At the March 16, City Council Meeting:
Council Votes to Forgive Portion of Water Debt – Council received a letter from Mrs. Sandra McLean who experienced higher than normal water use during a time she had a water leak. It took some time to locate the leak and Mrs. McLean had bills approximately $100 over normal use. She told Council she is on a fixed income and requested help. Council voted to forgive 50% of her overage and instructed staff to develop a payment plan for the remainder of the amount.
Topics From the Floor - Frank Patrick, representing the Curl family, told Council he is challenging the City’s ability to change their utility rate structure and increase the amount they charge for the 2 inch water meter on his client’s property. The complaint is in response to letters recently sent out by the City informing some customers that they had been billed incorrectly for a smaller size water meter than was actually in use.
Council Approves Street Closure for Open Air Market - Council approved a request from Bill Langmaid, representing the Open Air Market, to hold the Market on Adams Avenue, at Bridge Street and to close the street for the market on Saturdays from 9 AM – 3 PM beginning in June. Council approved the request for the months of June and July and will revisit the request to see if there have been any issues. Council had previously rejected the request to hold the Market on Adams Avenue which was presented by City Administrator Gian Paolo Mammone on behalf of the Open Air Market.
Council Approves Library Internet Policy – Council approved a new internet use policy at the Vernonia Library presented by Library Director Shannon Romtvedt. The new policy no longer requires parent permission slips be signed for use of the internet by minors because of the difficulty in keeping track of this paperwork, but instead will track a list of minors who are restricted from use of the internet.
Council Approves Library Surplus List - Council approved a list of items, including computers, keyboards, monitors, printers, and shelving as surplus and authorized their disposal or sale.
Council Hears Water Services Report - Council received a written and verbal report from GIS consultant Ben Fousek on the Water Services work the City has been doing. The report summarized work to replace the antiquated utility billing system, map and locate all water services in the system, standardize billing and rates, and provide analysis for City decision makers.
Council Approves Extension of Ball Field Lease - Council approved a proposed extension of the lease agreement for use of land owned by Richard Titus and Kenneth and Penny Smejkal for city ballfields.
Council Delays Decision on Use of Fields for Jamboree - Council delayed making a decision about use of the new sports fields at Spencer Park for use during Jamboree until they have an opportunity to have a consultant examine the fields for established growth and give them guidance about maintenance.
Council Discusses Open Positions – Council and the City Administrator discussed plans and timelines for filling several open staff positions. Open City positions include a newly created parks manager, a full time permanent Public Works position, and the City Planner position. There also needs to be a determination of whether the GIS position should remain a contract position or become a staff position.