Council adopts meeting change, tackles other issues
February 20, 2020
For the second month in a row, the monthly meeting of the Cathlamet town council on Monday reached the four hour length as council members tackled a variety of business items.
Next month may not have the long meeting, for the council amended the town meeting ordinance to establish two regular meetings per month, instead of one. The council will meet on the first and third Mondays, 6 p.m., in the DeBriae Fire Hall Meeting Room starting March 2.
In other business:
--The town opened the Butler Street parking lot to public parking last Friday, but on Tuesday, council members were concerned an agreement with a towing company might expose the town to costly expenses if a person refused to pay towing and storage expense.
Also, Council Member Bill Wainwright felt the towing should apply to all town parks when people abuse parking rules.
Town Attorney Fred Johnson said the agreement with the towing company was a standard agreement and the town would be liable for expenses only when a town official improperly ordered a tow.
The council tabled action for further study.
--The council passed an ordinance lowering the speed limit on Main Street from 25 to 20 miles per hour from the SR 4 intersection to the intersection with Columbia Street.
--The council tabled action on an ordinance banning possession of pit bull dogs in the city limits. Johnson had presented an amendment to the ordinance based on language of a new state law that would allow the dogs inside city limits if the dogs have passed an approved "good citizen test."
Wainwright raised two issues: First, the ordinance should be amended to ban rottweiler dogs as well, he said. Second, he suggested a change in language from "may" to "must" in a sentence saying dogs which have failed the good citizen test may be retested in a certain amount of time.
Johnson commented the language in the proposed amendment was taken from the new state statute. Discussion ensued, and the council agreed to delay action for further study.
--The council declined to write off $53,126.73 in unpaid ambulance bills from 2016-2019. At the council's January meeting, Clerk/Treasurer Sarah Clark presented data showing the town and the town's former ambulance billing firm had both failed to collect from patients or their insurance companies.
Many of the patients would be deceased or unable to pay, Clark said. Council members, however, were unwilling to write off the amount.
"Why should we let them off the hook," asked Council Member Robert Stowe.
""It's bad business to show as accounts receivable if they are viable accounts receivable," Johnson said. However, he added that the council could write off the amounts and still send the bills to a collection agency.
--The council agreed to pursue grant funding for an electric vehicle charging station. Council Member David Olson recommended the town partner with Wahkiakum PUD, Wahkiakum County and Port District 1 for stations in the Cathlamet area.
--Mayor Dale Jacobson introduced Cathlamet native David McNally as the town's new public works director.