation to recognize the 30th anniversary of the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program.

Deciding on paydayCity Treasurer Melissa Busby presented council with a resolution that would give city employees two pay periods per month, instead of having to take a draw halfway through each month. Busby suggested that the employees receive paychecks on the 15th of each month and the last day of the month. Councilor David Jensen said that while it was a good idea to break payments into two checks, he felt that the paychecks should be distributed on the 5th and the 20th of each month, since it is "standard business practice."

Hubbard noted since Busby is responsible for putting together the paychecks, that the resolution is acceptable as long as it works well for her. Jensen stated that while distributing the checks midway through the month and at the end of the month might be convenient for Busby, it might not be for the person who serves as treasurer after her. The resolution was passed.

In his staff report, Long Beach Police Chief Flint Wright stated PACNET served two successful search warrants in Ilwaco Monday.

"It was a great bust and a great example of your tax dollars at work," he said.

In council reports, Cassinelli reported there will be a Discovery Trail workshop with the Ilwaco Merchants Association on Nov. 30. Also on Nov. 30, an "Election is Over" party will be held at the Sea Hag.

Marshall reported progression on the Beards Hollow overlook project.

In his report, Mayor Hubbard reminded council and the public of upcoming National Heritage Area feasibility study workshops and announced that the FEMA-funded Vandalia road and drainage improvement project is now finished. He also said that he will serve at a judge at Saturday's lighted boat parade and that city crews would be hanging Christmas lights throughout town this week, weather permitting.

A budget workshop is scheduled for this Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.

Council members sent well wishes to former Sheriff Jerry Benning, who suffered a serious heart attack over the weekend. They also expressed sympathy for the family of the late George Blakeslee, a dentist who practiced in Ilwaco.

"He was a great man," said Councilor Ron Willis. "If you didn't know him, you missed out."

Public hearingsIn other recent business, a public hearing was held for a 2008 property tax levy ordinance that would require a 1 percent increase for the whole city. No one signed up to speak during the public hearing and the ordinance was approved.

Another public hearing was held for a resolution for a Community Development Block Grant. No one signed up to speak and council approved the resolution.

City Treasurer Melissa Busby presented council members with an ordinance for the 2008 water and sewer revenue bond. Busby explained that the city received additional funding through The Bank of Pacific. With a 20-year, 5 percent interest loan, Busby said the city would be able to complete both Baker Bay stations. Council approved the ordinance.

Hubbard announced that all but 15 of the radio read water meters have been installed in Vandalia and that the city expects to start installing them in other parts of town early next year.

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