Town council regroups for budget prep
November 22, 2018
With their clerk/treasurer out of commission, the Cathlamet town council is having to regroup and start anew in preparation of the town's 2019 budgets.
Clerk/treasurer Kerrie McNally became ill in mid-October and a took a trip to a hospital for several medical problems, from which she is recovering at home.
In the meantime, the town's budget preparation process came to a halt. The council normally meets with department heads and town staff to go over budget requests and anticipated revenues to prepare proposed budgets. That didn't happen with McNally ill, so when the council met Monday for their anticipated initial vote, there was nothing to consider.
To compensate, Mayor Dale Jacobson has engaged retired Clerk/treasurer Sylvia Costich as interim clerk/treasurer.
Costich said she won't have access to the town computer system until Wednesday, and she'll go to work then, with the goal of having something for the council to consider next week.
Consequently, the council recessed the Monday meeting to next Wednesday, 3 p.m., in the De-
Briae Fire Hall meeting room to undertake budget considerations. They anticipate continuing those discussions December 3, with final action at the council's December 17 meeting.
In other business Monday, the council agreed to adopt a code of conduct for council meetings.
Council Member Sue Cameron proposed the code, citing acrimonious exchanges that have occurred in previous meetings this year.
"This is taken off of information we get at our trainings," she said. "Personally, if I have to sit through another meeting like last time, I'm not sure that I could sit through it all."
"Well, respect is earned," responded Bill Wainwright from the audience. "You were getting candid feedback."
The council accepted the recommendation of town attorney Fred Johnson to adopt the code by resolution. In that manner, it would become a permanent part of the council meeting protocol.
The code includes points such as waiting turns to speak, refraining from interruptions and avoiding personal attacks and vulgar or inflamatory language. Constructive criticism will be welcomed.
In yet other busness:
--The council expressed interest in revising the interlocal agreement with Wahkiakum County Health and Human Services for use of property in Erickson Park as the Wahkiakum Community Garden. Town staff have pointed out that the garden consumes a lot of water, and the town receives no compensation.
--The council authorized Mayor Dale Jacobson to sign a contract with the engineering firm Gibbs and Olsen for design of water main expansion along the end of Columbia Street.
Public Works Director Duncan Cruickshank said there are two possible designs. One would follow Columbia Street all the way to SR 4, offering access to undeveloped property and costing an estimated $675,000. The other would cut away from Columbia Street and traverse private property, limiting access for maintenance and system expansion but costing an estimated $500,000.
Council Member Ryan Smith commented he would prefer the first design because it would accommodate growth, and other council members concurred.
Gibbs and Olsen engineer John Hinton was present and said he could provide more accurate numbers for the council to consider in their budget deliberations.
--The council voted to increase the town's tax levy 1 percent, the maximum allowable without going to voters in an election. The 2018 levy was approximately $76,000.