Council lowers sewer plan loan interest rate, reorders order of agenda
February 9, 2023
The Cathlamet Town Council on Monday passed resolutions establishing a policy for purchasing during emergencies, lowering the interest rate on the town's sewer plant construction loan, and modifying their meeting agenda format.
The first resolution gives the mayor authority to make expenditures and avoid bidding requirements during declared emergencies.
The second resolution replaces the town's first water plan loan with a new loan lowering the interest rate from 2.75 percent to 1.10 percent.
Clerk-Treasurer Sarah Clark said the change would save the town $400,000 to $800,000 over the term of the loan.
"I can provide an exact number once the payoff is issued," Clark said.
Mayor David Olson thanked Council Member Robert Stowe for finding the opportunity for the new loan.
"I think this was long overdue," Stowe said. Clark played an important role, he added. "I found it, and she pushed it through."
The council spent considerable time discussing a new resolution changing its order of agenda before adopting it on a 4-1 vote.
By existing resolution, the council meets twice a month. The new resolution would set the first monthly meeting as a "workshop meeting" by limiting other agenda items to only those that are time sensitive and addressing everything else at the second meeting.
Mayor Olson and Town Attorney Fred Johnson said the agendas also need to reflect changes in public meeting law.
Town agendas have listed periods open for public comment for items not on the agenda. Johnson reported that changes in public meeting law last year make it plain that the public can comment on council business at any time in a meeting, and in writing before or after a meeting.
The agendas should include wording stating that public comment isn't limited, Stowe said, After considerable discussion, the motion to adopt the resolution stating that agendas should include language giving a Revised Code of Washington citation concerning public comment and also stating that the public comment is allowed during council deliberations.
The motion to adopt passed on a 3-1 vote; Stowe, Laurel Waller and Jeanne Hendrickson voted in favor, and Kermit Chamberlin voted against it.
When asked, Chamberlin said the resolution and proposed order document were presented just before the meeting, and the motion to adopt was changed so often it wasn't clear to him what was proposed.
"I feel we're moving in the right direction, but that was a real mishmash," he said.