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Westfir City Council Meeting February 5, 2024:

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Westfir’s “Office Covered Bridge is still in continuous use. Several state and Federal agencies brought it back to life after years of neglect. Tim Bailey photo

By JOY KINGSBURY/for The Herald  —  The Westfir City Council passed a resolution dissolving the Fire Department Building Fund.  Monies in that fund were donated in the amount of $22,430.00.  The establishment of a Fire Department is found not to be feasible at this time. Funds will be used to refund donations, or, if a donor declines to accept, the amount will be allocated to Facilities.

A Supplemental Budget was passed in order to transfer grant funds from “Reserved For Future Expenditures” to Sewer and Water Operating Funds.

Oakridge Disc Golf Club was awarded $2,500 from RTMP for the Middle Fork Open to be held  6/29 and 6/30/24.  This project conforms to all requirements of the Room Tax Marketing Plan rules. The event will take place at the Portal course, and they expect a very good turnout for the tournament. The public is invited to watch the event. For those who wish to observe, a good view is obtainable with a short hike up the Alpine Trail.

Oakridge Police Department Report by Chief Martin shows Westfir with no case reports and seven incident reports.  The District Attorney is finally prosecuting some of these cases. Councilor Edward Johnstone suggested that Westfir have a breakdown of the percentage of Westfir’s use of total Police Services In 2023.

Oakridge Fire Chief, Scott Hollett, delivered his report:  The Westfir engine failed it’s pump test.  A service was done, but there are repairs that need tending to. The engine will require approximately $3,022.00 in repairs and parts, including shipping for a ladder.  In the 2023 Westfir portion of the annual report there is a total of seventy-two Westfir calls. Chief Hollett said there may be a ladder available, and he will keep an eye out for one that would help Westfir save money.  The shipping price for a ladder is $1,100.

Hazeldell will purchase a fire fighting and rescue vehicle that can go where regular engines cannot. They will order parts and build it themselves for two-thirds of the price.

Lane County Mental Health will establish an office in Oakridge to be available beginning sometime this summer.  It will be staffed by specialists twelve hours each day, located at least temporarily in the Oakridge Industrial Park. This will be a much-needed service to these communities and will relieve the Police Department of this service.

The Heritage Survey for Westfir’s Boat Launch/Turtle Island project will run $20,000 with an avaliable grant. The U of O Museum of Science and Natural History group will do the survey.  Mayor D’Lynn Williams will attend a Wednesday meeting for the preliminary trail route at the project site.

Sadly, a kiosk at the Portal was vandalized on January 24th. A large piece of plexiglass was stolen.  Photos and remaining plexiglass were removed.

Bobby Archer, Public Works Director, gave his report.  Total gallons used was 174,637, and total rainfall was 13.8”.  Wastewater treated was 174,637 gallons with no problems. The City of Westfir was awarded a $20,000 grant to be used for an existing water line evaluation study. The city will meet to review water rates at a future work session.

Nicole Tritton, City Recorder, will attend an in-person training in Local Budget Law. She gained useful knowledge at last year’s Budget Training and deems in-person training to be more beneficial to her than the webinar.

Pothole repairs through Civil West will cost the City of Westfir approximately $10,888.  Recorder Tritton told the council that this company, Civil West, can best manage and evaluate the work needing to be done.  Repairs will be paid through the American Rescue Plan Act. (ARPA) funds.

There was a deficiency in the Audit. Recorder Tritton will use the Auditor’s recommendations in a letter with a plan of action to the Secretary of State. The council approved.

There are two vacancies on the Budget Committee.  A total of five are needed by the first week in May.  Please submit your interest in serving at City Hall. There is a notice advertising for volunteers for these much needed positions.

Private citizen, Carina Hunt, has purchased the former Tonkin residence on 20th St., she asked for a reduction in her water bill due to an undiscovered leak. Ms. Hunt has lived in Westfir since June of this last year.  Her current water bill is $700.00. She turned off the water outside and called a plumber to discover where the leak had happened and how to repair it.  Ms. Hunt was granted a reduction in the amount of overage.  The line has had issues in the past. Repairs will be done as soon as possible, and the council will charge $108 for this month, then review the billing after the repairs are made.

The council recessed for an Executive Session at 7:19 p.m. to discuss city employment issues. The council reconvened at 7:52 p.m. with no action taken.

There is a small grant through (CIS) of $5,000 for removing brush.  The city will apply for the grant to help with brush removal expenses.

Councilor Derretta Huey announced the annual Easter Egg Hunt that will place at the Portal on March 30th, at 10:00 a.m. Volunteers will be needed starting at 8:00 a.m., and again after the hunt for cleanup.  The bridge will be closed via a permit for the hunt from 8:00-2:00 p.m..  Councilor Edward Johnstone will provide flyers to announce the event to the community.

Councilor Johnstone expressed his concern about feral cats and the spay and neuter programs.  He told the council that there are “Not many kittens this year, but there are two cats who are not neutered.” There were two locations where the homeowners told him, “The children love the kittens.”  This attitude makes it difficult to control the feral cat population.

Council briefly discussed possible regulation of B and  B’s in Westfir in future.

There being no further business, The meeting adjourned.

City Council meetings are open to the public on the first Monday of each month at 5:30PM at City Hall.  There is a sign-up sheet for public comment.  A hybrid method is available through the city website.

Joy Kingsbury is an Oakridge resident and regular contributor to The Herald.

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