At the April 7, 2014 City Council Meeting:
Council Repeals Substantial Damage Determination-Council voted to repeal the Substantial Damage Determination for property at 658 Madison Avenue. The property was damaged during the 2007 flood. The repeal was made at the request of John Graham, who is the new property owner.
According to Mayor/City Administrator Josette Mitchell the previous owner fraudulently requested and received a Substantial Damage Determination in 2008. That owner never did the expected repairs after receiving about $12,000 in flood relief funds. The new owners purchased the property in November of 2013. Mitchell said this is only the second time that anyone nationwide has asked to repeal the determination. The repeal allows the new owners to make repairs and return the home to livable standards.
Council Approves Lease Agreement With Health Board-Council unanimously voted to approve the lease agreement between the City of Vernonia and the Vernonia Health Center Board for use of property at the Rose Avenue Project for construction of the new Health Center.
Spencer Park RFP-Mayor/City Administrator Mitchell told Council that the Vernonia School District (VSD) has moved forward and published an RFP to finish construction work at Spencer Park without an approval from the City Council. Approval of the RFP was on the agenda for the March 17th City Council meeting, but Council did not have a quorum and did not conduct any business at that meeting. Mitchell told Council she met with VSD Superintendent Dr. Ken Cox and discussed changes that were to be made in the RFP before publication, but that she has not received a final version of the RFP. Council took no action since they did not have final version to review.
Council Discusses Ridge Riders-After recessing to Executive Session, Council returned to open session and discussed the Vernonia Ridge Riders. Council determined that City staff needs to meet with Ridge Riders leaders to discuss the fact that a court of law has determined that the lease the Ridge Riders have been operating under is not valid and that a process for how the Ridge Riders use the horse arena, which is located on City owned property, needs to be determined.
Council Presented with Budget Schedule-Council received the schedule for the upcoming budget process for fiscal year 2014-15. The first meeting will be held on Friday, April 18 at 6:00 PM at the VCLC. The committee will receive the budget message and the proposed budget, elect a Chair and Vice Chair and determine meeting protocol. A Public Hearing will be held on Wednesday, April 23 at 6:00 PM and public comment will be taken. Subsequent meetings are scheduled for consecutive Tuesdays, as needed, starting April 29. All meetings will begin at 6:00 PM and take place at the VCLC. Additional meetings may be scheduled as necessary.
Council Discusses Betterment Distribution-Council discussed the need to determine how to issue Betterment Distribution funds. Council decided they will allow community groups to apply to be included in the process. Mayor Mitchell will return to Council with a draft.
Council Approves Pre-Application for Rose Avenue Project-Council approved a pre-application for a Community Development Block Grant for the Rose Avenue Project. The pre-application will be submitted by Community Action Team on behalf of the Senior Center and the Vernonia Cares Food Bank. Mayor Mitchell and Councilor Kim Tierney both abstained from voting.
Bleacher Repair-Council took no action on a recommendation from the Parks Committee to partner with the Vernonia Logging Show and spend $1,500 from the Parks budget. The money would be used to repair bleachers that are stored at Hawkins Park and are used by the Logging Show and for local youth sports activities. The Parks Committee proposed that the repaired bleachers could be used at Spencer Park when the new park is completed. Council raised concerns that the bleachers may not be up to current code and could pose a danger to users.
Council Approves Changes to Park Fees-Council approved Resolution 09-14, amending Resolution 14-08, Section 2, ‘Parks Fees.’ The amendment eliminates the fee for ‘Campsite with electric hook-up only’ at Anderson Park. Choices for RV campers are now to camp without hook-ups for $14 or with full hook-ups for $25. The amendment also changed the charge for an extra vehicle in campsites from $3 to $7. Councilor Donna Webb voted against the Resolution.
Council Approves Mitchell’s Request to Attend Conference-Council approved a request by Mayor/City Administrator Mitchell to attend a Floodplain Managers Conference from June 1-6 in Seattle WA. Cost to the City is $884.85 after Mitchell received $1076.42 in scholarship funds.
Mayor Reads Two Proclamations-Mayor Josette Mitchell read proclamations for Sexual Assault Awareness Month and National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Paleck Appointed to Planning Commission-With approval from Council, Mayor Mitchell appointed Erika Paleck to the Planning Commission.