SNOWDEN COMMUNITY COUNCIL MINUTES
December 7, 2017
Cherry Lane Fire Station
Council Members Attending: Lance Beckman, Bob Connor, Timi Keene, Judy Kliesh, Tom Montag, Janet Turner.
Council Members Absent: Roger Gadway, Lloyd Olson Nine guests were present.
Meeting called to order at 7:00 p.m., official meeting called to order at 8:18 PM by vice-chair Timi Keene.
COMMUNITY FORUM: Four representatives from the Department of Natural Resources southeast region Wildfire Crew were present to give information and answer questions for the council.. Bob Marshall works out of the southeast regional office in Ellensburg in Prevention and Regulation. Formerly, he worked out of Goldendale. He has worked with the DNR for forty seasons. Paxton Stone, acting fire tech, handles permitting. Jordan Tsubota oversees five engines out of Goldendale and three in Husum. Anthony Dobson is a fire forester running three engines out of Husum.
They all spoke of the wonderful cooperation between the DNR and the local fire departments. Water supply had been a problem in the past, but now the two agencies work so well together that there is not a water supply problem. The DNR has the right to take water out of any pond, even if it’s private, because they are first looking out for the lives of property owners and then looking after the property. So, when a pilot looks down and sees a pond, he will go down and take the first couple of bucket-loads of water. Then staff will contact the land owner to see if they want that water replaced. They have the capability of pulling water out of a pond that’s only about three feet deep. The pilot has the capability of checking the depth before they go down.
All property owners are double covered for fire protection from both the local fire district and the DNR. Annually, the fee for the DNR protection appears on the tax statements. A base fee for 50 acres or less is $17.90. Anything above 50 acres pays an additional 29 cents an acre.
They also advised the council that the Department of Ecology is putting in place a burn ban as of tomorrow at 9 AM that will include no burning in wood stoves. This is due to the calm wind conditions that makes for heavy pollution. The only wood stove fires that will be allowed is when it is the only source of heat. If a DNR person sees smoke coming out of a chimney, they will stop to check to see if the homeowner is using a wood stove. And they would likely then try to talk the home owner in to replacing the stove with something else, perhaps something like a pellet stove that does not pollute as much.
The crew brought a county map indicating all of the property owned by the DNR. In every township the DNR owns section 16 and section 36. This was under the original land grant and the State of Washington saw to it that they, the DNR, can manage the lands, even when there isn’t any timber on the section. In that case they can lease land for agriculture purposes amongst other things. All funds generated by the land grants go to K-12 school construction.
MINUTES: The November minutes were approved on motion of Montag, and seconded by Turner.
TREASURER’S REPORT: The following report was approved: Beginning balance 11/2/17: $1,195.59 Donations: $27.00, Expenses None, Ending balance 12/7/17: $1,222.59.
Fire District #3 Report: The Citizen Advisory Council for Fire District #3 met with the Fire Chief this week. The main issue was the bond issue coming up. The time was spent on the budget and going through the capital improvement projects. They also toured the Husum facility which is in tough shape with crumbling cement and electrical services that need upgrading. The Cherry Lane station has bays that are not long enough to hold the equipment that they would like to have to fight fires in the Snowden area. Under the current circumstances the facility does not meet some OSHA regulations regarding walking space around a vehicle. They learned that the landfill funds could possibly be available this coming year and could perhaps provide some funding towards some of the projects. Keene advised that they should look into the time line and the process for applying for the funds.
Some of the Advisory Council members had several months of experience working on the previously-active task force, but some are new to the Advisory Council and need to be brought up to speed. There was a suggestion made that perhaps a Fire District Auxiliary should be started again that can help with things like helping to inform the public about the bond issue or perhaps something as simple as providing sandwiches, or running errands when the firefighters are engaged.
Sign: Keene reported that there is a bit of a road block at this time in that the agreement has some discrepancies in the requirements.
Well Monitoring Meeting: Lance and Judy Beckman and Lloyd and Debbie Olson and Tom Montag (plus with another Snowden resident) attended the water monitoring meeting in Lyle on Saturday, December 2nd. The meeting was put on by a company name Wellntel that has had some previous conversations with the county commissioners. Wellntell provides a device that easily attaches to the pump on a well and electronically tracks everything that happens with that well and pump and stores all of the information in the cloud. That information could be valuable to the individual landowner, but its larger value is when several landowners install the equipment to provide a larger picture of a particular area. This would help the county planners in providing factual information about water quantity and quality. The device cost about $500 to $600, depending on some options. Those attending felt it was a great device that they might consider installing at some time. The council talked about how to get this information out to the public. It was suggested that we ask Jake Anderson to come to the council meeting from time to time to talk about water issues. Jake is currently the county water monitor and he monitors 160 wells in the county.
Election of Officers: Elections will be held at the January meeting on January 4th.
Emergency Services Meeting: Steve Crothers and Janet Turner attended the county commissioners meeting. Commissioner Sauter had touched on the road issue so Crothers and Turner brought up the evacuation road issue and dovetailed it into the emergency services issue. Janet suggested that they put together a stake-holder group to meet with EMS manager Jeff King to talk about issues such as elderly or handicapped that are unable to evacuate on their own. Crothers and Turner then went to the road meeting in White salmon that same night with field notes about the actual current signage and how it is deficient. They felt we have a good chance with the Lyle-Snowden Road because SDS Lumber Company is also interested in the improvement. Other roads under discussion were Sleepy Hollow Road off the junction with Snowden Road and then Lyle-Snowden Road down to Highway 14. The commissioners are already interested in the improvement of Courtney Road.
Joint Meeting with Husum-BZ Council: Jake Anderson, chair of the Husum-BZ Council has requested a joint meeting with the Snowden Community Council. It was suggested that we wait until January to discuss this issue which may give us a better idea of what kind of winter we’re going to have.
Meeting adjourned at 9:16 p.m.
Respectively Submitted, Judy Beckman, Secretary Pro-Tem