Eagles host memorial benefit for firefighters
The Methow Eagles will host a memorial benefit for the three firefighters who died in the Twisp River Fire on Aug. 19, and for injured firefighter Daniel Lyon, on Oct. 31 at the Eagles Aerie in Twisp. The event costs $10 and includes a lasagna dinner, baked goods auction, live auction of donated items, live music and a Halloween costume contest with prizes. Dinner begins at 5 p.m.
All proceeds will be donated in memory of fallen firefighters Tom Zbyszewski, Andrew Zajac and Richard Wheeler, as well as Lyon, who is recovering from severe burns. The money will be donated to the Milton Police Department, The Wildland Firefighter Foundation, The Merc Playhouse and Aero Methow Rescue Service.
For more information, call 997-8133.
Task force considers renewal of school district levies
A task force made up of local residents and Methow Valley School District staffers begins meeting this week to consider whether the district should ask for renewal of two existing tax levies that support school operations.
The levies expire in 2016. One supports maintenance and operations, and the other supports technology education, according to Superintendent Tom Venable. He said the earliest the levy renewal requests could appear on the ballot would be February 2016.
The task force begins meeting Thursday (Oct. 22) at 5:30 p.m. in the Methow Valley Elementary School library, and will meet at the same time and place on Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, Venable said. The meetings are open to the public.
The levies have a substantial impact on the district’s budget, Venable said. He said that renewal of the two levies would result in small increase the property tax rate, based on projections of no total assessed valuation growth in the school district for the next several years.
For more information, call 996-9205.
Second-half property taxes due Nov. 2
Last-half Okanogan County property taxes and irrigation assessments are due (or must be postmarked by) Monday, Nov. 2. Interest and penalties start accruing Nov. 3 for any unpaid taxes. The deadline is later than usual because Oct. 31 is a Saturday.
Any parcels involved in the Okanogan Complex Fire will receive an adjusted statement in early November. If taxes are owed, the property owner will have until the end of November to pay, without additional interest or penalty.
Mail your taxes or assessments to Okanogan County Treasurer, P.O. Box 111, Okanogan, WA 98840. Payments by credit card are accepted at www.officialpayments.com or by calling 1-800-272-9829. Be sure to have the jurisdiction number (5633), the amount you owe, and the parcel number(s) you are paying for. There is a small fee to pay by credit card. Credit and debit card payments cannot be accepted in the treasurer’s office.Contact the Okanogan County treasurer’s office at (509) 422-7180 with any questions.
PUD rate increase effective Nov. 1
The Okanogan County Public Utility District (PUD) is raising the adjustment for the cost of power from $.0040 to $.0056 per kilowatt hour (kwh). The increase follows a $1 million increase in the cost of power sold to the PUD by the Bonneville Power Administration.
The cost-of-power adjustment is a separate line on customers’ bills, calculated by multiplying the number of kilowatt hours by the cost of power. For a residential customer using 500 kwh per month, the increase will total $0.80. A customer using 1,000 kwh per month will see an increase of $1.60.
The increase is effective Nov. 1.
Drought costs PUD $3 million
The Okanogan County Public Utility District (PUD) has suffered a $3 million shortfall from the statewide drought because of reduced hydropower output at Wells Dam, according to PUD General Manager John Grubich. The PUD can often sell surplus power produced by the dam, but this year it is down by more than 10,000 megawatt hours they had anticipated selling on the wholesale market, said Grubich. That loss translates into $1.3 million in revenue.
In addition, the PUD has had to purchase power on a regular basis because of lower output. In anticipation of a continued drought, the PUD executed a forward contract through January for $1.7 million, locking in the price, said Grubich.