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By Rodger Nichols
For The Sentinel 

City gets an earful from upset tax dollars groups

 

February 6, 2019

Rodger Nichols

ANOTHER YEAR, PLEASE: John Sprovieri, CEO of Auscrete, asks the Goldendale City Council Monday night for a year's extension to put up a building on the lot it purchased from the city.

The Goldendale City Council had a packed agenda Monday night in a meeting so long councilors had to vote to extend it past 9 p.m.

That meeting was preceded by a meeting of the event committee that turned contentious. Several groups who were used to receiving hotel-motel room tax dollars to help put on their events and to buy advertising to promote them found their requests reduced by the amount they planned to spend on advertising-the difference being given to the Chamber of Commerce with the idea that the Chamber could get more bang for the buck by negotiating bulk buys. That did not sit well with Julie Vance of the Brighter Goldendale Christmas Committee and Larry Lenoir and Dennis Schroder of Goldendale Motorsports Association, who said they were "blindsided" by the decision and were concerned that they would lose control.

That concern spilled over into the council meeting itself when there were some sharp exchanges between Lenoir and Schroder and Councilor Guy Theirault. During a scheduled presentation, Lenoir began "City Council Member Guy Theirault made what GMA considers to be a threat during November's GMA meeting and the video is available..." and was interrupted by Theirault saying, "Point of order, Mr. Mayor. I feel this statement is insulting and demeaning and should not be part of our meeting." This happened several times until Lenoir sat down, visibly frustrated, and Dennis Schroder continued, saying that of the $5,000 moved from organization requests for advertising dollars to the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce, 78 percent or $3,900 came disproportionately from Goldendale Mortorsports. He also said the Chamber should have had some figures to show that GMA events would be getting advertising worth at least what they would have paid on their own.

Chamber Executive Director Dana Peck said the idea was to increase the effectiveness of the advertising while lowering the cost by having a consistent branding and by taking advantage of efficiencies in scale by buying in bulk.

Council members did vote to schedule another event committee meeting at 6 p.m. on March 4 after the Chamber of Commerce has met one-on-one with individual groups.

In other news from the meeting, Goldendale Public Works Director Karl Enyeart announced his resignation. He said he has accepted a post as Public Works Director for Longview, Washington. Enyeart, a lifelong Goldendale resident, has been Goldendale's Public Works Director since 2013.

John Sprovieri of Auscrete obtained a one-year extension on his contract with the city. The original deal would have required the city to buy back the property he bought last year in the industrial park minus a 10 percent fee if he hadn't completed a building on the property in one year's time. That deadline is looming on February 28 and rather than return $90,000 of the $100,000 purchase price, councilors agreed to let him extend the deadline for one more year. Councilor Justin Leigh, who is a lawyer, suggested that he was essentially buying an extended option for free and thought perhaps the company should be charged an additional $10,000 if the building isn't complete in a year's time, but that did not get further support from the council.

Council members did agree to write a letter of support for Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer and his stand that I-1639 was unconstitutional. Councilor Leigh suggested that the letter be reviewed by legal counsel before it was sent.

Councilors also approved a number of spending measures which will be detailed in a story next week.

 

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