Town council welcomes new member, hears two requests
February 10, 2022
Members of the Cathlamet Town Council heard two special requests, welcomed a new member, and heard presentations from two parties when they met Monday.
Mayor David Olson also announced that because of a "health scare," the town hall office would be closed to the public this week.
The council appointed Kermit Chamberlin to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Council Member Bill Wainwright at the beginning of the year.
A Cathlamet resident since 2018, Chamberlin is a retired educator who has served on the town council and planning commission while residing in another small community. In his application to be considered for the vacancy, he said he was a member and chair of a board overseeing an historic unit of the national parks; he served on a commission advising the governor on juvenile corrections, and he has held various leadership positions in state and national education associations.
"Cathlamet is--almost--unique in character in Washington and faces some questions in both the near and long terms," he wrote. "I have long felt that members of a community, large or small, owe that community whatever time and skills they may be able to bring. If we each and all put some of our unique attributes forward in support of that community, it can't but thrive."
Council members heard requests from two persons to take action that would benefit the petitioners' properties and referred the requests to staff to supply more information and/or recommendations.
In one, a man asked the council to exchange a small piece of property along Fern Hill Road. A small, wedge shape extends from town property, and the applicant asks that lines be rearranged to square off the boundaries.
Council members wanted more information about the potential trade, and two of them, Jeanne Hendrickson and Robert Stowe, said they would want the applicant to cover all costs.
Town Attorney Fred Johnson said he would make a report for a future council meeting.
In the second request, the new owner of two cottages on 2nd Street asked the council to reduce her water and sewer utility bill because the cottages won't be occupied while she remodels them. The high monthly charge, about $300 per month, is very expensive, she said, and is delaying her remodeling work.
Town Clerk/Treasurer Sarah Clark said the charge is based on the Cathlamet Municipal Code, and there was nothing staff could do to accommodate the request, so the matter was referred to the council.
Council members had varying points of view. Stowe pointed out that the charge was the town's usual process for the situation, but colleague Laurel Waller felt officials should examine the situation because there are other properties with two residences on one lot that could be in a similar situation. The council voted to ask staff to provide more information about the situation.
In other action at the meeting, representatives of Southwest Washington Workforce described the agency's programs to provide employment services to employers and job seekers.
The agency has started a new program, the Quality Jobs Initiative, in collaboration with similar employment agencies in Oregon. Besides linking workers and employers, the program provides job training and support for workers. Service information is available in Wahkiakum County through the Health & Human Services Department employment navigator.