City Department Updates April 13 – May 1, 2015

Administration/Utility Billing

• As of May 1, 2015 the outstanding balances on active accounts are as follows: 90 days $39.55, 60 days $292.64, 30 days $1,859.75

•  Late fees will be applied and shut off notices will go out May 18, 2015. Shut offs will be on May 30,2015

•  Utilities clerk added 7 new water/sewer accounts to our billing system.

•  3 Mechanical permits were issued.


Police Department-VPD

• April 9th, 2015 – April 15th, 2015 – The total number of Calls for Service and Officer initiated activity was 50.

• April 16th, 2015 – April 29th, 2015 –The total number of Calls for Service and Officer initiated activity was 87.

• All VPD staff attended “Crisis Intervention training.” This training was free and a majority of Columbia County Law Enforcement agencies attended. The training provided some additional tools/ways to successfully deal with people in crisis or mentally ill.

• VPD has focused on identifying nuisance violations. Several residence took advantage of the “Vernonia Clean Up” weekend and corrected some of the violations. VPD is still working with several residences to correct other problems.


• The first budget meeting was held. The Budget Committee received the proposed budget and heard the Budget Message from the City Administrator. Brett Costley was elected to chair the committee with Susan Wagner as Vice Chair. For a copy of the proposed budget  contact Angie at or stop by City Hall.

• The advertisement for bids for the WWTP project has finally been published and contractors are already responding to the ad. We are scheduled to open bids by the end of May. 

• Finance Director prepared a short summary of the current sewer debt owed by the City for the Public Works Committee meeting. The committee and staff are working together to come up with the best option for restructuring the way we charge for sewer usage.

• Finance Director had begun reviewing city contracts that are coming up for renewal (security, merchant services, etc.).

• Finance Director met with Council, City Administrator and Police Chief  to go over staffing options for the Police Department. An additional officer will be proposed in the upcoming budget cycle.

• Internal posting for Public Works Department closed on Wednesday, April 15th with one applicant. Congratulations to Kari Johnson on her new position. She has been working as a temp since last May.

Public Works

• Public works spent some time on training including review of water and sewer maps, learning more on the wastewater collection system and extra Water Plant training.

• Staff set up the portable pump at the sewer lagoons. This pump is run every year to lower the water level in the lagoons to make room for storage during the summer. The current wastewater permit only allows wastewater discharge from November 15 to May 16. When the new wastewater system is built we will be able to discharge all year round and this process will not have to be done.

• The lake pump is back online.

• The Lake and Anderson Park restrooms continue to be targeted for graffiti.


• Library Director continued to finalize programs, publicity, and outreach plans for Summer Reading this week. A full program list will be ready by mid-May.

• Attendance for Preschool Storytime and Baby and Toddler Time is starting to go up with our new schedule. Baby and Toddler Time is every Monday, 10:30 AM and Preschool Storytime is every Friday, 10:30 AM.

• Betty Huser, Columbia County Clerk, came to the library on Thursday to swear in library staff. Staff has to be sworn in every election to be an official ballot dropsite. The library will be open 12 – 8 PM on Election Day, Tuesday, May 19.

•  The library hosted the Oregon Humanities Program “The Power of Play: Promoting Health and Creativity” Tuesday, April 21. We had a small crowd but it was a great discussion with some fun activities. Our next Oregon Humanities Program will be on Wednesday, May 20, 6:30 pm “Guns in America: Exploring the 2nd Amendment.”

• The library will be having a special outdoor clean-up day on Saturday, May 16, 10 AM – 2 PM. Refreshments provided. Volunteers will be weeding, trimming, raking, power washing, and more. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Shannon Romtvedt at the library (503) 429-1818 or e-mail shannonr@vernonia-

• The library hosted “Penny’s Puppets” in honor of National Library Week on Wednesday, April 15, 6 PM. 38 attended the show (21 kids). Sponsored by Friends of the Vernonia Library.


• The Parks Superintendent James McMahon is focused on major parks clean up and maintenance. Anderson Park needed plenty of TLC after the winter.

• Mowing grass is a daily operation.

• Maintenance on parks equipment has also been a main focus.

•  Given the ongoing series of problems at our public facilities restrooms (stealing toilet paper, breaking paper and towel dispensers, etc. we are increasing the wattage over the men’s bathroom at Anderson Park to assist  the security system to provide better/sharper pictures and images for better recognition.

City Recorder/Administration

• Check the City website at for updates:

• City Hall began new hours starting Monday, May 4th, 2015 and will be closed for lunch from 12:30-1:30pm.

• Materials for New Spencer Park perimeter fence have been ordered. New Spencer Park will have a grand opening celebration Saturday, August 8th, 2015, during the Vernonia Friendship Jamboree celebration.

• City Recorder affirmed a new Planning Commissioner (Brian Cole) with the Oath of Office.

• The City has experienced numerous calls regarding homes for sale in the floodplain. Citizens should not hesitate to call and inquire about floodplain properties.

City Administrator

• City Administrator and City Engineer walked the downtown corridor and drafted proposals for Council for downtown trees/sidewalk/parking stalls.

• The City Administrator presented the Budget Message during the first Budget meeting. The Budget Committee’s job is to review the budget submitted by staff and to set spending policy for the coming year. The committee is made up by the five City Council members and five others.

• The City Administrator and new Parks Superintendent meet daily to establish work schedule for maintenance, improvement projects for our City parks. The meetings are focusing on short term and long term maintenance/cleaning/ improvements of our parks.

• The City Administrator attended “Coffee with the Commissioners” at Black Iron Grill. This was an opportunity for the citizens of Vernonia to meet the three Columbia County Commissioners and to chat with them about County and local issues, and discuss ideas and potential solutions to concerns and problems.