Spring cleanup returns to Hoquiam; new officer sworn in at Monday council meeting

Vouchers to be given for dumping at LeMay

After going a couple of years without it, the spring cleanup event is coming back to Hoquiam. City Council members turned in a unanimous vote Monday to once again supply customers of Harbor Disposal with $30 vouchers to use at the LeMay landfill.

“We haven’t had spring cleanup in two years, after we used the fund to pay for the cleanup of Olympic Stadium after the 2015 flood,” said City Administrator Brian Shay. Following his opening remarks there was a discussion about the frequency of the event — once a year or once every two years — and the possibility of splitting the $12,000 budgeted every biennium between spring cleanup and the city so they can clean up problem properties.

“I want to bring this back,” said Councilwoman Brenda Carlstrom. Brian Smith, a member of the Grays Harbor County District 2 Solid Waste Advisory Committee, had been in talks with the city and said the company was willing to work with the city, but wished to proceed with the cleanup.

When the discussion ended the council voted to make it an annual event, with customers of Harbor Disposal getting a $30 voucher to use at the landfill — good for two-plus truckloads of most kinds of refuse. Smith said they were shooting for some time in May to get the vouchers out. Previously, the cleanup had taken place in April, but because of timing issues May is a more realistic target.

New police officer sworn in

The council meeting kicked off with the swearing in of new Hoquiam Police officer — Rob Verboomen. Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers introduced the new officer, his wife and two young daughters, prior to Mayor Jasmine Dickhoff doing the official swearing-in. Verboomen and his family live in Raymond, but he has been doing his field training with Hoquiam since late last year.Verboomen said it has been his goal since becoming a police officer to land a job on the Hoquiam force.

Ambulance Fund

The city’s Ambulance Fund is losing about $11,000 a month. City Finance Director Corri Schmid said that is a result of the proposed utility rate hike to cover the cost of a new ambulance getting cut in half by the council during budget talks late last year.

“We have since cut the budget by $119,000,” said Schmid. Even with that, “there is no wiggle room in the fund, for maintenance, anything.” She and other city officials have spent the first part of this year working with the Hoquiam Fire Department trying to cut wherever possible.

Shay is looking at long-term solutions to the problem, including getting a consultant to go over the city’s out-of-district emergency services contracts. Because that process will take some time, Shay and Schmid are exploring other options, including proposing another utility rate adjustment. The council was unable to come to an agreement and no action was taken on the topic during Monday’s meeting.

Timber sale

The council approved two timber sales, part of the city’s 10-year timber management plan. One was the Little Hoquiam Block, located about eight miles north of the city limits just east of Highway 101. Quinault Logging, based in Highway 12 just west of Central Park, supplied the top bid of $324,800 for the 1,1000 board feet of Douglas fir and western hemlock estimated by City Forester Loren Hiner to be on the property.

The second timber sale approved was for the Davis Creek Block, a 67-acre site in the same general area. Hiner estimated the value of the timber to be $1.5 million; WT Timber of Montesano came in with the high bid of just over $1.3 million. There was some discussion about the sale because of its proximity to Davis Creek and potential water quality concerns. Shay pointed out that with the state’s buffer and other environmental laws as they pertain to logging, there should be very little risk of contaminating the water supply with this operation. He also noted that the bid came in lower than the estimated value of the timber as much of it is blowdown recovery, and the trees are too large for many mills to handle.


The City of Hoquiam cabaret section of the municipal code was updated Monday for the first time since it was drafted in 1934, during prohibition. The code narrows the definition of a cabaret to a for-profit entertainment venue that serves alcohol. It also changed the hours of operation allowed on Sundays to match those of the other days of the week: the original code said that “on Sundays dancing shall be permitted only from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.” The fine for violating provisions of the code was also modernized and brought up to the current $1,000 maximum. The changes were approved.

Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority membership

The council approved the city’s membership in the Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority. The mayor now has the power to appoint a representative to serve on the authority, which works to come up with solutions to the basin’s flood problems.