Council okays request to reduce utility fees, reviews proposed waterfront park plans
February 24, 2022
The Cathlamet Town Council on Tuesday reviewed plans for development of a waterfront park and found a way to reduce a property owner's utility bills while a residence is remodeled.
Council members and park design consultant Audrey West reviewed the latest iteration of park design and went over the planned phases for construction.
The phases of construction, said Mayor David Olson, would be financed largely by grants.
The first phase, West said, to take place this year, is to complete filling of the former sewer lagoon and install sewer and water lines before other construction begins.
Basically, the proposed design would have open space on the former lagoon bordering the Columbia River; the inland lagoon area would be a wooded, habitat restoration area. On the other side of Birnie Creek from the old lagoon, Strong Park would be upgraded to include a small amphitheater and a new raised walkway connecting with the present walkway that crosses Birnie Creek and the existing wetland.
In response to a question from Council Member Laurel Waller, West said the amphitheater would be oriented so that the audience would see the river behind the performer/speaker. Changing location could boost the cost by requiring more earth work, West said.
Council Member Robert Stowe commented that a suggested skate park and disc golf course are better suited for Erickson Park, which already has some skateboard facilities; Waller echoed the comments and commented that a bike trail could be added at Erickson.
West said the latest comments would be included in a completed master plan to be presented to the council in March.
After discussing applications of the Cathlamet Municipal Code, the council voted 3-1-1 to reduce temporarily the utility bill on a 2nd Street property.
Cate Magoffin has purchased a lot with two small houses on it; she said one is in such poor condition it must be gutted and refurbished, an expensive process that will take months.
Town Clerk/Treasurer said the municipal code allowed two possible solutions allowing a reduction in fees, or the council could reject Magoffin's request.
Stowe objected to a reduction, saying there are two residential units correctly billed as two units.
However, other council members said the town should work with customers. Waller moved to reduce the billing from charges for two units to just one while Magoffin was conducting repairs, and when repairs are finished, billing goes back to two units. Jeanne Hendrickson seconded the motion; Waller, Hendrickson and Kermit Chamberlin voted for the motion; Stowe voted against it, and Cecelia Raglin abstained.