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Oakridge City Council meeting 12/15: long agenda cut short due to time

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By GEORGE CUSTER/for The Herald  —  half of the Council was in attendance while half Zoomed in. In an apparent move to get a quick start on the lengthy agenda, mayor Hollett failed to start the meeting off with citizen comments. She apologized once she realized her error and  backtracked to hear from anyone who might have a comment.

Bryan Cutchen of Oakridge brought up a question concerning an inequity between language in an ordinance and Council Rules. He specifically pointed to the removal process for committee members. Despite an early near-consensus that they said the same thing, Councilor Whitney stated that she felt that they should be worded the same to avoid confusion and to standardize the language. the Admin Committee will review all of the ordinances to ensure consistency.

For her comments, the mayor mentioned the incident that marred the Parade of Lights event last Friday. Secondly, she reminded everyone about the City’s appreciation party to be held at the bowling alley this Saturday, December 17th.

Appointment of committee members

Lynda Kamerrer was reappointed to the Parks & Community Services Committee. Hollett and Councilor Whitney were both appointed to the WAC subcommittee. Mayor Hollett was again approved for the Special District committee.

Oakridge disc golf

The Oakridge Disc Golf Club (ODGC) was represented by Jason Nehmer. The previous memorandum of understanding was modified to allow the club to operate free of charge for their tournaments in exchange for the club being responsible for all maintenance and upkeep. Events would still require a permit application. However, the fees would be automatically waived.

ODGC also asked for room tax revenue funds to help with two separate tournaments that are scheduled in the near future.

The ODGC’s disc golf tournaments have consistently attracted many players from around the State and points beyond.

Chamber of Commerce seeks continuation of funding

Michelle Emmons Mcpharlin, representing the Oakridge/Westfir Area Chamber of Commerce, appealed to the Council for $14,175.00 from Transient Room Tax funds. Councilor Kinyon had concerns about allocating money to the Chamber. She assumed that the Chamber worked only for the betterment of its members.

Emmons countered that, although the Chamber members do enjoy specific benefits, the nonprofit organization encourages all forms of economical development and aspires to promote and develop the community as a whole.

The request would have depleted that particular fund. Therefore, the Council  approved $10,000.00 after deliberating on the matter.

A discussion about the annual Travel Lane County magazine arose as an item on the agenda. In the past, Oakridge and the surrounding area was limited to three pages of story, pictures, and ads. $4,560 is the approximate cost to Oakridge for their inclusion in the magazine.

Many questions surfaced about number of pages, ads, and whether Westfir has been contributing. It was decided to table the discussion until some of the concerns could be investigated.

Two special sessions to discuss a supplemental budget were set for December 27th at 6 pm, and a second on December 29th, also at 6 pm, if needed.

A reminder that process must be followed for changes

There was a debate of the Audit Committee resolution. Councilor Whitney reminded Council that any changes had to be made by the committee. Afterwards, the resolution will have to be put before a public hearing. Specifically, the concerns centered around the process for removal of a committee member. A first reading of the resolution was read by the mayor.

City Administrator James Cleavenger had only a couple of comments. He announced that both Hazeldell and Westfir are on board to contribute their portion toward the contractor hired to investigate a special district for emergency services. Cleavenger said counseling for emergency services personnel has been made available at a small cost to the City.

Cleavenger announced that the warming center has already been open for a total of ten days as of today.

The council quickly approved the November election results that were certified by Lane County Elections.

New audit firm and WAC RFPs approved

The city administrator was given the go-ahead to send out two request for proposals (RFP). One is for roof repairs and changing out and upgrading of the electrical system for the Willamette Activity Center (WAC). Similarly, an RFP is being produced to contract a new auditing firm.

Councilor Kinyon, in a closing statement, voiced her annoyance and frustration at the current auditors. She said that the entire process over the last couple of years has been disappointing. Kinyon also mentioned another frustration at the auditors. They have told the City that the most recent audit will probably not be submitted till sometime later this coming spring. That audit will be due at the end of December 2022.

State code change affects Oakridge house size

Rick Zylstra, Community Services Director, that recent additions to ORS197 overrides our city’s zoning ordinance for tiny homes. As part of these changes, the statute dictates that tiny homes can no longer be required to be owner-occupied. The larger impact of this change is that houses in the City’s jurisdiction do not have to meet the requirement of being 400 square feet or larger.

In public comments, Dan BARCLAY, (The Herald’s apology for misspelling your name previously) made two statements. He first congratulated both Kinyon and Whitney for hanging in as members of Council for the length of their respective terms. Alternately, He chastised the governing body, directing them to revisit the City Charter before discussing requirements for bonding.

Another resident said she appreciated the council’s demeanor.

A continuation of the agenda

All items listed on the evening’s meetings agenda were not able to be discussed. The mayor asked for consensus to suspend the meeting. A continuation of the agenda will be held on December 27, separately from the supplemental budget meeting to be held on the same evening.

 

 

 

 

 

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