CHELAN – Councilmembers, staff and community members recognized Councilman Cameron “Skip” Morehouse at the council meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 28 at City Hall. Morehouse served in the council seat for the past 12 years, providing a wealth of knowledge and input along the way. Chelan Mayor Mike Cooney gave recognition for Morehouse’s service to the City.
“Cameron taught most of up here, except Guy (Harper) I think he might have been here a bit before you,” he said to Morehouse. “But I believe it’s 12 years of public service of city council. Most people don’t get what 12 years of serving on council means, it means going to really boring meetings, not these,” Cooney joked, “but the time away from your family, the time that you spend on behalf of the City, the time on the education you spent doing while all of us never get together on all of the subjects, I think the one thing we can all get together on it that the time that you put into it, the effort that you put into it and the honest integrity that you put into it. So, congratulations.”
Mayor Cooney presented a plaque to Morehouse in recognition of the hard work put forth over the 12 years. “We have a great staff and they’ve always been helpful,” began Morehouse after accepting the plaque, “Mike (Cooney) and I have had good conversations and we haven’t always agreed, as I haven’t always agreed with any particular councilmember now or previously on all issues, but we’ve all come to some conclusion and the city’s been the better for it in most cases. Thank you very much, and I find it hard to believe 12 years have gone by.” Mayor Cooney took the opportunity to recognize one other individual that was not in attendance at the meeting. “(He’s) not one for public gratification and he’s been with us for 20 years,” he explained, “it’s Jeff Slater who runs our airport. There’s so many things that he has done,” he added, “he started off working up at the golf course, he then has been asked to do a number of things since he’s been here, shepherdding grants, running the airport, and helping with facilities. He’s an all-around great guy.”
After the recognizing Morehouse and Slater, the meeting continued on to the next item on the agenda, an administrative report on Solid Waste/Recycling Services. Cooney verbalized his excitement for the proposed revision of recycling handling, saying he feels it’s “a move towards a great improvement” Chris Bell, of Chris Bell and Associates took the podium and began explaining what conclusions have been drawn from previous meetings on the issue of the cost and increased materials in the current recycling depot. What began as a simple rate study bloomed into a rate study planning project, with the planners asking should the city continue the operations at the recycling depot or should the city look at implementing a curb side city wide collection program for recycling explained Bell. “The current depot, since 2014 has increased 54 percent, and this is a concern for the City because the City’s paying for the depot and it’s being utilized not only by city residents but by county residents as well,” he explained. The budgeted cost for the recycling depot is $226,000 according to Bell. The county previously assisted in the cost of operation for the depot, however due to financial hardships 2013 was the last year they contribute to the cost of operations. “The net cost over the years since 2013, and in 2013, was just a little over $80,000 to run the depot,” he continued, “that was the net cost, and what was bringing the cost down was revenue generated by the sale of recyclables as well as the contribution from the county, and over the last few years you can see the revenue has decreased and that has to do with the value of the recyclables slowly going down.” Through several meetings Bell stated that three main priorities have been identified, to provide waste collection services and be efficient and good servants, to adopt a formal city policy that reduction, reuse and recycling compost and materials were curable to disposal through landfilling, and to make recycling significantly more convenient, available and accessible for residents, businesses and institutions, as well as provide incentives to reduce waste. Bell & Assoc. set their program to meet these goals. In the new recycling program, the City would continue to collect not only the garbage, but the recycling, but would contract for transfer and transport of the collected recycle materials, which the City does not currently do. The recommendation was to close the recycling depot and implement a city-wide recycling collection program, city crews would continue to collect garbage and recyclables from businesses and residents. “Businesses would get weekly collection of recyclables using a roll cart or container depending on size needed, and residential customers would have recyclables collected every other week using 96-gallon roll cart or something smaller if they don’t generate that much,” Bell said, “and again, contract a carrier for transfer and transport to either take it to Spokane, where there’s a material recovery facility, or Tacoma where there’s another facility.” The basis for the decision, for city collection services, was that the City could control it. The idea was to get it up and running, and to a level of where the city could control it and be proud of. What’s the cost of the new program? According to Bell’s report, the cost is similar to what the City is currently paying for the depot. Right now, city residents are paying for the community to use the depot, but also for people out of the city, “so you’re subsidizing the recycling activities of other non-residents,” said Bell. “Is there any guess to what the percentage is of out of city residents that are using that?” asked Mayor Cooney, and Bell replied that he had spoken to an employee from Zippy’s Disposal who believed the percentage of out of city recycle is “pretty high.” The revised recycling program would allow the option for recycling to out of city limits residences.
Other agenda from the meeting included:
Motion Considerations for Wenatchee Valley Humane Society 2018-2020 Agreement, Chelan County 2018 Emergency Management Services Agreement, Golf Cart Lease Agreement, Gray and Osborne Professional Service Agreement for Sewer Lift Station, Gordon Thomas Honeywell’s 2018 Legislative Agenda, Legislative Priorities for 2018 City of Chelan, and a public hearing on the 2018 City Budget public hearing.
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