Buckley assesses damage from wind, snow

By Jessica Keller, The Courier-Herald

The city of Buckley remained relatively unscathed after the past weeks' snowstorms, but left a few difficulties for city officials.

The city had two major problems, which City Administrator Dave Schmidt informed the City Council about at the Jan. 13 meeting.

A high demand for natural gas, on both the Enumclaw and Buckley side of the gas line, caused pressure in the line to drop, stopping power for about 12 customers in Buckley. Buckley city workers monitored the situation and manually manipulated the system to keep the pressures steady. Buckley and Enumclaw officials are going to work together to see what can be done to alleviate the problem.

The second problem occurred when the Puget Sound Energy flume froze and overflowed, washing out the shoulder of the road and exposing about 300 feet of a high-powered gas main Buckley owns. City workers were on hand packing sand underneath the pipe so it didn't buckle. PSE officials told the city it would pick up the cost, and is currently is looking for bids on the project.

Schmidt said between those two problems and sanding and plowing the roads, Buckley city workers used the majority of their overtime for the year.

The big wind storm also caused its fair share of damage in Buckley, causing a tree to fall on the city's reserve water tower at great expense, but the city's insurance company offered to pay for a portion of it ($10,000), and the state Department of Social and Health Services will also contribute. Schmidt told the council he thinks city workers can perform the majority of the work.

Also at the meeting:

€ Schmidt swore in council members Ron Weigelt, Beverly Schneider, Jan Twardoski and Pat Johnson.

€ The council appointed Lisa Cramer and Cristi Boyle-Barrett to the Planning Commission and reappointed Jay Johnson and Cindy Maas.

€ The council passed an ordinance establishing a salary commission for the city to determine the mayor's and city council member's salaries. The members of the commission are to be appointed at the next City Council meeting.

€ The council confirmed the city's matching funds of $111,000 for projects selected by the Transportation Improvement Board's 2005 Small City Grant Program are available for the Main Street project and authorized Mayor John Blanusa to sign the confirmation document.

€ The council amended the Buckley Municipal Code regarding Sanitary Sewer General Facilities Charges. At the Dec. 9 City Council meeting, the council passed an ordinance increasing the sanitary sewer general facilities charge to $5,460. Since then, it was discovered errors were made in the calculations, so the City Council amended the sewer general facilities charge to be $5,390 for a single-family residence, $4,042 for a multi-family residence and, for all other uses, $5,390 for each equivalent residential unit. The cost increases will assure property owners in Buckley bear an equitable share of the existing system and planned capital improvements.

€ The council added two sections to the Buckley Municipal Code, pertaining to the installation of on-site septic systems within the city. One of the changes requires anyone wishing to install an on-site septic system to submit an application to, and receive approval from, the Pierce County Health Department. The second addition, which was previously found in the municipal code but deleted, requires people to connect to the public sewer system when capacity is available and when a main line is within 200 feet of the property line.

€ The City Council authorized the mayor to purchase a TYMCO street vacuum sweeper for a price not to exceed $72,000; confirmed the purchase of a Polaris All Terrain Vehicle Gator not to exceed $7,500; authorized the purchase of a new city utility truck for a cost not to exceed $30,000; and authorized the purchase of a new city police car.

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