Cheney Free Press -

By James Eik
Staff Reporter 

Successful tests mean upgrades for new well


At its Monday, Feb. 4 meeting, the Airway Heights City Council took a peek at the future, with items like its reclaim water well and planned multi-use building.

One of the larger items on the agenda was a change order for the city’s recovery well, totaling an additional $234,062.57 for the project. The change comes from an unexpected increase in capacity for the well, based on initial pumping test results that took place a few months ago.

The change order increases the total contract’s working time by 30 days, making it a total of 80 days of work. The total project contract price is $609,668.90.

“This is probably the best $609,000 we’ve spent,” Mayor Patrick Rushing said, noting that the well’s increased capacity is a big step for water stability in the city.

Among the upgrades in the project include work on the well house building, piping, general electrical, the pump control panel and power generation, alongside other site improvements.

Also at the meeting, the City Council approved the re-appointment of Vincent Williams to the Planning Commission. Williams’ term expired at the end of last month, and is now extended to Jan. 31, 2017.

“I just try to help out where I can and do what I can,” Williams said at the meeting.

The City Council also approved a contract for architectural services for its planned multi-use building. After reviewing 12 companies that submitted bids, the city chose Group Mackenzie from Portland, Ore. The company will work on statements, goals and a preliminary design for the project. The contract for this phase is not to exceed $43,225.

Also at the meeting, the City Council held the first reading of a salary ordinance regarding a lateral move for city planner Derrick Braaten, who would become the city’s Development Services Director. The position is a modification of a previous one that was cut in 2009 due to the economic downturn.

City Manager Albert Tripp said the position’s salary reflects what it previously was, and is comparable to other cities like Airway Heights with a similar position. The monthly wage has a base pay of $5,397.

“We’re right in the middle,” he said.

The City Council also approved a resolution that reimbursed some city employees who were involved in civic and service organizations within Airway Heights. The resolution applies to council members and select city employees, at the city manager’s discretion, reimbursing them for dues paid to the organization, as they would be joining on behalf of the city.

Civic and service organizations mentioned included the Lions Club, Kiwanis and the Rotary. Some annual dues are in excess of $100.

Those serving with the organizations would send a quarterly report to the City Council, informing them of what has recently happened and other events taking place in the group. Initially, the resolution draft only mentioned the City Council. Deliberations during the meeting eventually turned to giving Tripp discretion over who from the city, if they were interested, could represent the city in the groups.

“I don’t see why the city administration positions couldn’t be involved,” Deputy Mayor Kevin Richey said.

Parks, Recreation and Community Services Director J.C. Kennedy is already a member of the Kiwanis group in the city, which is in the final stages of officially being recognized as a non-profit group in the state of Washington.

Tripp said a meeting regarding the Fairchild Preservation and Community Empowerment project would take place in the coming weeks. The project is attempting to reduce the density in Accident Potential Zone Two, leading up to Fairchild Air Force Base, by offering alternative housing to residents in that area. Residents will receive an invitation in the near future for the meeting, which has yet to receive a final date.

Residents can also take advantage of a free seminar on fair lending for loans Tuesday, March 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers.

James Eik can be reached at


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