Voices

Water system plan approved

Two public hearings, an engineering services agreement and accepting a grant for new playground equipment kept the Millwood City Council busy Monday night.

The meeting opened with a presentation by Ben Varela, from Varela and Associates, and a public hearing regarding Millwood’s updated $1.4 million city water system plan.

“This was a fairly efficient process because not a lot has changed since the last water system plan,” Varela said. “This is mainly an update of the last one.”

Varela’s plan provides for proposed improvements such as adding chlorination equipment, conducting a water rate study, and replacing deteriorated and leaking water mains at six different locations. It also proposes an exterior painting and interior inspection of the 110-foot-tall reservoir.

The Washington state Department of Health requires the city’s water plan be updated every six years. The DOH deadline for submission is June 15.

Following unanimous approval, Mayor Dan Mork said the city will look into options for funding the proposed improvements.

The council held a second public hearing and approved a preliminary six-year Transportation Improvement Plan. The TIP is required by the state to be updated annually.

The TIP’s estimated $742,000 in improvements include resurfacing Bridgeport Avenue next year and resurfacing Buckeye Avenue in two phases over two consecutive years. City Planner Tom Richardson said the city could pay for the proposed projects by allocating real estate excise tax into a designated fund. The city acquires 1 percent of the revenue from real estate transactions.

An amendment to the 2011 budget presented by Richardson included a $50,000 grant from the Department of Ecology for a Shoreline Management program. He proposed hiring Ray Oligher, the city’s intern, as an assistant planner to administer the grant’s program.

He also proposed Oligher undertake a project reviewing all the city’s utility accounts. Richardson recently discovered three billing errors. This included underbilling the school district due to an incorrect multiplier.

By law, the council is restricted to a five-day waiting period prior to taking action on any budget amendments. The council agreed to Richardson’s request for a special meeting to expedite the process of approving the amendment. The meeting will be held Tuesday at 5 p.m. in council chambers.

Matt Gillis from Welch Comer and Associates presented a proposal for a master agreement to provide ongoing general engineering services. The agreement outlines contractual terms between the city and Welch Comer, with each project executed through task orders.

“It allows us be lighter on our feet,” Gillis said. “There won’t be a quarter-inch-thick contract every time you ask us to come do something.”

The council also approved the master agreement.

The council approved an $8,700 Spokane Parks Foundation grant to replace the playground equipment in City Park. The city must commit $4,000 of its funds to use the grant.

Maintenance Manager Cleve McCoul said he is researching playground equipment options. He hopes to present designs soon.

During public comments, the spokesperson for the Save the Wading pool group, Shirene Young, asked what repairs were necessary to have the city wading pool operating this summer.

Maintenance Manager Cleve McCoul said the minimum requirement would be to hire staffing, along with a coat of paint.

Mork said he plans to meet with city staff to determine if the city can open the pool this summer.



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