City Council met in regular session on December 21, 2020 at 6:00 P.M. in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
Mayor Lester presided
City employees present were City Administrator Kennedy, Attorney Green and Public Works Director Mager. Chief Newman absent.
MINUTES: The meeting was called to order and the minutes of December 7th were approved as presented by Councilor Peterson, seconded by Councilor Farris. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
VISITORS: Heather Newson, 416 Elk, had a rental and they demolished it. They plan to build a duplex and they were paying $15/month for the water bond. They now received a bill for $85/month. They feel like they aren’t getting services and it’s a lot for zero water consumption. They feel like they are being punished for trying to fix houses up. Their first thought was to sell and build out of town.
City Administrator Kennedy explained the Council has been working the last couple years on the water and sewer master plans. This past year, they have been discussing how to revise city code to make water and sewer rates equitable for all.
Councilor Grant stated everyone pays the minimum now. If she left on vacation for a month, she’d have to pay the same minimum. Mayor Lester stated DEQ and EPA are forcing the City into more changes. It’s not the end. The City is looking at water and sewer bonds in the future.
Public Works Director Mager stated even when the water meter is off, it is still live at all times. If it springs a leak, his department would fix it. If the meter box was ran over and broke, they would fix it. It always needs maintained. There is a cost to have the service to the property.
POLICE AND ANIMAL CONTROL REPORT: The department had 72 calls for service and 10 cases written for November 2020. Officer Brown is back from POST.
PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Public Works Director Mager stated the generator is in and functional at Park well. The tree is out of the alley on Mill Street and the stump ground. The trees are gone from the Pioneer Park and they were rotten. The new sander vehicle is completed and it came in barely under budget. The mixer motor has been sent off for repair and one of them is back.
The Fire Minutes of November 9, 2020 were accepted on motion by Councilor Peterson, second by Councilor Lane. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR REPORT: City Administrator Kennedy stated they have been working to send letters out on the water and sewer revisions recently adopted and to get the accounts back into active billed status. Two variations of the letter went out. The first was the short-term letter which included property owners that recently turned the water off or were gone for the winter. This letter stated the account would be activated on the December bill for minimum services less the garbage fee. The second letter was for accounts that had been off for years, vacant lots and various other reasons. These property owners were given until March 15th to decide if their account should be activated or if a service disconnect should occur. Mager and Debbie Urquhart are going through the old meter books to then compare to the current system to find additional names. These names will get a long-term letter as soon as they are identified.
BILLS: The bills, in the amount of $226,913.64 were approved and ordered paid out of their respective funds, on motion by Councilor Peterson, second by Councilor Winkler. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
2021 COUNCIL MEETING DATES: On motion by Councilor Farris, second by Councilor Canaday to adopt the 2021 Council meeting dates. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
SIDEWALK WAIVER: Mager stated there is nowhere to put the sidewalk in at 309 Hill Street. The street right of way is off and the meter box would be in the middle of the sidewalk. On motion by Councilor Grant, second by Councilor Farris to approve the sidewalk waiver at 309 Hill Street for Chris Kreuger based upon the public works recommendation. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
CONSTRUCTION ACCOUNT BILLING: Kennedy explained previously the City has allowed for construction accounts. Construction accounts are for new construction in which the water may be turned on during the building of a new house; however all consumption is saved until the house in completed. The account is then activated and the owner receives the first bill which includes the total consumption accumulated during construction. Kennedy would like this practice to continue with the new changes, but also to create a maximum construction time period. The maximum time period would be tied to the existing timeframe in City code of 9 months to install a sidewalk. Once the 9 months expires, all utility charges would be billed even if the house is not completed.
Discussion occurred on whether bonds should be paid even during construction. Councilor Grant felt any bonds should continue to be paid monthly; however the consumption could be rolled over and billed as lump sum at the expiration of the 9-month time period.
Kennedy will draft a policy for Council review at the next meeting.
DUMP TRUCK: Mager had Mike Tackett look for a dump truck. He found a 2021 Ford, plow and frame and box in Ohio that will be shipped for $98,349.00. The company works with government agencies all the time. On motion by Councilor Winkler, second by Councilor Grant to purchase the new dump truck as budgeted and authorize payment upon arrival for $98,349.00. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
FIRE FILLING STATION AND SCBA PURCHASE: Mager stated the filling station is in and the City is splitting the cost with rural fire. The SCBAs would be in in January and will be paid for by the City but then reimbursed through the grant. On motion by Councilor Grant, second by Councilor Canaday to authorize SCBA purchase through the grant as budgeted. ROLL CALL VOTE: YES: Canaday, Farris, Winkler, Lane, Grant, Peterson. NO: none. The motion passed.
PAWN, SECONDHAND & JUNK STORE LICENES: On motion by Councilor Lane, second by Councilor Peterson to approve the applications submitted by the following business for pawn, secondhand & junk store licenses. Motion carried by a unanimous vote of the Council present.
Brian Perry d/b/a B & B Bargain Store
Syringa General Hospital Foundation d/b/a Syringa Auxiliary Thrift Shop
Craig & Rhonda Clovis d/b/a Sissys Thrift
Sherry Jolliff d/b/a Sherry’s Closet Treasurer Thrift Store
INLAND CELLULAR LEASE: Attorney Green explained the City has a lease with Inland Cellular for a tower on the watershed. It had five-year extensions built into the lease and then annual renewal thereafter. If would like to renegotiate, the City would need to send them a letter stating we’d like to terminate lease and renegotiate. Councilor Grant asked if insurance was being provided as required. Kennedy stated yes. Councilor Grant suggested letting it go for another year at $2,500. No further action was taken.
The meeting adjourned at 6:59 P.M.
Wes Lester – Mayor
Tonya Kennedy – Clerk