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FCC denies city's radio license request

Nearly four years ago the City of Sunnyside submitted a request for a low power FM radio license. The intent was to broadcast over the airwaves city council meetings, and to use the radio signal to alert local residents in cases of emergency.

City Manager Bob Stockwell told the council Monday night that the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has denied Sunnyside's application. But, Stockwell said along with the denial came an invitation from the FCC to reapply when future filing windows are opened.

"It appears all we can do is continue to monitor the FCC for a date when we can resubmit our application," Stockwell said.

The FCC in 2000 created a special frequency allocation for non-commercial radio transmissions. The LPFM, or low power FM radio system, is intended to be used by local governments and non-profit entities for localized transmissions. The specialized frequencies usually only transmit within a two to three-mile radius.

Billboard issue

moved to Feb. 28 council meeting

The issue of the erection of a billboard on the Tom Paul property on South First Street has been postponed.

The city council was to have been asked to approve a findings of fact and conclusions of law document in regards to the Paul quasi-judicial hearing at last night's meeting. But on the recommendation of city staff, the issue was tabled and moved to the Feb. 28 city council agenda.

Paul is seeking to overturn a city council decision made in late January that denied him a conditional use permit. The permit is needed for him to construct a billboard on his property.

Also to be addressed at the Feb. 28 council meeting is the privatization of the city's water and sewer services. That issue is one of two that will also be addressed at a special city council workshop session slated for Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m. Mayor Ed Prilucik said public comment will be accepted at the Feb. 22 meeting, but each person's comments will be restricted to five minutes in length.

Fire department equipment

deemed as surplus

The Sunnyside City Council Monday evening unanimously approved a resolution that declares old fire department radio equipment, outdated cellular phones and pagers, as well as two vehicles, as surplus.

Possible plans for the disposition of the outdated electronic equipment include donating the devices to other governmental agencies or civic organizations, such as the Civil Air Patrol.

The two vehicles-Ford Econoline van ambulances that are no longer in service-will be advertised for sale to other fire departments. The asking prices will range from $2,000 to $2,500.

Adoption of water plan opens way for $4 million loan

Last night's adoption of the 2004 Comprehensive Water System Plan by the Sunnyside City Council opens the doors for the city to receive a $4 million loan.

Public Works Director Jim Bridges explained to the council that the adoption of the city water plan makes Sunnyside eligible to receive a $4 million low interest, long term loan from the Washington State Department of Health. If secured, the monies would be used to complete the construction of several large water system projects, as well as complete the drilling of two new wells, waterline looping projects and other system improvements.

City staff began preparing the comprehensive water plan in June 2003. Several presentations were made to the council during that time frame, and ultimately they led to the adoption of a cross connection ordinance.

Bridges said the city received notice that its water plan had been approved by the Department of Health, and last night's formal adoption of the plan was the final step in the process.

Gray & Osborne engineering services secured

Monday evening, the Sunnyside City Council unanimously approved a $25,000 contract with the firm of Gray & Osborne, Inc., consulting engineers.

Termed a general contract, it will allow the city to complete several small projects that may arise throughout the year. City Manager Bob Stockwell said it will also allow the city to begin the design phase of the Lincoln Avenue sidewalk project. Other projects to be taken on by the engineering firm may include preparation of property descriptions and easements for multi-parcel annexations.

Gray & Osborne, Inc. was selected from a pool of 12 engineering service providers that submitted qualifications on the ongoing South First Street upgrade.

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