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Vader vacancy still unfilled; non-profits looking at discount

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The Vader City Council is still seeking to fill a vacated council position after resident Sharron Ross declined to accept her appointment to the board, according to discussions during their March 5 meeting.

In a letter sent to City Hall earlier that day, Ross said she had reached the personal decision to withdraw her name from consideration, stated Mayor Ken Smith, who added Ross expressed her gratitude for being considered.

Members of the council now have until May 17 to fill the vacancy created after the resignation of Lois Wilson, who stated she was leaving due to a series of upcoming surgeries. If they fail to appoint a nominee within the required 90 days, Lewis County Commissioners will then fill the position, according to state law.

Council members also considered an ordinance that would offer discounted sewer rates to struggling non-profit organizations within the city.

Responding to financial concerns brought before the council by the Masons Lodge during the previous meeting, council members considered the possibility of offering $10 per month for 100 gallons, with a $0.50 per 100-gallon overage rate, to community organizations experiencing financial shortfalls.

"It’s legal to provide a lower rate for certain customers, based on their financial status," reported City Clerk Jill Nielson, who had researched the legal parameters required to offer such a discount.

But the definition of non-profit proved to be a sticking point, as not all community organizations have been given official status as a 501c3. Nielson said she would look into the criteria needed for the city to consider an organization non-profit and report back at the next meeting with a draft of the proposed ordinance.

A decision to extend the operating hours of City Hall was postponed by the council in light of extra hours for part-time billing clerk Dianne Floyd, who is being cross-trained by Nielson in case she is unable to perform her duties.

Floyd’s hours have been increased from 15 to 20 per week with officials stating it was their ambition to open City Hall at least one more day during the week. But Nielson said it would be a more opportune use of the extra time to train Floyd in the event Nielson is unable to fulfill her duties, such as when she suffered a debilitating heart attack last August.

Council members agreed the training was important and it was decided City Hall would remain operating three days per week until May 6, at which time it would also be open Mondays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The next council meeting will be March 19 at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall. Those with questions or in need of accommodations may call (360) 295-3222 beforehand.

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