Pateros seeks to fill council vacancy

City, fire district also seek more volunteers

— The City Council is still looking for one good man – or woman – to fill an open seat.

The position was vacated in early April by former council member John LaBree, who resigned when he moved out of town.

Since then, a few residents have stopped by City Hall to pick up applications, but none had been turned in as of May 22, Mayor Gail Howe said.

According to state law, the city has 90 days to appoint someone to the position, and after that the Okanogan County commissioners would be asked to step in to make an appointment.

“I want the right person to come forward, and we’ve got time yet,” Howe said.

The city’s fire department is also seeking more volunteers.

“We have had a number of them move or they work out of town, so during the day, during the week, we are short-handed on volunteer firemen,” Howe said.

“We have some high school kids, and they’ve been definitely utilized during the school day due to other volunteers being out of the area.”

Chief Jerry Moore said the department currently has 17 volunteers, and as few as three have shown up for recent daytime calls.

“We need as many as we can get, because not everybody can turn out for every call,” he said.

The volunteers work both for Pateros and for Douglas-Okanogan County Fire District No. 15.

“It’s a good way to serve your community,” Moore said.

In other council business, a beer garden has been approved for a late June motorcycle event in Memorial Park, located along Lakeshore Drive, Howe said.

A public hearing was during the May 20 council meeting, with no residents stepping forward to comment on the proposed ordinance drafted by the city’s attorney.

The council will review the ordinance again after the motorcycle event.

“My council is very good at not rushing into decisions, but they didn’t want to hold up this issue either,” Howe said. “I thought they were very smart in making that motion that way.”

Matt Horey, owner of the nearby Lake Pateros Motor Inn, is organizing the event in tandem with Bridgeport senior Tanner Varrelman and American Legion Post 97 in Brewster.

Part of the event will be the second annual Wounded Warrior ride, the proceeds of which go toward helping veterans who were injured in the line of duty.

Varrelman brought the event to Brewster last year as his senior project.

In other council business:

• The agreement with the North Central Washington Narcotics Task Force was approved for another year. The city spends $1,000 per year for that law enforcement service.

• The council also approved a resolution for Okanogan County 911 dispatch services, which included some amendments to the original 1994 agreement, Howe said.

In exchange for dispatch services for the city fire department and Emergency Medical Services, the city will provide firefighting services for area county land.

• Council member Ryan Greene was appointed to the city finance committee, filling the opening left by LaBree. Council member George Brady also serves on the committee, which Howe calls the most active.

• The newest water comprehensive plan is ready to be drafted, Howe said, and the city’s manganese issue is at the top of the list. The city is paying $32,000 for the plan, which is being created by the Spokane-based engineering firm Varela and Associates. It should be completed by the end of the year.

• The city will pay up to $3,500 for a resident income survey, a collaborative effort with Three Rivers Hospital, Okanogan Douglas County Fire District No. 15 and the city of Brewster.

The end goal following the survey results is to be able to seek more grant funding for projects. The amount each entity pays is dependent on how many households they each need to survey.

“We hope to be able to pay less,” Howe said.

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