“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?” Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland. Truly there was a bit of a “down the rabbit hole” sense to the October 21 Shady Cove City Council study session and meeting. Things ended as they had begun, decisions made were un-made and it was out with the new in with the old, um newer old…indeed; “curiouser and curiouser”.
Things began rather plainly with a FEMA update by Becca Croft of PWM. All is progressing on target for Phase 3 of FEMA compliance. Additionally acceptance of the new flood plain maps is on the horizon, approximately 70 homes not previously in the plain will be once the maps are accepted. Those who are affected will receive notice and will have a brief window where they can purchase flood insurance at a bit of a discount being “newly inducted” into the FEMA world. Following the FEMA update came the first of two very lengthy discussions on matters financial; this one considering what fees (if any) tocharge whom for FEMA inspections.
The current policy: a $350.00 permit fee is charged to those who a) voluntarily have a FEMA inspection b) require a permit for flood plain construction c) want the “golden ticket” certifying compliance. No fee is being charged to folks whose “number comes up” in the drawing system for random inspections. Following some intense – bordering on heated – discussion on the topic – that is still the policy.
What fell in between the status quo being maintained were suggestions such as charging “drawing” homeowners some hourly rate should repeated inspections be required and/or possibly charging all those living in the flood plain some fee to offset the $60,000 per year cost of FEMA compliance inspections, follow up, etc. Councilor Leith Hayes (who lives in the flood plain) noted it seemed unfair that taxes from all citizens are spent on a problem affecting only a few hundred homes. Via public comment Lalah Davis wondered if the city would then charge a fee to folks living on higher crime streets for Sheriff fees or those without water for time spent writing grants. She noted the community is just that; and each demographic absorbs some cost of the others. All this eventually brought the policy back to ground zero. Though this topic was on the evening agenda, no vote was called as no real change was made.
In similar vein the “hot topic” of creating a firm policy on city donations to public events was also discussed. Back during the July 1st council meeting the issue was first discussed in earnest and it was thought specific events could become line items on the budget and possibly donations could be decreased to repeat requestors over a period of time. As with FEMA fees – the beginning was the end – and this is the policy the city will adopt. “Will” not “has”; though the Mayor wrote up a proposal, it needs to be re-written and will be formalized at a future meeting. However, as with the FEMA fee – the path from proposal to decision was not a straight one.
Extensive discussion occurred including a rather tense tangent regarding the topic of “in kind” donations. This seemed to hit a nerve with Councilor Gary Hughes who noted though in favor of in kind donations, he does not want City Hall to “get into the copy center business”, referring to city staff running off copies of advertising materials for various events. One such recent event, which potentially caused the agenda for the Oct. 21 meeting to be delayed, seemed a particular irritant.
In the end it was decided that what would be acceptable in kind donations along with dollar amounts given for actual donations would be a matter settled in the 2011/2012 budget meeting. Those events wishing to ask for donations must submit requests to the budget committee in Jan/Feb. Events approved will be added as line items by the budget committee. Note: being a line item is not a guarantee of a donation, budgets and detailed requests are still required prior to formal approval. Line items will serve as guidelines to aid in fair contributions and prevent going over budget. Meanwhile for the balance of the fiscal year, donation requests will continue to be handled on an individual basis. The policy very nearly in stone was enough to satisfy Hughes who ended his moratorium on donations and motioned in the evening meeting to give the Boosters their previously requested $800.00 for their flag program.
To the matter of “out with the new, in with the old” following the study session was an Executive session newly added to the agenda and running from 4:15 to 4:45 pm: Executive Session in accordance with ORS 192.660(2)(i) to review and evaluate the employment-related performance of the chief executive officer of any public body, a public officer, employee or staff member who does not request an open hearing.
It was announced in the evening meeting that City Administrator Joseph Riker III had resigned as of 5:00 pm on Oct. 21st. The motion to accept his resignation passed 4/0. Immediately following was a motion to re-hire former Interim City Administrator Dale Shaddox effective Oct. 22; motion passed 4/0. During public comment it was asked and confirmed that a) Shaddox had been contacted and would accept b) Riker’s independent contract did not expire until Nov. 1st; therefore the city will not owe him the balance of his annual salary.
“I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!” Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent