omak city hall

Omak City Hall

OMAK – A 4.5-acre parcel, destined to become the site of a 44- to 46-unit housing complex, will be annexed to the city.

The city council approved the annexation during its Jan. 21 meeting.

Housing Authority of Okanogan County proposed the annexation off Oak Street and north of Mountain View Trailer Court. The property currently is vacant.

Nancy Nash-Mendez of the housing authority and Suzanne Obermeyer, representing the state Office of Rural and Farmworker Housing, approached the city in 2017 about the annexation. The planning commission had a public hearing on the proposal recommended annexation to the council.

The property will be subject to the city comprehensive land use plan and will assume its portion of existing city indebtedness, according to Building Official Tyler Wells. The parcel will be zoned residential multi-family.

In an unrelated housing matter, the council approved a resolution declaring its intent to divert a portion of state sales and use tax revenue for affordable housing.

The Legislature passed a law last session with intent to divert some of the revenue. For the city to participate, a letter of intent needed to be passed by Jan. 28 and an authorizing ordinance must be passed by July 28.

City Administrator McDaniel suggested the county handle the funds, but Councilwoman Michelle Gaines said it may make sense for the city to control the funds if it can meet reporting requirements.

Gaines said Omak has a homeless problem and if the city controlled the funds, the city portion of the housing tax would be used in Omak versus going to the county.

The council discussed how revenue from the housing tax could be used.

In other business, the council:

-Heard a presentation by Omak School Board members Dennis Carlton and Kathie Brown about the upcoming levy request. They also talked about the process to pick someone to succeed Superintendent Erik Swanson, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

-Approved a three-year labor agreement with the public works union. It replaces a pact that expired Dec. 31, 2019, and includes a 3.5 percent wage increase for 2020. Wages for 2021 and 2022 would increase by a slotted Consumer Price Index with a minimum and maximum percentage.

-Approved a $309,000 grant agreement with the state Department of Commerce for improvements to the airport water system for wildfire suppression.

Plans for the project are 95 percent complete. The project, which is related to the state Department of Natural Resources’ plan to build a fire base at the airport, is scheduled to go out to bid in two or three weeks.

-Learned Police Chief Jeff Koplin has been researching a resource officer position.

-Discussed snow removal. Public Works Director Ken Mears said his crew has been working midnight to 8 a.m., but during the day snow has continued to fall recently. He said he’s not opposed to paying overtime for snow removal to ensure safety.

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