Forks Mayor Tim Fletcher gave his annual State of the City address last Wednesday at the noon meeting of the Forks Chamber of Commerce. Fletcher highlighted many achievements for 2018 with the assistance of City Department heads; Attorney/Planner Rod Fleck, Public Works director Paul Hampton, Clerk-Treasurer Audrey Grafstrom and Forks Chief of Police Michael Rowley.
Fletcher started out his state of the city address with good news regarding the city’s recent audit. “There were no findings during our audit and we received a 25 percent savings on the cost of the audit for having all requested audit items available for the auditors, saving them time and us money,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher said the city’s water department is also working with a collection company to recoup old water bill payments that have been lingering on the books for some time.
The city has also been able to meet the guidelines of having a two-month reserve on hand even with the purchase of the three new police vehicles. The vehicles cost $115,000 and are being purchased at 3.35 percent interest. The jail has also seen camera upgrades.
The $2 million rehab of two of the city’s water tanks continues. “This water tank project was 20 years in the making,” Fletcher said, adding that it was something that had to be done. The city secured a USDA loan for the project.
Last year the city completed a $930,000 sidewalk/paving project on Spartan and Elderberry Avenues and A street. Chip seal projects also occurred on Bogachiel Way and Fernhill.
A new piece of equipment at the treatment plant was also upgraded and will make the required sampling easier.
Last year the Public Works Department worked with the Allen Trust to refurbish the city clock located near the Rainforest Arts Center. That department also got a utility vehicle to take on site that is equipped with tools etc. Public works also continue to work on water leaks and they have discovered some pretty large leaks.
Attorney/Planner Rod Fleck spoke of the new opportunity zone in our area that rewards investors for projects here. He went on to say that the city continues to work with the DNR on timber issues and the Marbled Murrelet and recently worked with Van Ripers in Sekiu and the DNR to secure permitting for that business.
A project to reseal the pavement on the runways at the Quillayute Airport had some challenges last year as bids came in too high and the recent government shutdown has stalled the rebid process.
The Mayor said he has continued to work with local property owners of burned out properties inside the city limits and several have been cleaned up. The city is also looking at special burn permits that will be issued to those with storm debris from the recent wind storms that will allow burning in the city and the urban growth area. Watch for details.
As far as other news at the jail, in addition to the new vehicles and cameras, the jail is seeing more contract holds, which helps the budget. Other ideas being looked at for the jail is home monitoring and a GED program.
On the recreational front the Mayor said the city is looking to partner with the Allen Trust to refurbish the old tennis courts at Tillicum Park; adding a Pickleball court and multi-use basketball court. Fletcher said other recreational ideas include some added trail systems around the city and possibly some work on the Campbell’s Pit area to create a fishing pond. “I will work on these things as I continue to support area Tribes, the timber industry, better broadband, and tourism,” Fletcher said.
The Mayor was asked if being mayor has been everything he hoped, answering he said he retired from his former job so he would have the time to devote to being mayor, but he still wants to have a life while focusing on the city.