City Department Updates March 16-27, 2015

Administration / Utility billing 

• As of 3/26/2015 the outstanding balances on active were as follows:

90 day 147.26

60 day 915.34

30 day 4294.84

• Sent out 193 shutoff notices on March 17th, 79 door hangers went out on March 24th, we had 7 shutoffs on March 27th.  • • REMINDER: This is a reminder to Utility customers that they can now register their account online. You can login and view your account information, current balance, and payment history. You can also pay your bill online thru a third party merchant. Check the bottom portion of your bill for registration information.

Police Department – VPD

• March 11th, 2015 – March 18th, 2015 – The total number of Calls for Service and Officer initiated activity was 61.

• Nuisance Violations: The Vernonia Police Department continues to work on nuisance violations. Several properties around the City have been identified as having minor to major violations. Some of the properties in question are vacant and it has been difficult to locate the responsible owners.

• Explosive Devices: On Friday, March 13th two old hand grenades were found in a shop at a local residence. These types of devices are found occasionally and a majority of the time the explosive material has been removed. Unfortunately, we are unable to tell if the devices are safe or not by looking at them. Therefore, the Oregon State Police Explosives Unit was contacted for safe disposal. Upon their arrival, they x-rayed the devices and determined that the explosive material had been removed. When devices like this are found, Law Enforcement should be notified immediately so that the items can be safely removed and destroyed. 

Finance

• Staff met with City Planner (who  recently resigned her position) to review several sets of plans for new construction. It was a very interesting learning experience and now we will be able to help with simple planning tasks until we find a replacement planner. We are currently processing four sets of plans for new homes.

• We are close to being ready to advertise for bids for the WWTP. We should have something out by the end of the month.

• Our park hosts at Anderson Park have given their notice. Staff will be posting an ad for a replacement soon.

• Finance Director has been working with DEQ to make sure we’ve submitted all required documents for the interim financing. This is basically a double check to ensure nothing was missed. The financing of the WWTP required a lot of paperwork to be submitted.

• Work on the budget draft continues. The Finance Director is computing the final figures this week and will be getting final input from department heads.

Public Works

• The Lake pump continued to work without any problems other than the power outage on Saturday. The lake should be at full capacity.

• Staff spent some extra hours at Airport Park this week helping the park host finish with winter cleanup in preparation for the park opening next month. This included grading of the roads and campsites, removal of the tree that fell over the winter, picnic table repair, and placement of some extra fire rings

• Public Works staff began cleaning storm drains and catch basins this week. This project involves using the high pressure sewer jetter to clean out the pipes and the street sweeper to suck out the debris that has accumulated in them. The job is a fairly slow process as there is usually a lot of debris in the pipes. Staff worked on 2nd Avenue and removed about 3 yards of debris just from that one street. This project will continue for the next few weeks.

• Staff put out 79 door hanger reminders for late water bills.

• Staff completed some much needed maintenance on City vehicles and equipment. This included the street sweeper and the backhoe.

Library 

• City Council approved the library’s new Computer and Internet Use Policy. This policy updates language reflecting current technology and more clearly outlines the rules for computer use. The previous policy required minors under 18 to have written parental permission to use computers at the library. The policy in place no longer requires written parental permission and reads as follows:

Children under 10 years of age must be directly supervised by a parent/legal guardian or adult caregiver while using the computer. Parents/legal guardians who wish to restrict computer access for a minor (age 17 or younger) may do so at any time by requesting a Minor Internet Access Restriction form.

• The new library Writers’ Group had a first meeting Thursday evening at 6:00 PM. Meetings are facilitated by Susan Schmidlin, a local writer who has several years of experience leading workshops. The group will meet the 3rd Thursday of every month at 6:00 PM. All levels of experience are welcome. Meetings start with one or two writing prompts with an opportunity to share afterwards. Participants are also invited to bring their writing with them to meetings to pass around and get feedback from other members.

• Friends of the Library Spring Booksale raised approximately $400 for the library. Thank you to the Friends for all your hard work!

• Library Director has been busy lining up programming for Summer Reading this week. Summer Reading will run June 15 – July 31 and include craft programs, professional performers, prizes, and incentives. A full program schedule will be ready by mid-May. Summer Reading is funded by the Ready to Read Grant and the Friends of the Vernonia Library, and made possible by the work of several volunteers and donations from local businesses.

• The library is seeking volunteers for the Summer Reading program. Opportunities include: designing a one hour children’s craft/activity program, volunteering at a program, and working at a “station” at the Summer Reading party Thursday, July 30. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the Library Director, Shannon Romtvedt (503) 429-1818 or shannonr@vernonia-or.gov.

• Library staff are busy every week adding new and donated materials to the collection, withdrawing damaged and outdated materials, preparing story times, crafts, and other programs, checking books in and out, communicating with patrons regarding their accounts, shelving, helping patrons on computers, faxing/copying/scanning documents for patrons, and answering questions. We are here to help!

City Recorder / Administration

• Began email inquiry and phone discussion with State Parks representative about Circuit Park Host database and posting procedures.

• Worked with City Attorney to formulate and approve acceptance of right of way property on Alder Street.

• Worked with City Attorney to finalize the necessary documents for the zone change property on Bridge Street.

• Worked with City Administrator and Utility Clerk to find resolution to discrepancies in water customer account.

• Assistant to the CA, met with Damon Richardson from Pacific Sports Turf, Public Works staff, and members of Jamboree and Parks committees, to discuss the use of new Spencer park soccer field for Jamboree car show, maintenance and damage mitigation alternatives. City Council requested an on-site visit along with a recommendation from a third party advisor prior to approving or denying the proposed use.

• Communicated with representatives of the Vernonia Ridge Riders to finalize the City/VRR agreement for use of Anderson Park arena.

• Met with Mayor Parrow and VRR President Nathan Owen to formally sign Covenant Not To Sue and MOA Agreement with notary.

• Identified all Downtown Businesses effected by the damage the trees on Bridge Street are causing. Sent 32 business owners letter from City Administrator notifying them of April 6th, 2015 Council meeting where solutions will be presented to Council.

• Prepared staff reports for Council meeting April 6th, related to City Car Cost Analysis and City Hall lunch hour data.

• Developed RFB for timber harvesting and went over outline of plan with City Administrator.

• Discussed options for perimeter fencing at new Spencer Park with City Administrator.

• Assisted property owners in knowing floodplain restrictions and expectations.

• Worked with utility billing staff and GIS to streamline uploading and posting process.

•  Worked with Scott Laird,  Parks Committee Chair to move forward Parks Committee projects.

• Reorganized building and planning documents and function of permit system.

City Administrator

• City Administrator met with Nina Reed (Ticor Title Company ) to sign all documents pertaining to all financial document relevant to the Vernonia Senior Center Building (446 Bridge Street): BUYER’S ESTIMATED SETTLEMENT STATEMENT, ADDITION AND/OR AMENDMENT TO ESCROW INSTRUCTIONS etc.

• City Administrator met with Larry Snethen (Lake Park Host) to discuss Lake park conditions and proposed improvements for incoming season. Last week the pump was started, and water has reached a good level in the lake. It is also anticipated that Fish and Wildlife will drop more fish either this weekend or earlier next week.

• City Administrator met with Councilor Tierney to discuss incoming meetings/projects. This has been (and is) a very beneficial weekly/biweekly meeting to discuss strategies, clarify Council intent/direction and identify potential solutions to outstanding issues.