The Chewelah City Council approved an amended Interlocal Cooperation Agreement with the Stevens County Rural Library District for the operation of Chewelah’s city library in 2013 at its Dec. 19 regular meeting.
The agreement provides that the city will allow the district to use and operate the library free of charge for three years beginning Jan. 1, 2013 until December 31, 2015. The city will also be responsible for the maintenance of the library and grounds, pay for all utilities services, and maintain liability and property insurance on the library.
In exchange, the library district will operate and staff the library 19.5 hours per week, pay for future library materials, pay for phone lines and internet access, and provide management staffing to the library as needed. Currently, the library is open 48 hours per week.
A special election will be held April 23, 2013 for city voters to decide whether or not they want to annex the city into the library district. If the voters do not approve the annexation, the interlocal agreement may be terminated by the district and renegotiated with the city.
If the agreement is terminated by the city prior to the end of the three years, the city will be required to pay a termination fee to the district equal to $33,000 per year, on a pro rated basis, through Dec. 31, 2015. Councilman John May, who opposed the agreement, expressed concern regarding the early termination fee, which could cost the city up to $99,000. City Administrator Mike Frizzell said that he could not foresee any reason that the city would end the agreement.
Councilman Nick Lasko was absent from the meeting.
In other business, the Council approved a primary public defender contract with Attorney Joshua Gilstrap for all eligible criminal defendants in city cases filed in District Court for 2013. The contract allows for up to 85 cases for the year. For his services, Gilstrap will be paid $15,000. Should there be more than 85 cases, the contract will be renegotiated.
Alternate public defender contracts were also approved for Attorneys Gary Weber and Michael Clay. The alternates will be employed in cases where there is a conflict with the primary public defender, Joshua Gilstrap. Alternates will be paid per case at a rate of $75 per hour.
Leases were also approved with Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital and Chewelah Arts Guild for spaces they occupy in the city’s Municipal Building. PSJH will pay 55 cents per square foot plus taxes and a 6 cent per square foot charge for electrical services. Total monthly rent will be $539.65 per month. Chewelah Arts Guild will rent their 86 square feet of space for services provided in-kind to the city, equivalent to $630 per year. The term of the lease will be five years, ending in March 2017. CA Frizzell indicated that the work the Arts Guild did on the Children’s Pavilion in the park will be considered as in-kind services to the city.
In announcements, Mayor Clancy Bauman said that there will be a open house for Shelley Redinger to be held Wednesday, Jan. 9 at noon in the Council chambers. Redinger, originally from Chewelah, is now the Spokane Public Schools superintendent.
Fire Chief David DeVeau reported that the volunteer fire department recently held annual elections and Larry Peterson was chosen as Assistant Chief and Troy Livingston was elected as a new Captain.
Bauman reported that the police department and fire department were both recipients of Spokane Tribe of Indians Impact Mitigation Funds. Police Chief Troy Anderson said that the $7,500 awarded to his department would be used to purchase two electronic speed reader boards. One board will be placed near the city limits on North Park Street and the other will be placed on West Lincoln Ave. Fire Chief DeVeau said that his department’s $1,500 will be used to help purchase a thermal imaging camera which will help firefighters identify hot spots and fires hidden inside walls more efficiently.
In committee reports, Councilwoman Krisan Lehew said that she will take over the management of the employee wellness program after Executive Secretery Tracy Ferrell’s position is eliminated at the end of this year. Lehew emphasized that she will do all that is needed to maintain the program and, therefore, the city’s insurance discount.
In audience comments, Chewelah Chamber of Commerce Vice President Teresa Shannon thanked the city for installing the winter banners on the city’s light poles. Councilman May noted how nice the city looks, especially the Main Avenue area downtown early in the morning with the tree and pole lighting.
Library Manager Kate Skinner thanked the mayor and city council for their work on the interlocal agreement with the library district. She also invited everyone to a library open house for long time Library Clerk Jay Andrews. Andrews will be leaving the library at the end of the year after 21 years of service. His position was eliminated due to recent budget cuts. The open house will be held Wednesday, Dec. 26, 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Thursday, Dec. 27, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 28, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cider and cookies will be served.
Justin Peterson announced that he will be holding a nacho feed on March 9 to benefit Inland Northwest Honor Flight.
By Jared Arnold
The Independent Staff