Vernonia City News

At the February 18, 2014 City Council Meeting:


Topics from the Floor-Five members of the Vernonia Health Board, Rachel Langmaid, Wendy Sears, Olin Younger, Brett Costley and Erika Paleck, spoke about concerns that the Council and the Health Board have not reached an agreement on a lease for the property at the Rose Avenue Project where the Health Board  intends to build a new Health Center.  Concerns mostly centered on Council’s intention to charge rent for the property,  even though the Health Board has been told they would only be charged $1.  Health Board members expressed that the Council had not negotiated in good faith and had waited until the last minute to bring up the issue of rent.


Council Discusses Rent for Health Center-Although this item was not on their agenda, Council discussed, during the City Administrator Report portion of the meeting,  the Health Center lease and rent that they should charge all tenants of the Rose Avenue Project.  All Councilors expressed their commitment to the project and the importance of having health care available in our community, but also reiterated that they have an obligation to negotiate on behalf of all citizens of the community.    Council noted that because they are now partners with  Oregon State Parks for  the trail from Anderson Park to the Lake, they have additional maintenance responsibilities for the trail. Through a calculation that took into account trail maintenance and legal fees the City has incurred to obtain the Rose Avenue property, Council reached consensus that they would charge $15 per month for each of the four potential entities at the Rose Avenue Project.  According to Mayor/City Administrator Josette Mitchell, this is the final issue in the negotiations for the lease and that all other issued have been resolved.


Council Approves Purchase of New Billing System-Based on recommendations from the Public Works Committee and numerous staff members, the Council approved moving forward with a new Utility Billing system through Muni Billing.  The new system is user friendly, less expensive than the current system, does not require a contract, allows for different paying methods for customers,  provides the ability to produce useful reports and has a low initial installation cost.


Council Approves GIS Contract- Council approved a contract with Ben Fousek to provide GIS services to the City including mapping, documents and other related materials.  The scope of work also calls for working with the City Administrator to create a Flood Plain Management System.  The contract expires June 30, 2014 and is not to exceed $10,000.


Council Updates Master Fee Schedule-Council adopted Resolution 5-14, Amending the Master Fee Schedule including changes to Parks Fees, Cemetery Fees and Administrative and Planning Fees. The changes to the Parks Fees included the implementation of hourly, daily and weekend fees for use of the Vernonia Horse Arena at Anderson Park.  Changes to the Cemetery Fees included changes to the fees for Adult Internment, Arrival at the cemetery after 3:30 PM, Saturday Internment, and Sunday or Holiday Internment.  Changes to the Administrative and Planning Fees included the implementation of Consulting Fees for GIS Services hourly fees.


Council Adopts Supplemental Budget-Council approved  Resolution 6-14, adopting a supplemental budget for the General Fund.  The supplemental budget decreases Available Cash on hand by $22,045 and Income from Property taxes by $30,000 and also decreases Payroll expenses by $6,751, Police Department Expenses by $42,334 and makes other adjustments to several line items.