City Department Updates: February 2-13, 2015

Administration / Utility Billing 

• Late fees will be applied on 2/17/15. Shut off letter will be sent out on 2/17/2015. Shut offs will be on 2/26/2015

• Staff is getting ready to send out the Six month Business License renewal.

• As of 2/13/2015 the outstanding balances were as follows: 90 days $1,098.37, 60 days $3,532.38, 30 days $14,280.26

 

Police Department – VPD 

• Statistics; The total number of calls for service and officer initiated activity in January 2015 was 299.

• January 30th, 2015 – February 4th, 2015 –The total number of Calls for Service and Officer initiated activity was 54.

• February 5, 2015 – February 11, 2015 – The total number of Calls for Service and Officer initiated activity was 62.

• Departmental Training- All VPD Officers will be attending “Emergency Vehicle Operation” training over the next two weeks. The training is in Portland and VPD vehicles will be traveling for training.

• Reserve Officer Update: VPD will reopen for Reserve Police Officers in July upon budget approval. The last two potential candidates were unable to successfully complete the process.

• Surplus Patrol Vehicles: As of February 12, 2015 VPD has not received an acceptable bid on the two surplus patrol vehicles. We will be relisting the vehicles next week.

 

Finance 

• A job posting was placed on Monday for Assistant to City Administrator/City Recorder. After over 10 years of service to the City, Joann Glass has retired. She has been a great asset to the City and will be missed. We wish her all the best. The job posting can be found on the City’s website, the League of Oregon Cities website and in the local newspaper. 

• There is also a job posting for part-time custodian on the City’s website and the local newspaper.

• The WWTP project is slowly progressing. Final revisions to the RFP for construction bids have been made and sent to USDA for final approval.

• Finance Director met with the City Administrator to discuss possible staffing options for Parks. The City is looking at staffing requirements for the upcoming season.

• Finance Director has started working on the first draft of the budget for next fiscal year. We are hoping to be able to work in some new staffing options as well as set aside money for repairs to the City’s buildings.

 

• Finance Director met with the Risk Management Coordinator from CIS (the City’s insurance carrier) for the annual best practices survey. The higher our score for compliance the more we save on our liability premiums.

• The Finance Director has been working with the City Recorder in order to take over some of her duties. Once a replacement has been hired, we will assess which staff will be responsible for administrative tasks that were previously done by the recorder.

• The Library now has 4 of the 6 computers that were being upgraded ready for use. The process to upgrade is taking a little longer than originally estimated. Again, the City would like to thank everyone for their patience during this time.

 

Public Works 

• Public Works staff began trimming trees downtown this week. The downtown trees were planted in 1999 as part of the street scape, water main project that also included replacement of all of the downtown sidewalks.

• Staff have finished removal of the Cemetery tractor engine. After disassembly the internal damage appears to be less than what was expected. We are hoping to have it repaired and back in service in the next 2 to 3 weeks depending on parts availability.

• Public Works met with some of the Parks Committee members to discuss the new Spencer Park restroom designs and internal fixtures.

• Staff spent a day working with Hamer Electric tracking down and repairing some minor electrical problems that have been occurring at sewer pump stations #2 and #3.

• Public Works foreman attended water wastewater training short school in Salem this week.

• With all of the heavy rain water plant operations consumed all of one staff member’s time on Monday. The total rainfall was almost 4 inches.

• Some minor road work was done on the roads around the lagoons.

 

Planning / Building 

• Building and Electrical permits are starting to pick up as the weather changes which means that people are thinking about repairs and upgrades before summer begins.

• Planning Commission received an update on the pending zoning changes at their February meeting.

• Planning Commissioners have concerns about the water runoff from the two newly built homes on 4th Avenue and questioned if that is being monitored by the City.

 

 

Library 

• Circulation Statistics: 1,798 items were checked out January 2015. By comparison, 1,978 items were checked out December 2014 and 2,346 items were checked out January 2014.

• New Members: 8 new library patrons in December 2014. Welcome!

• The library now offers a Baby and Toddler Time every Wednesday at 10:30 am in addition to our Preschool Storytime on Mondays at 10:30 am. We had a fun crew of 8 this Wednesday. After stories and songs, we blew, popped, and stomped a lot of bubbles!

• Library Director met with a volunteer interested in forming a Writer’s Group. The group will meet once a month and be open to all levels of experience. If you are interested in being part of this group, contact the library 429-1818 or e-mail shannonr@vernonia-or.gov. Please leave your contact information and dates and times that work best for meeting.

• Library Director made preparations for the installation of new public computers. Thank you to City Hall staff for getting the library back in full operation.

• The Library just received confirmation that our two applications for Conversation Projects have been approved. The following programs are sponsored by Oregon Humanities and the Friends of the Vernonia Library and will be held at the library. Tuesday, April 14, 6:30 pm The Power of Play: Promoting Health and Creativity with Jonathan Blasher and Tara Doherty of Playworks. Tuesday, May 19, 6:30 pm Guns in America: Exploring the Second Amendment with Reed College professor Pancho Savery.

 

City Clerk / Administration 

• Thank You for all of your well wishes and congratulations on my retirement, February 13, 2015. The next chapter in my life now begins. I am very proud of my accomplishments and have enjoyed my many jobs at the City with no regrets.

 

City Administrator / Administration 

• The City Administrator and Public Works crew responded to a water runoff/overflowing situation along Texas Avenue. Swales were cleaned, and the culverts were bored for better water circulation.

• The City Administrator met (individually) with representatives of the Parks Committee to discuss potential strategies to improve the conditions of our City Parks and implementing a plan to maintain our parks in good conditions. The City Administrator will have a conversation with Council about recommendations for improved operations.

• The City Administrator walked the entire downtown corridor and visited every downtown business and distributed a flyer to invite business owners/managers to an Open House about Downtown. The Open House (brown bag lunch) is to hear about concerns, issues and vision for Downtown/ “Main Street’ Vernonia on Tuesday, February 24th (12:00 pm – 1:30 pm) at the Cabin in Vernonia

• The City Administrator and newly elected Councilor Mike Seager toured the city to visit City’s facilities, neighborhoods and parks.

• Letters were sent to the businesses adjacent to the Vernonia Community Learning Center (VCLC). These letter were to inform those businesses that as of January 23, 2014 the City of Vernonia had leased the VCLC to the Vernonia Senior Center. The building and the entire property (inclusive of the outside courtyard and the parking lot in the back) are, therefore under the jurisdiction of the Vernonia Senior Center who will have exclusive use of all the facilities.  Questions should be addressed directly to the Vernonia Senior Center, and permission could only be granted (if granted) from the Vernonia Senior Center.

• Well, it is hard to imagine, but here we are… Joann Glass, you have left a remarkable legacy behind and one which will remain with us for years to come. You are leaving the City of Vernonia a better place than when you found it, and that, in itself, will remain a lasting tribute to your professionalism.  We will miss you, our colleague, a consummate and dedicated professional, a friend, a wise counselor, and a shoulder to lean on. May the years that lie ahead be filled with laughter, happiness and even more dreams achieved.