The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

By Brandon Cline
Managing Editor 

City hires new Public Works Director, awards bid for Koch Well

Ritzville City Council discusses joining state program that would provide funds for local rental assistance


Last updated 7/25/2019 at 11:17am

The City of Ritzville has hired a new Public Works Director to replace the outgoing Larry Swift, but the new director is a familiar face for city officials.

Dave Breazeale, an employee in the Public Works Department, was hired as the next Public Works Director, announced Mayor Gary Cook at the Ritzville City Council meeting on July 16.

Breazeale will start on an interim basis under Swift’s guidance beginning on Sept. 3 and will be on probation for six months. Cook noted that the city agreed to not backfill his current position in the Public Works Department during that period of time, so that Breazeale would still have a job if he decided that things were not working out in his new role.

The Ritzville City Council awarded a bid to a Coeur d’Alene-based company for electrical upgrades project at the Koch Well pump station.

Shannon Industrial Contractors came in with the lowest bid for the project, at $163,350. Varela & Associates performed a background check on the bidder’s performance record and financial status and found them to be in satisfactory standing.

That bid came in below the only other submitted bid, by Midland Electric for $176,050.80. Both bids were lower than the engineer’s estimate of $177,660. The project is also being partially funded by a federal loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan program.

The electrical upgrades project for the Koch Well pump station is expected to include work that consists of:

-Demolition of existing electrical and controls equipment at the Koch Well pumping station. The existing 200 HP, 750 gallons per minute line shaft vertical turbine well pump will remain;

-Installation of an exterior electrical rack and new electrical equipment;

-Installation of a deep well pump control valve;

-Site work that includes the installation of a chain link fence and a gravel driveway; and

-Pumping system startup and testing.

The council awarded the bid to Shannon Industrial Contractors on a 6-1 vote. Councilmember Mark Weigand was the sole councilmember who voted in opposition.

Council discusses joining state program that provides local rental assistance

The council discussed the possibility of implementing a local revenue sharing program from the state at no cost to the local taxpayers that would allow a city the size of Ritzville to help provide rental assistance and other affordable housing programs.

SHB 1406 provides a local revenue sharing program for local governments by providing up to a 0.0146% local sales and use tax credited against the state sales tax for housing investments. The tax credit is in place for up to 20 years, can be used a variety of ways and is a credit against the state sales tax, meaning it does not increase the sales tax for the consumer.

Councilmember Michelle Plumb was first alerted to the bill after attending a session at the Association of Washington Cities’s annual conference in Spokane in June.

“[The bill] is not trying to address homelessness, it’s to work up a stream and help people from becoming homeless by [providing] rental assistance or security deposits and that type of thing,” said Plumb. If the county doesn’t adopt this program, Plumb said that the city would be getting about $6,500 a year.

Mayor Gary Cook said the city would be working through this during the fall to make sure they meet the appropriate deadlines. In order to participate, the city would need to approve a resolution to levy the tax credit by January 31 of 2020. An ordinance to levy the tax credit would then need to be passed by July 27, 2020.

The city also has the ability to adopt a qualifying local tax related to affordable housing that, if levied, would give the city access to both shares of the 0.0146% tax credit. Currently, without adopting one of the qualifying local taxes, the city has access to half of the program’s shares, or 0.0073%.

The deadline to adopt a qualifying local tax is July 31 of 2020, although the possibility of adopting such a tax was not discussed at the meeting.

Council approves 1st Avenue Project payment

On a 6-1 vote, the council approved a $54,485.55 payment to Wm. Winkler Company for their work on the 1st Avenue Rehabilitation Project from Jackson to Clark Street that was completed in early June.

The payment is the third and final installment from the city to Wm. Winkler and brings the total cost to $462,186.45. Wm. Winkler’s bid estimated the cost of the project at $480,735.75. Councilmember Mike Schrag provided the lone ‘no’ vote.


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