Montesano City Council Hits Summer Running

Montesano City Sign

Tonight’s Montesano City Council lasted about 90 minutes. But a whole lot of Lot was crammed into those minutes.

The council covered everything from a six-year street resolution and a request to approve a commercial thinning log sales contract to Manke Lumber (both passed unanimously), to a discussion of a strategic plan, possible cemetery improvements/a columbarium, and an initial cut at a social media policy.

Community Development Director Mike Wincewicz presented proposed improvements to the cemetery. These may include a flag pavilion with three flags (U.S., Washington State and POW/MIA), eventually to grow into four to five service flags, and the construction of a black granite columbarium. The columbarium, he said, represents a “smaller footprint” solution to putting friends and family members to rest. He estimated the cost for the flag pavilion at about $15K. The cost for the columbarium and clearing is also about $15K. Funding for both is in the cemetery fund.

City Administrator Kristy Powell asked the council if they wanted to move forward with the project. Council member Tyler Trimble indicated he liked the idea but was unsure about the timing. Council member Ian Cope concurred. Watch for a re-visit. More info. will be brought to the council and the public as it becomes available.

An initial draft of a social media policy was presented and discussed. Most of the questions revolved around having a single person or administrator responsible for managing the city’s social media presence en toto, or allowing multiple administrators to manage multiple accounts (one for fire, one for police, etc.).

Council member Trimble said, “This is a direction we need to go in” and that the city needs a structured social media presence. He suggested other departments have their own sites in addition to one for the city as long as departments follow set policies and procedures.

Council members Chris Hutchings and Ian Cope voiced opinions that the city is small enough that it probably doesn’t need multiple social media accounts/pages. Cope emphasized the importance of consistent messaging and speaking together with one voice, keeping lines of communication open, and avoiding mixed messages.

Fire Chief Corey Rux emphasized transparency and the importance of being able to put out a message quickly “in real time.” without having to go through multiple layers. He said content has to go through him before it gets posted.

City Administrator Kristy Powell discussed retention of records.

Council member Ken Walkington said social media is about interacting with citizens. He asked the audience for input about what they’d like to see from the City of Montesano on social media. (Folks, get those cards and letters, calls and emails ready. Here’s your chance to chime in.)

City Attorney Dan Glenn asked that three things be kept in mind when considering adopting a social media policy: 1) What are the purposes and scope of use? (Information vs. public comment?); 2) Accountability? (Who’s responsible?); and 3) Public records requirements. “It’s not going to be easy or cheap,” he said of the latter.

Watch for some fine-tuning and a revisit.

And oh yeah. Watch for more discussion about a Strategic Plan. Good solid start. This could get interesting.

Oh yeah, again. Be careful with those Independence Day celebrations. As Chief Rux pointed out, the unseasonably dry, warm weather = a fire hazard. So please take the weather and other factors into consideration and kindly avoid any fireworks stupidity this Fourth of July.

Meanwhile, it’s a beautiful evening. You still may still have a few minutes to go outside and play – if you’re a night owl. Stay safe.