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Oakridge City Council 12/29: as the year comes to a close

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Oakridge City Hall Herald Photo

By GARY CARL/for The Herald  —  The Oakridge City Council held its last official meeting that was open to the public on Thursday, December 29th, 2022.  The Council worked its way through all the remaining agenda items and finished business with each counselor offering outgoing Mayor Hollett their personal appreciation for a job well done during her limited term.

Committee applicants may be required to be interviewed

First up was consideration of committee appointments and a discussion of whether applicants for committee appointments should be physically present at the time the council voted on their appointment.  After much discussion about the issue, it was decided to “table” the current application and consider the issue and add it to the agenda for the next regular Council meeting.  Will applicants for committee appointments be required to appear personally before the Council at the time of the consideration of their applications?  Stay tuned for further discussion and decision by the Council next year.

Next up was a discussion of the City Recorder and that person’s role.  After reiterating a chronology of the City Recorder position, and the Council’s potential liability for possibly mishandling the issue vis-a-vis the City’s Charter, it was decided to continue with a pro tem City Recorder until the matter could be clarified by the city’s attorney.

Discussion of the Public Safety Fee

With respect to the Public Safety Fee (PSF) and the nonpayment of this monthly fee by some citizens, Mr. Cleavenger, City Administrator, (CA) told the council that no liens have been filed for nonpayment of the PSF *. However, a record of nonpayment is being kept by the city. At such time as the real property is conveyed, the title company closing the sale would contact the city. At that time it would be determined  if there are any outstanding fees against the property owed to the city.   The city then would inform the Title Company of any outstanding fees. Those fees (plus penalties and interest) would be satisfied from the closing escrow.

As for any current changes to the PSF, the CA advised that nothing too radical or dramatic should be done presently.  This PSF issue should be discussed in the Budget Committee next June. It would then brought to the Council at that time.

Mayor Hollett suggested that the council will need to know the amount necessary to cover the public safety services.  It should be determined whether there is a short fall before determining the amount of any revision to the fee.

Councilor Hooker said that she thought this time it was important to let people know what the PSF was for, because she thought more people would be willing to pay the fee if only they were better informed.

Councilor Spliethof expressed his opinion that the city’s imposition of the PSF is not legally binding upon Oakridge property owners because they did not agree to pay it and therefor the PSF could not be legally enforced against them. **

Re-painting of the water tower on Highway 58

The Council next discussed painting of the water tower.  Mayor Hollett said that this matter had been put off because of the intervening 120,000 acre forest fire.  She said Marissa Lopez, co-owner of the Campfire Restaurant, has shown great interest in painting the water tower. The height of the water tower will present special challenges, however.  Mayor Hollett said Ms. Lopez has offered to tackle the water tower mural project and do the work for free. The city would be paying for paint and supplies (included in supplies would be cost of renting a lift truck).  CA Cleavenger said that he thought the cost of leasing a lift truck would be $1,700/week.

Safety issues were discussed. Rick Zylstra, one of the volunteers who previously worked on the water tower painting project, offered his opinion and insight into the challenges of working on the water tower.

It was determined that a Request for Proposal (RFP) be advertised locally. Proposed designs would be submitted to the council for approval by March 1st 2023.  Upon council approval the project could be funded through Transit Room Tax funds (TRT) and the work to be completed next spring.

Council goes into the real estate business

The Council reviewed the purpose of the Oakridge Economic Development Advisory Committee (OEDAC).  Mayor Hollett stated that while some of the members OEDAC thought it was their job to sell real property in the Oakridge Industrial Park (OIP) she and the council disagreed and the sale of property in the OIP should be under the control of the Council.

OEDAC had created their own operating guidelines that had not been approved by the Council. Council wished to create the operating guidelines by which OEDAC shall operate and be governed.

 

*The City Administrator explained that the costs for recording and enforcing the city’s lien would be prohibitive.

**The Highway 58 Herald does not endorse Councilor Spliethof’s legal opinion in this matter and would only point out that Councilor Spliethof is not an attorney.

Gary Carl is a retired judge of the Lane County Justice Court. He currently lives with his partner, Lynda Kamerrer & their cat, Lucy. Gary can be reached at [email protected] Gary Carl photo

 

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