By Don Nelson

It’s budget discussion time for the Winthrop Town Council, and there will be plenty to talk about as the town prepares its 2018 revenues-and-expenditures plan.

At last week’s council meeting, council members agree that the Winthrop Marshal’s Office structure will once again be up for review.

Procedurally, the town staff prepares a preliminary budget for the mayor, who then reviews it before presenting the document to the council for discussion and action.

At its meeting last week, the council agreed to a budget consideration timeline that includes a workshop on Oct. 11. That session, open to the public, will be at the Winthrop Barn and begin at 6 p.m.

Between Oct. 16 and Oct. 31, the budget committee will meet to prepare a draft budget. Those meetings are also open to the public. On Nov. 1, the council will review the budget draft and hold a public hearing on property tax levies and 2018 revenue projections.

A public hearing on the completed budget proposal will be held Nov. 15. Adoption is scheduled for early December.

Discussion topics

The town recently hired Daniel Tindall, a former Washington State Patrol trooper, as its marshal. The marshal’s position had been empty for six months following the controversial firing of former Marshal Hal Henning, who had served just eight months before losing the trust of then-Mayor Anne Acheson. Henning’s firing came after the previous acting marshal and marshal served five and 14 months respectively.

The marshal’s office is currently budgeted for two full-time officers — a marshal and a deputy — and a full-time police clerk. In the past, the office has had three full-time officers and part-time clerk.

Mayor Rick Northcott said the council should discuss whether it wants to maintain the current structure or consider changes, which might include adding a third officer.

The council will also likely to review how to staff the Public Works Department, which is now down to three employees rather than the usual four because of a recent retirement.

In other council business:

Kirsten Vanderhalf

• Kirsten Vanderhalf was sworn in as the newest council member. She replaces Kellen Northcott, who recently resigned, in the position 4 seat on the council. Vanderhalf is also on the November general election ballot, facing former Mayor Anne Acheson for the position 1 seat. Vanderhalf’s name will only appear once on the November ballot, for the position 1 seat. William Kilby is running unopposed to fill position 4.

• Northcott reported that construction work has begun on the extension of the Susie Stevens Trail east of White Avenue.

• The council agreed to consider changing the format of its annual volunteer recognition event. In the past, the event has been held in the fall at the Winthrop Barn, where volunteers are invited to receive recognition and a certificate of appreciation. Attendance has been sparse in recent years.

Mayor Northcott said the council could consider a different format, at a different time of the year, to possibly attract more participation. After some discussion, the council agreed to explore the possibility of staging the event late next spring as a barbecue in Mack Lloyd Park.

• The council learned that Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) representatives were recently in town to explore options for improving pedestrian safety at the four-way stop. Two of the recently constructed pedestrian ramps, which are intended to improve access for the disabled, have caused problems for pedestrians who fell when stepping off the curb.

• The council approved a request by Wayne and Sally Ranzau to acknowledge that a fence they constructed on their Wister Way property is not on the property line. The Ranzaus said they built the fence back from the property line to provide a place for the town’s plows to dump snow in the winter.