Wykoff City Council accepts school land

By : 
GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY
SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE

Wykoff’s City Council gathered for its second meeting of the year, with no old or new business on the agenda, as the council reviewed the land transfer from school to city, continued discussion on a custodial position, heard several reports and agreed to one request from the public.  

The main point of discussion was the transfer of ball field and playground land from the Kingsland School District to the City of Wykoff. The school district offered it as a donation to the city after its Wykoff building closed, but also required the city to pay $2,175 for surveying. Wykoff officials said they thought the only costs would be transfer fees for the title, leading to the feeling they were misled.

“We accepted and decided to pay the bill in the interest of the city being able to use the land,” said city clerk Becky Schmidt about the decision. “The playground also had not been maintained per guidelines and there are no maintenance records so that will be an additional cost to the city to get them up to standards.”

Several reports

Reports from department operators and committee heads were the order of the evening, beginning with wastewater treatment plant operator Rick Whitney, who brought forward information regarding the plant’s operation — such as replacement parts that require attention and are not under warranty.  He sought purchase of replacement parts, and the council conversed about whether it would make sense to buy additional insurance to cover plant replacement parts. The insurance premium would cost $2,000 per year, with a $1,000 deductible. No action was taken on insurance, but Councilor Richard Gleason and Councilor Mary Sackett made motions to allow the purchase of the replacement blower and necessary oil for the wastewater treatment plant. 

Whitney also informed the council that he had been hauling his own snowblower to and from the plant so that there is no question whose it is, as there isn’t one at the plant, and with the persistent snowfall, it’s necessary. 

The final item in his report dealt with the need to haul sludge from the plant to Lewiston.  Gleason and new council member Lyle Morey motioned to approve the expenses associated with pumping and transporting sludge, and their motions passed unanimously. 

New firefighter uniforms

Fire Chief Wade Baker updated the council on new uniforms arriving, putting the Wykoff Fire Department in compliance with turnout gear requirements to satisfy the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections should they take place.  He remarked that the department continues to host training for basic firefighter education in Wykoff and that everything is going well. 

He reminded residents that keeping fire hydrants cleared of snow can make a notable difference when the department responds to a house fire. The hydrants they clear just might help save their own homes. 

Custodian discussion continues

In personnel matters, Sackett spoke about the special council meeting on Feb. 8 to review the city’s needs for its custodial position, as Schmidt had advertised for a supplemental custodian, but the council felt that the supplemental custodial position could become permanent.  The council chose unanimously to terminate its current custodian after she stopped communicating with the city and had not completed duties since the end of December, according to Schmidt. 

Zoning Board needs members

Sackett also brought up zoning business, as the Zoning Board has not convened since November.  The next zoning meeting is slated for Feb. 27, and there are three applicants awaiting news of an appointment to the two open seats on the committee.  Interviews were conducted this past Tuesday, Feb. 12, with recommendations to be made to the council after the interviews and the council calling a special meeting on Feb. 14 to approve the applicants chosen for the seats.  The special meeting was specifically called to prepare a full board for the February meeting because there are several requests to handle.    

Sander tabled

Schmidt shared that the pickup with sander that the council approved during the January meeting had been sold to someone else, and city maintenance employee John Apenhorst has since been seeking quotes on sanders to install on the city’s existing pickup truck, finding one at a cost of $4,223.  However, the council felt that it would be best to wait to buy a new sander and attempt to finish out the winter with the sander that’s already on the city truck, tabling the subject for the time being.  Mayor Al Williams thanked Apenhorst and city crew workers who have kept the streets clear as the sky continues to snow. 

Other items

Eva Barr was present to ask the council if it would waive the Community Center rental fee for the Wykoff by Design public meeting planned for Saturday, Feb. 16, at 9 a.m. The council granted the request.

In one other matter, Sackett stated in her community education and park and recreation report that softball leagues may be formed to prepare for spring on the ball diamond.  

The consent agenda included approving the minutes of prior meetings. Schmidt related that the special meeting on Friday, Feb. 8, was to discuss the duties associated with custodial and maintenance positions, and to clarify with the council what committees they have been assigned to and what their functions are on those committees.