The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Rodger Nichols
For The Sentinel 

City chooses new council member


Rodger Nichols

MAKING A POINT: Shannon Middleton speaks at the city council meeting Monday night. He was elected to the council to replace Len Crawford.

Goldendale City Council had a busy time of it Monday night with a packed agenda that included choosing a replacement to fill the vacant seat on the council left by the resignation last month of Len Crawford, who moved out of the area. Councilors interviewed five applicants: Terry Luth, Michael Goodwin, NamSun Whitner, Michael Kitchen, and Shannon Middleton. The council used a two-round voting system. In the first round, the six council members each picked their top two candidates. Of those 12 votes, five went to Middleon, four votes to Whitner, and three votes to Luth In the runoff between Whitner and Middleton, Middleton was a five-to-one vote winner. He was sworn in and took his seat on the council last night.

Klickitat County Commissioner Jim Sizemore was listed as a presenter on last night's city council agenda, but he said he came to listen rather than talk. That's because the three incorporated cities in Klickitat County-Goldendale, White Salmon and Bingen-have made an unusual request. They've asked commissioners to add a one tenth of one percent to the sales tax, with the proceeds dedicated to drug enforcement. City Administrator Larry Bellamy said the increase would mean about $45,000 a year in revenue to the city, and police chief Reggie Bartkowski said that his budget for the coming year is right on the bubble, with not quite enough to fund the ninth officer that he needs.

"Right now we have eight officers who are 100 percent covered in the 2017 budget," he said. "This extra $45,000 to $50,000 would solidify our number nine position, which I want to use as a drug detective." Bartkowski told the council that with eight officers he can patrol 24/7 and respond to calls, but he needs another person for surveillance, to run drug investigations, and to run a confidential informant.

County Commissioners can approve such a small tax hike without a vote of the people, but Sizemore said they are reluctant to do so without such a serious need. Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer, who attended the meeting last night, said he hoped commissioners would go for a three-tenths of one percent sales tax increase dedicated to drug enforcement, but that size would need to go to a vote of the people in November.

The Commissioners will meet on the subject at 1:45 on Thursday, July 21.

Good news came from the fire department. Chief Noah Halm reported that the Washington Department of Natural Resources had given the department a 100 percent grant for $78,273. The grant will be used to mount a 2,000 gallon water tank and pump on the five-ton truck the department got for free from the Department of Natural Resources in June. The truck will be equipped with "everything but hoses and hand tools" said Chief Halm.

The truck, a 2002 M-1088 Stewart & Stevenson 6 x 6 with just 4,500 miles on it originally cost the Army $167,000. Add that value to the $78,273 grant's worth of equipment, and the fire department ended up with $245,000 worth of rugged fast-attach fire truck for next to nothing.

Good news also reported by Mayor Mike Canon, who said he took part in a meeting with Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, and representatives of the Bonneville Power Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration, on concerns that the new Big Eddy-Knight powerline across the Columbia was erected without any of the big orange spheres on the line to warn aircraft of the lines. That issue was raised last meeting by local aviation expert Doug Herlihy.

"We made a lot of progress," Canon said. "And we feel that's all worked out, and they will take steps to get them up as quick as possible."


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