With Thanksgiving just around the corner most folks are enthusiastically anticipating the aromas that will fill their homes throughout that day and salivating at the thought of that first bite of turkey. However those who attended the November 5th Shady Cove Council study session were reminded of a group of individuals who will have little – if anything – to be thankful for come the 26th – the homeless.
David Christian, Chairman of the Jackson County Homeless Task Force, gave a moving presentation on the issue and the County’s 10 year plan to end homelessness in our area. The plan, part of a nationwide program, is comprised of six steps centering on heightening public awareness of the problem and various ways to help those on the street to attain and keep jobs and affordable housing. Christian also asked that Shady Cove assign a delegate to the task force to get the City more involved. The mayor advised the council will discuss the matter further and come up with ways the city can contribute.
The bulk of the 2.5 hour study session was spent in continuing discussion of law enforcement for the City. Retired Torrance Police Officer and Shady Cove resident, Jim Ulrich, gave a presentation on what it would take to re-build the current Police Department. Based on his experience and research he felt 4 officers, including a working Chief, would provide the necessary coverage for the City. However, he cautioned that “necessary” and “ideal” are two different issues, and the Council and Citizens need to consider if the “Pride of ownership” that comes with having a Police Department is worth the potential liability issues that may ensue from same.
The main concern expressed by the Council was that if the City re-built to its previous staffing it would experience a repeat of its current situation.
This concern is not unwarranted as it came out that the Sheriff’s Department pays more than the SCPD and is prone to recruiting officers from the SCPD as they are already trained on the City’s dime.
Issues of cost surrounding the two options were also discussed (again) at length. The November 19th Council meeting will be held at the URCC and will be in the format of a Town Hall meeting so citizens can weigh in on the issue. Mark you calendars if you want your voice to be heard.
Also discussed in the session was a potential ordinance setting as spending limitation policy for the City. The Council feels any purchases over $5000.00 should have Council authorization.
Interim City Administrator Dale Shaddox advised the Council that no new ordinance is required. He noted that chances can be made to the current ordinance which he will do and will present in a future meeting.
During a Q & A regarding Accounts Payable, Councilor Hughes asked Mayor Holthusen if it were known that City Manager George Bostic is leaving. Holthusen stated that he did not believe that was public knowledge. “It is now” replied Hughes. On that note the study session was adjourned.
The evening meeting was refreshingly brief – all were still tired from the epic study session.
Highlights were few and included an announcement that the Hardware Store will now recycle fluorescent and other light bulbs and batteries free of charge. Also the new 911 center in Medford will hold an open house on 11/11.
Under New Business the topic of putting up a new reader board sign to go along with the new landscaping and sidewalk in front of City Hall was revisited. The sign would replace the multiple signs now there and list City Hall, URCC and the Thrift Store – an “all in one” sign.
The City has received one estimate to date and it’s a hefty $7000 and change. Shaddox advised the sign could be paid for out of the same fund as the landscaping and there is plenty of money available. However the Council would like the URCC to pay some percentage of the cost. Holthusen will speak to the folks at URCC about the sign at a later date.
More discussion, and likely more options and estimates, will be needed before a final decision is made. However, the current URCC sign was referred to as an “eyesore” so it seems evident the Council will be re-revisiting this topic in the not too distant future.
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent