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Oakridge City Council 8/18: detailed WAC update briefing centered on funding plan

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Oakridge City Hall Herald Photo

By GEORGE CUSTER/Editor/The Herald  —  More than half of the Council was present in the City’s conference room for the regular session. Councilors Coker, Hooker and Bjarnson elected to Zoom in.

In her remarks, Mayor Hollett gave updates on a number of projects. The topic of short term, or “B and B”, rentals  struck a chord with several of the councilors. Councilors Kinyon and Whitney asked to be a part of that discussion later, once a subcommittee is formed.

WAC refurbishment project starting off strong

Sarah Altemus-Pope led a presentation on the all-volunteer Willamette Activity (WAC) Funding Committee’s progress. Altemus-Pope heads South Willamette Solutions, a local nonprofit organization. To date, the committee has secured a one-point-five million dollar allocation through Oregon House Bill 5202. These funds are not a grant but an appropriation. Also, the committee has obtained a $57K grant from the Oregon Community Foundation for the feasibility study and for community outreach.

Bryan Cutchen, the committee’s chair, is the lead applicant for a number of other grants totaling $7.95 million so far. Another $275K worth of funds are being pursued by other committee members.

Ms. Altemus-Pope stressed that the committee has developed a timeline of between nine and twelve months to pursue grants. She stressed that this represents a realistic goal in which to secure the grants. The funding committee’s partners to date include: The Good Company, Orchid Health, USDA rural Development, Lane Electric Cooperative, the University of Oregon, and Business Oregon.

Volunteers for WAC Advisory Subcommittee

Further on during the meeting, it was noted that four applicants have applied to be on the WAC Advisory Subcommittee. However, Mayor Hollett said that because they could not all be present at the meeting, their appointments by the Council would be delayed.

Attached to the Council’s meeting packet was an explanation of the proposed scope of work for the rehabilitation of the WAC. This report was submitted by the City’s engineer, Ed Hodges of Curran McLeod, Inc. Additionally, several other historical documents from 2009-10 were attached for reference purposes. All of these documents are available for review at Oakridge City Hall.

RFP for a new City auditor

The City’s 2020-2021 audit is being submitted late. This has triggered a letter from the State stating that 10% of State funds will be withheld pending submission. Council voted to direct the city administrator to publish a request for proposal (RFP) for a new auditing firm. This new firm would begin once the existing firm’s contract expires.

Late DEQ reports spurs hiring of contractor

There are several reports overdue to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  The City has been notified of the possibility of severe fines if not completed immediately. These fines could amount to $12,000 per day until the reports are submitted. The Council was briefed on two options. The hiring of the services of Lane Council of Governments (LCOG), or select an independent contractor.

The Council choose to select Rick Zylstra of WestOak GIS & Planning, LLC to complete the necessary reports. Those reports and other work  will be stipulated in a separate contract not to exceed $10,000.

There were no significant items for discussion from either the Public Works nor the Police Departments. Chief Hollett stated that two new fire personnel were aboard.

During public comment, resident Trudy Hammond announced the success of the Oakridge wood stove and window replacement program.

The complete minutes of the meeting can be obtained at City Hall.



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