It was a mixed bag of issues being discussed at the October 7th council study session and meeting. Topics ranged from a discussion on the proposed lighting ordinance to an update on the Oversight Committee meeting regarding the Sheriff’s contract to the above noted requests for support – both monetary and non. Under the heading of those receiving support fell first the Planning Commission who held a joint study session with council on “Project Dark Sky”; the lighting ordinance. At this juncture, blanket support a la “We like the general idea” was all the council could do. The Planning Commission wants to assure the ordinance is clear, fair and enforceable. To that end the city had purchased a light meter to measure lumens and set standards for the ordinance. In preparation for the council/commission session, Commissioners Thad Gala and Ed Mayer ran tests with the meter only to discover it is frustratingly not the solution they had hoped it would be. The meter measures lumens at the source; for the ordinance, lumens would need to be measured from the property line. Thus it’s back to the drawing board for the Planning Commission. They will need to re-define the “enforceable” portions of the ordinance and are now looking to use watts and types of lighting as measurables. Once standards have been set, the draft ordinance will come back to council once more.
Another project receiving support was a group effort to lower runoff into the Rogue from The Cove section of the city. Peter Mazzini of the Upper Rogue Watershed Association made the presentation on the project and asked for in kind support. The project is jointly backed by the URWA, the Medford Water Commission, the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District and the community members of The Cove. Cove roads will be improved, not to the point of paving, but they will be crowned to aid in directing runoff into ditches and bio swales which will aid in filtering the water before it hits the river. Public Works Supervisor George Bostic was firmly in support of the idea as it will help with the city’s current total mass daily load (TMDL) issues. The “in kind” donation will be supervision by Bostic during various stages of the project. The current support is for “stage 1” of the project – the grant application for the plans.
During the evening meeting requests moved to the monetary kind and the response was not as positive. The issue of the Boosters request for $800 for the city flag program came up under unfinished business and again caused vast amounts of discussion on these types of requests in general. Councilor Gary Hughes stood firm on his previous statement that he will continue to vote no on all such requests for money until the council settles on a firm policy for how they will be handled. Councilor Leith Hayes asked that they add such an item to an agenda as soon as possible. Admin Joe Riker advised he will add it, probably to the next meeting, but noted they’ve discussed this issue before with no resolution and he feels they need to settle it if it is added. The upshot was a 2/2 vote, motion denied. During public comment Gary Endicott stated to council, “You gentlemen have a house in disorder” and felt it was unfair the Boosters were “held hostage” by the council’s lack of policy.
Bravely following this discussion was Mary Gunderlock with a SPAM Fest update. The fest went well in 2010 and they hope to make improvements and have an even better event in 2011. The issue of how much, if any, money they SPAM Fest folks would be requesting of the city – not surprisingly – came up. Gunderlock and Endicott advised they plan to ask for less money than in ’10, but as the event is months away and in early planning stages they don’t know how much they will ask for – or if they will ask for any at all.
When the matter of the Oversight Committee meeting regarding the Sheriff’s contract came up, the tables turned and the council asked for the support of the public. Both Mayor Holthusen and Councilor Hughes attended the meeting and are optimistic about its outcome. The Sheriff’s Department will give a full presentation at a November meeting, speaking to 3 points of import which came up: 1. having weekly contact between an SD supervisor and Riker 2. Clarifying how dedicated service and mutual aid will work together for everyone’s benefit 3. Gaining a better understanding of the facts behind the SD report statistics.
So – if all of this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of…the council will be appointing a new councilor to fill former Councilor Margaret Bradburn’s seat. Per the City Charter, council can appoint a councilor until the next available general election (11/2012). If you are interested submit a resume and a letter explaining why you wish to be a part of the council to City Hall by the close of business Oct. 21st. The council hopes to appoint the new member on Nov. 4th, so make your submission quickly if you think this job is for you!
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent