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June 6 City Council meeting: a grant application, budget developments, an increase to water rates and more

 By ANDREW GRIFFIN/for The Herald  —  On June 6, 2024, the Oakridge city council held a meeting in which they discussed upcoming plans to potentially apply for grants, an increase in city water rates, upcoming dates relating to the city’s budget and more.

Budget committee prepares for 2024-25 fiscal budget

Early in the meeting, the council made multiple announcements relating to the city’s fiscal year 2024-25 budget calendar. On June 11 at 6 p.m., the budget committee will hold a meeting to discuss the budget, and on June 17 at 6 p.m., the City Council will be hosting a budget hearing in which citizens are allowed to attend and comment on the budget. 

“[On] June 20 at 6 p.m., the hope is to have the budget adopted by the City Council,” said Mayor Bryan Cutchen. “A resolution is going to be made to formally adopt the approved budget, make appropriations, receive state shared revenues and levy taxes for the next fiscal year. July 1 is when that budget would go into effect.”

Firewise available to residents

Cutchen also announced an upcoming free Firewise cleaning service that will be available to Oakridge and Westfir residents in June. To qualify, a resident must be a disabled, elderly or reduced income citizen. Residents can call at (541) 782-3422 to see if they are eligible for the service or to ask further questions.

“If you don’t know what Firewise is, they’ll work around your home to reduce vegetation that might present a hazard,” said Cuthcen. “They’ll look around your structure and see if maybe there’s some things you can do that would prevent your home from being more susceptible to a fire.”

New water rate increase tied to CPI

Additionally, Mayor Cutchen announced an increase to city water rates that will go into effect on July 1, 2024. The increase is based on the Consumer Price Index, which currently sits at 3.6%. Notices will be included in water bills that will be sent out on the first days of June, July, August and September. Citizens can call the City Hall at (541) 782-2258 for further questions.

City seeks grant for Economic Opportunity Analysis

The council also approved a motion that will allow Oakridge to apply for grants in order to fund an analysis to gauge economic potential in the city. Officially known as an Economic Opportunities Analysis, this plan would be used to assess supply and demand and how it affects business in Oakridge. Though a grant would likely be sought through the Economic Development Administration, the passed motion would allow the city to apply for any potential grants for the survey.

“Should we receive an offer of funding, this would then require the city to fund the local match of up to $16,000,” wrote City Administrator James Cleavenger in the City Council’s agenda packet for the meeting. “Based on the large number of EDA applications, it is not likely to oblige funds until 2025.”

Cutchen potential violations from the past to be subject of work session

A date was also decided to hold a work session in order to review and discuss possible violations made by Cutchen during his time as city administrator. The date for the work sessions as decided by the City Council to be held on July 15, 2024.

“When Bryan Cutchen was our City Administrator, he posted a position for Finance Director without including the duties of city recorder in the position,” wrote Councilor Dawn Kinyon in the city’s agenda packet for the meeting. “This is something the city council was not made aware of, which prevented us from the opportunity to ask questions…We need a work session scheduled to discuss this and other matters of potential violations of the past, so we can prevent future violations.”

Andrew Griffin is a fourth-year student at the U of O School of Journalism and Communications. Andrew has experience as a freelance writer, having published work for the Clackamas Print, Daily Emerald, and Pamplin Media. Andrew also has experience in graphic design/web design.

 

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