COUNCILORS PRESENT: Dave Jones, Mayor Patrick McKenzie, Tracy Vaughan, Michael Myers, Walt Perry, Judi Day
COUNCILORS ABSENT: Dave Beyerl
STAFF PRESENT:Sarah Cook, City Recorder; Jeff Buskirk, PWD
COUNCIL MEETING CALL TO ORDER – Mayor McKenzie called the meeting to order at 6:30pm and led in the flag salute.
VISITORS - none
Annual Rate Review
City Recorder, Sarah Cook provided a summary of the fee list and went down each departments’ fees beginning with SDC’s and water rates, which she explained were currently under review with Westech Engineering and the City’s attorneys and more information would be provided at a later date. Moving on to development fees, she explained they were designed so development paid for itself and the City raised the fees by 5% every other year to keep up with inflation. The fees from Marion County, as the City’s building inspector, were set by them and the City kept 10%. Mike Myers suggested the staff conduct a comparison of other cities development fees, as the economy was picking up again and Jefferson should keep up. There was a consensus from the Council to move forward with the 5% increase at that time and bring back comparison data at a later meeting for further consideration.
Moving on to other general fees, Sarah Cook provided information on a suggested fee for utility bill inserts, noting the expense and frequency of stuffers. There was discussion amongst the Council on monthly postage fees, number of mailers, use of supplies, scheduling, etc. She further explained that the groups typically brought their own flyers and volunteers to stuff; however, there were times when the City printed materials on the back of the water bill, which in addition to the extra postage paid by the City for those groups adding paper in the envelope, also used up the copy machine ink and toner. Mayor McKenzie pondered the idea to not allow additional inserts from outside sources at all, since the City was paying anyway and it wasn’t up to them to advertise for outside groups. Councilor Myers noted most non-profits had little money, but he didn’t have a problem with a flat fee, noting $25 seemed reasonable, but he also felt it was a level of goodwill for the community. Councilor Vaughan commented that once a fee was established, those groups would choose whether to use the service or not. In the end, staff was asked to contact other cities to see if they allowed inserts from outside sources and if so, did they charge a fee, and report back to Council.
Public Works Director, Jeff Buskirk, spoke on storm water fees, explaining how the EPA mandated that cities must control storm water runoff from all streams and noted the City of Albany’s plan to implement a storm water utility in the near future. Currently, Jefferson was reporting on a TMDL (total mass daily load) so the City wasn’t forced to do as much with the new mandates just yet, but it was coming and expenses would be high, Jeff explained. Historically, most towns used some money from streets and sanitary funds to do the small, minor maintenance tasks, but new mandates were pushing toward making much bigger projects using bioswales and such, which Jefferson (and many other cities) did not have funding for. He explained that storm water collection, piping and maintenance should pay for itself and the City needed a dedicated fund for it. Many cities had implemented a fee on user bills to help accommodate those expenses and the City Attorney was working with Westech Engineering to look into that.
Councilor Perry expressed a concern with train residue going into storm drains. Jeff Buskirk explained that most storm water that came into Jefferson came from outside of town, out of the fields, off the hill and through town. With the new rules coming, the City would be charged with making sure it’s clean before it hits the Santiam river, noting that nobody knew for sure all of the rules yet, permits were still being written, but he had spoken to the City of Albany who was afraid they would not be able to comply either. Mayor McKenzie commented that it might not be much of an issue at the moment, but it was a foreseeable issue and that’s why he wanted to bring it to the Council’s attention. The idea of setting aside just $1 per utility bill would help prepare for what was coming. The goal was to implement a new fee in time for the new fiscal year. Councilor Vaughan thought considering a little bit more would be wise because one big project could wipe out any money that might be saved. Council agreed with the importance of getting the fee established and looked forward to getting more information as the other experts in the field compiled a plan.
City Councilors Top 2 Priority Projects
Mayor McKenzie provided background on how the topic came up and wanted to go down the line to hear summarized ideas from each Councilor.
Mike Myers: A lot of communities had things on their main roads in town that showed off their City and recalled when Jefferson had the banners that were made from the high school art class. He’d like to see funding started for that again. He felt it would help with self-image and identify Jefferson to people coming through and it was relatively inexpensive and a positive thing. He suggested asking the high school art students to design a Jefferson banner as a contest and Council could make a selection and award a winner.
Judy Day: Would like to see a task force come together to bring some businesses to town, including the possibility of looking at extending the city limits to accommodate that type of growth. Also, she would like to see a cleanup of the businesses and buildings along Main St.
Walt Perry: Would like to have a study done to bring in development to entice commercial growth within the city, including light manufacturing or product distribution. Also, about 3 years ago there was interest in a Main St. program and it fizzled out; he felt it needed to be brought back to the forefront.
Dave Jones: He understands how expensive it would be, but he wanted to see sidewalks and curbs throughout the entire town eventually. Also, in regards to development, there was a big area at 5th street if it was pushed through, that could be available land. He would like to see that get pushed through at some point.
Tracy Vaughan: Improvement in law enforcement was always on her radar. In addition, the old gas station property was a complete eye sore and she wondered about what the City could do to spruce it up; remove old concrete, lay new soil, install a bench, plant trees, etc. The Council, with the help of staff, provided background on the property and the risk of even giving the impression of ownership, DEQ mitigation, contaminated soil and so on. In addition, Councilor Vaughan wanted to address the whole river park area, the boat ramp, traffic problem, etc., as she felt it was important to maintain and good for the community.
Patrick McKenzie: city wide internet and the boat ramp.
Staff was asked to compile the ideas of the Council and put them on a list for the Council to prioritize at the next meeting.
IV. ACCOUNTS PAYABLE Councilor Myers moved to approve as presented. Councilor Perry seconded. All in favor: Ayes – 5, Opposed – 0. APPROVED. V. COUNCIL COMMENTS Mike Myers expressed the need for a new flag, as the old one was pretty tattered. Sarah Cook indicated one was already on order and would go up as soon as it was received.
VI. ADJOURNMENT - Councilor Myers moved to adjourn. Councilor Perry seconded. All were in favor and the meeting closed at 8pm.
MINUTES APPROVED this 24th day of March, 2016.