Montesano City Council Moves Forward

Lake Sylvia
Lake Sylvia

It was a stunning day in Grays Harbor yesterday, one of those impossibly clear, blue days you wish you could freeze-dry and stash in the freezer for a January re-visit. Bonus points: a Chihuahua-less Montesano City Council Meeting where some actual, real city business moved forward.

About two dozen audience members (excluding media and staff) were on hand as the meeting was called to order by Mayor Ken Estes. It included a moment of silence in memory of a former mayor. Council member Marisa Salzer was absent and excused. Salzer had previously requested that discussion of resolutions regarding the establishment of procedures to dispose of real property and surplus city property be postponed to the September meeting.

Some members objected, pointing out the need to conduct city business in a timely manner. Pat Herrington expressed concern that city business not be delayed due to one council member’s absence.  Pam McElliot and Chris Hutchings echoed Herrington’s sentiments.  Mayor Estes put the motion to postpone discussion on the two resolutions to a vote. Nays prevailed, the motion failed and discussion sailed.

Moving forward on the real property resolution, methods of advertising and the method of sale of such property were discussed. The method of sale is “to be established by the council” and may include verbal, written, or by auction. A lively back-and-forth between Ken Walkington, Chris Hutchings and City Attorney Dan Glenn took place over minimum bid and counter-offers. The resolution carried, with minor changes.

On the second resolution, Herrington voiced his opposition to surplussing any city property. A motion was made to table the reso until the next meeting so members can “talk to some people” and get a better sense of where their constituents are on the issue. The motion carried.

Kristy Powell presented a “first reading”of the Budget Supplement Ordinance, which included an “unplanned audit.” That puppy has cost the city $20,000 to date, may be more pending this afternoon’s “exit interview.”

An interesting exchange took place between Walkington and Hutchings about the merits of park user fees vs. a lease. It might be categorized as “teensy-weensy testy.” No spitting ensued.

The fun stuff at these meetings is usually reserved for public comments. Canine quibbles invariably erupt at this point. There are two opportunities for public comment on the agenda. Last night included two comments, one per period.

Schafer State Park
Schafer State Park

The first was from FOSLS reps who invited the mayor and council and everyone else to its September 20 Fall Festival at Lake Sylvia. The second was a question regarding the location of a soccer practice field for the six year-old age group (not to be confused with Club Chihuahua).

Mayor and Council Comments were largely upbeat and positive. Highlights:

Mayor Estes suggested families work on emergency preparedness and drills in light of the recent earthquake in California. He also reminded everyone about an upcoming Bulldog fundraiser.

Ken Walkington said he hoped everyone had a chance to attend the fair which was a “good event.” He expressed support for Monte Bulldogs and hopes info. gets out to the public regarding the lease vs. user agreement on parks use, so a good discussion can be had at the next council meeting.

Pat Herrington expressed appreciation to FOSLS for keeping Lake Sylvia and Schafer State Park going, offering kudos to volunteers for working “tirelessly” to keep Lake Sylvia open and accessible.

Council member Tyler Trimble pronounced National Night Out “very good.” Trimble also tossed in that interesting bit about him “take(ing) the blame” for the audit. Connect those dots.

Council member Lyle Powell echoed Trimble’s NNO comments and complimented the police and fire departments on their participation in the event.

And that, folks, is a wrap. Time to check the freezer.