ILWACO - Long Beach Police Department Chief David Sexton reported on his department's activity during the past year Monday during the Ilwaco City Council meeting. LBPD's jurisdiction covers Ilwaco as well as Long Beach.

Sexton said 2002 was a "typical year." Calls for service in Ilwaco totaled 1,351 in 2002, compared to 1,415 in 2001. Sexton pointed out that a call for service is one "that can be handled by an officer on the spot, with little or no follow-up required."

Reports taken totaled 129 last year compared to 134 in 2001 and included. A report is taken, Sexton explained, when someone has been or is likely to be arrested for committing a crime or when property has been lost, recovered or damaged.

"Interestingly," Sexton said, "the combined populations of Raymond and South Bend are about twice the population of Long Beach and Ilwaco, but we take almost twice the reports and make twice the arrests that they do. On a statewide average, the six and a half LBPD officers take the same number of reports as a typical eight-man department."

During the council meeting, Mayor Ed Leonard announced that Si Robinson, a longtime member of the Ilwaco Timberland Library board of trustees, has stepped down. "His work and counsel have been greatly appreciated and he will be missed," Leonard said. People wishing to fill his spot on the board should contact Leonard.

Leonard also announced that Les Swensen has resigned from the city's planning commission. "Les brought a very valuable perspective and balance to the commission," he said. "His efforts on behalf of the city have been deeply appreciated." People interested in filling Swensen's seat on the planning commission should contact Ilwaco City Hall.

Leonard announced that March 2, 2003, is the 150th anniversary of "the birth of the state of Washington." He said the state will be recognizing all towns and cities that incorporated before 1889 and has ordered two highway signs from the state Department of Corrections designating Ilwaco as a territorial city to be placed at the two entrances to the town.

John Grocott, a volunteer with the Ilwaco Volunteer Fire Department, asked the council to consider paying someone to deal with the ever-increasing amounts of paper work at the department. "Standards keep getting tighter and there's more record-keeping every year," Grocott said. "We need someone to do it. The department is an asset to the city and we need to keep it that way."

Grocott said IVFD Chief Tom Williams has been taking care of the paper work and "he should be paid."

"The city has great needs and extremely limited resources," Leonard said, adding that the council would discuss the matter at its next meeting, Jan. 28.

Cathi Read of the state office of Community Trade and Economic Development, accompanied Skip Rand, representing the Rural Community Assistance Corp., to discuss the city's water and sewer systems and rates. "You have a lot of investment in infrastruction," Read told the council. "You need to look at rates and budgeting so you can keep operating."

Rand said that RCAC is one of six regional programs in the nation and receives federal grants to help small communities. He outlined a list of suggestions to help the city deal with its rapidly growing infrastructure. "All roads lead to the financial," he said. "The rate structure should be fairly divided in the community. Gentle raises are a good idea."

He said the city's water system "looks pretty good" and that comparison and data collection is important when setting rates. Rand also suggested replacing old water meters and testing existing water meters every 10 years for leaks. "It would pay for itself with the increase in revenue," he said. "Lots of water is lost to leaks. If they're fixed, the city automatically makes money."

And, city residents should be kept up to date about changes in the system and in rates, Rand said. "The community needs to know about this." He said new customers on the system should absorb the cost of hookups and comparing how much water is sold to what is produced "is a good idea."

Leonard announced at the last council meeting that LEI Engineering, who had been hired to design improvements and fixes to the city's aging water plant, "has been unable to complete the work we'd hoped to accomplish. We need to select a replacement firm as soon as possible."

Two firms submitted proposals to take over the work on the plant - Gray & Osborne, Seattle; and Gibbs and Olson, Longview. After some discussion, the council voted unanimously to negotiate a contract with the Longview firm. "We have to ask them the right questions and hold them accountable," Councilman Doug Hubbard remarked.

The council approved committing $5,000 to the Peninsula Learns to help pick up funding for the popular after-school program after a federal grant ran out. At the council's last meeting, it was noted that Pacific County had committed $15,000 to the fund and the city of Long Beach $5,000. Monday's vote assured that Peninsula Learns will have the necessary $25,000 to continue operation through the end of the school year. The funding is on a one-time-only basis.

The council also approved amendments to the city's budget that unanticipated revenues and expenditures made necessary and renewed contracts for the city's clerk-treasurer and utility supervisor.

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