From the Mayor's Desk - April 2014

Spring is here, according to my calendar at least, and the weather does seem to be getting a bit more pleasant. Other indications include trees and flowers starting to bud and the sound of lawn mowers in the air.

While the onset of spring is lifting our spirits here in City Hall, we are also dealing with some sadness caused by the resignation of Annette Taylor, one of our Deputy Clerks.

I want to personally thank Annette for all she did for our city, particularly her work in cleaning up years of court records in preparation for the transfer of the city’s municipal court to Skamania County’s District Court. Her diligence and efforts were instrumental in making that transition as seamless and straightforward as possible and I will be forever grateful to her for her help. We’ll miss her smile, calm demeanor and good humor here in City Hall and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

On another subject, I want to thank our City Council for approving the recent increase in our utility rates. I know none of us want to pay more for much of anything these days but the fact of the matter is our sewer system has a number of issues we must address. The main wastewater treatment plant was recently rebuilt and upgraded but there are three original lift stations that are over thirty years old and need to be replaced. We are currently seeking a grant to help us pay for these replacements. One of the criteria used in awarding these grants is evidence the grant applicant is doing their best to operate the sewer system on their own. This includes ensuring utility rates accurately reflect the ongoing costs of operating and maintaining the system.

Our Public Works crew does an exemplary job of keeping our wastewater system up and running but the aging lift stations require more frequent attention and this situation will only get worse until we are able to replace the lift stations.

In the meantime, I’ll take this opportunity to remind you that just because a product claims to be “flushable” doesn’t mean it really is. I’ll spare you all the gross details but if you’re interested you can go to Google or YouTube and search for “flushable problems” to see the results of “flushable” wipes, diapers, cat litter and the many other products that Madison Avenue would have us believe are actually designed to go down a drain when in fact they aren’t.

I hope you’ll help our Public Works crew by thinking about some of the things you currently put down a drain and instead will put them in the trash where they belong. If we aren’t part of the solution, well you know what that leaves.

If you have any questions, suggestions or ideas please let me know. I can be reached by email or by phone at 427-8182.