Chelan City Council saw value in joining the Cascadia Conservation District during their regular council meeting held on Oct. 11, approving a Petition for Inclusion. The city of Chelan and the city of Wenatchee were the last two cities in Chelan County who were not part of the district.
Craig Gyselinck, program manager at Cascadia, gave city council a few pros and cons to joining the non-profit district.
“Our office is in Wenatchee, and we serve all of Chelan County except for the incorporated cities of Chelan and Wenatchee,” Gyselinck said. “We operate under Washington state law, and we can do anything related to conservation.”
Gyselinck said common requests are fuel reductions for fire season, with free wood chipping, along with education, public work and possibly more urban forestry and cost-share programs in the future.
“All of our funding for our entire organization up until this point is grant funded, but recently the Chelan County Commissioners unanimously approved a rate to charge to help our programs and give us more flexibility,” Gyselinck said. “Each parcel within our district will be assessed $4.63 a year. The commissioners fixed that rate for a five-year period before review.”
The rate will never go above five dollars per parcel, according to Washington state law, Gyselinck said.
With the city of Chelan jumping on board, the Cascadia Conservation District will see about $15,000 from the partnership, which excludes condos and timeshares and tax-exempt properties, Gyselinck said.
“We’re very flexible in the work that we can do, and there are often opportunities that come up because of emergencies,” Gyselinck said. “This year we were just awarded $200,000 for fire recovery funding based on the 2015 and 2016 fires, to work with land owners replacing damaged property. Joining our district is a great tool to provide for local landowners.”
City council members voted unanimously in favor of joining the district starting Jan. 1, pending Washington State Conservation Commission approval.
City council members also voted unanimously to confirm the appointment of Mike Jackson as the new City Administrator beginning Nov. 1.
To wrap up Oct. 11’s city council meeting, Mayor Mike Cooney asked former Mayor Bob Goedde to proclaim October 2016 as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the city of Chelan.
“It wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t read this for us,” Cooney said, asking Goedde to read the proclamation. “I know this is near and dear to your heart.”
“For those of you who don’t know my mother went through 18 months of this, and I applaud the Breast Cancer people that take the time to join and support others,” Goedde said. “I congratulate the Chelan Soroptimists for doing the Chelan Chase and raising awareness.”
(By Kaitlin Hetterscheidt)