It is great to see student sports again in the paper this week! Thanks as always to Lonnie Archibald and thanks to Kim Weissenfels who traveled to Onalaska and got some great photos of the Forks Spartans’ football team. Thanks also to the person who shared several photos from the cross-county meet recently held at ONRC.
Now for other things to get back to normal-ish …drama, music etc…
Sports and other school activities give our area youth things to do …which was the lead-off topic of the Forks City Council meeting on Monday night …held via Zoom.
After taking care of the usual business Mayor Tim Fletcher asked council members to help him create a task force to identify youth activities as recent activities of youth on dirt bikes and ATVs using city and county streets has become a problem in many neighborhoods.
Forks Police Chief Mike Rowley said, “Kids need things to do.” But added that after trying to talk to parents and some of the riders …they are now taking advantage of his department’s subtle response to the problem. “Some aren’t getting the hint, still doing wheelies etc.” Rowley said his department will now put in more effort, in the name of safety, in addressing the problem.
“Tickets to parents and impounding bikes is not what we want to do, but, the possibility of serious injuries has become a real problem.” (See the Chief’s Letter addressing this issue, on the front page this week.)
In a bit of irony, during the meeting, a Forks citizen posted a photo on Social Media, of two individuals riding un-licensed dirt bikes, in the dark and rain on mainstreet. (See photo in this column.)
The mayor added that it is a county and city problem and an effort to remedy it needs to be made.
There was a long discussion regarding the Waste Water Treatment Plant and the improvements needed at that facility. City attorney/planner Rod Fleck said that those improvements are the number one item the city needs to address.
Grant funding would be needed to do the $3.2 million improvements.
Public works director Paul Hampton said if and when those improvements were done it might be a possibility to increase the system’s capacity.
There was a discussion of rates and if increases were needed. The question of what other city rates are came up and Fleck did a quick search sharing that $45-$90 per month is the norm.
Clerk/Treasurer Audrey Grafstrom said 35-40 percent of Forks water system customers are on the sewer; residential customers pay a flat rate and commercial customers pay on water consumption.
Other ideas tossed around by council members were a rate increase, a Levy, a fee placed on new developments due when a property is sold, a survey to see if citizens even want the city to grow.
Grafstrom said …for now the focus needed to remain on just getting the upgrades for the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
In council member reports councilmember John Hillcar asked that everyone keep an eye on a new proposed gas tax that also would monitor everyone’s driving habits.
Juanita Weissenfels reported that Friends of Forks Animals had provided about 1,000 spays and neuters this month during their February Special.
Fleck shared that he again had volunteered at the most recent Forks COVID vaccine clinic and estimated that over the two days they averaged about 115 vaccines per hour for a total of 1,270 vaccines.
The meeting adjourned at 8:46 p.m.