BREWSTER – City council member Tim Rieb served as mayor pro tem for the absent Mayor Art Smyth at the regular monthly meeting of the city council last Wednesday, Jan. 9.
Smyth’s absence prompted city clerk/treasurer Misty Ruiz to request that the 2019 city fee schedule on the docket for approval, be postponed until the council’s February meeting so Smyth could be present to weigh in on the issue. Among the rate increase proposals is another hike in RV park rates.
“Last year there was a large increase in the daily rate and a smaller increase in the monthly rate,” said Ruiz of the RV fees. “This year the monthly rate was increased by quite a bit.”
“He’s going to get all the complaints,” said Ruiz, expanding on her reason for wanting the mayor present for the schedule approval vote.
In a related rate issue, Sunrise Disposal requested a three-percent rate increase for Brewster residents this year. Ruiz explained that the basis for the increase came as a result of higher shipping fees at the county level.
“The county increased their fee by 10.4 percent and that translates into a three-percent increase for the Sunrise rates,” said Ruiz. “We did the math and it was about 50 cents for the customer for residential service.”
In a letter to the council, Sunrise advised that the county landfill rates will increase from $74 per ton to $81.50 per ton effective March 15 of this year. Sunrise also noted that it has worked to offer the lowest rates possible.
“We did forego a cost of living increase in 2019 while the CPI went up 2.5 percent,” the Sunrise letter said in part. “In fact, since 2012 the Consumer Price Index has risen 12 percent while we’ve only requested 3.1 percent increase in our rates.”
Ruiz added that the increase will not benefit Sunrise beyond just covering the added costs they will incur. Council member John Housden commended Sunrise for postponing increases in the past years and recommended that council approve the increase request.
In other business council members approved the Okanogan County of Governments (OCOG) Agreement that they deferred approving in past years upon the recommendation of the city’s legal counsel. City attorney Chuck Zimmerman wanted OCOG to add language clarifying potential charges and once that was satisfied, he endorsed approval of the updated agreement.
“OCOG is a group of entities that come together to form one voice,” said Ruiz explaining that the Okanogan Transit Authority, TranGo, is one of its achievements. “In the past Brewster did not have a voting voice in the absence of approving the agreement.”
Brewster Police Chief Nattalie Cariker requested authorization of the $3,300 annual fee the city pays to be part of the North Central Washington Narcotics Task Force Agreement. Cariker said she spoke with newly elected Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley who told her that one of his goals is to add another officer to the sheriff’s staff as a dedicated Task Force member.
Council members authorized the appropriation.
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