“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Abraham Lincoln. Technically the Shady Cove City Council was still standing after nearly 5 hours of meetings on April 8 – but one more divided decision on that day of disagreements might have tipped it.
Amid “business as usual” tasks such as annual RVCOG and ACCESS updates, four larger issues loomed. First -and the sole item unanimously agreed on – was the discussion of a Park Fact Finding Committee proposed by Gary Endicott. The goal of the committee would be to look at the county park (where the boat ramp is) and research all thoughts, dreams, options and answers on future city involvement i.e. helping maintain the park to part or whole ownership. The committee will have no decision making power, but will report all findings to council. The proposal was approved and Endicott and his team of three will dive into the project immediately.
Next up another committee was formed – the long anticipated Citizen Water Plan Task Force. As reported in the March 17 council article; the task force was to be a team of 7. This number was agreed upon after much discussion and debate on the 17th. However, council received 11 applications and some felt all 11 should be appointed. There were several “pain points” regarding applicants: 3 of the 11 do not live in Shady Cove, Councilor Leith Hayes felt they should be eliminated narrowing their decision to 8. Mayor Ron Holthusen stood firm on 11 noting the 3 in question all had financial interest in the city. Two of the 11 currently serve on the Water District board of trustees; according to a statement by George Endicott some folks feel that distinction should bar them from “The Force” Endicott and council at large disagreed. Lastly 3 applicants have extensive travel plans in the immediate future. Holthusen felt the travel plans were a point in favor of 11 over 7. Hayes stood firm on their previous decision that 7 was a more manageable number and stating he felt 11 was “chaos”. Administrator Danise Brakeman added that if the force were upped to 11 they would be more readily able to go door to door to survey residents if/when it came to that. This issue had come up during the March 17 meeting; at that time it was decided 7 members could form a sub-committee to garner more bodies for any door to door survey. In the end all 11 eager folks were named to the force and they will have their first meeting as early as next week.
Two FEMA issues then cause more divided discussion. First, Brakeman presented a proposal that called for all homeowners living in the flood plain to pay a $15. monthly fee to help offset the city’s cost of FEMA management. The FEMA budget was $60,000 per year, it’s gone over for this fiscal year to 66k and is projected to be $70,000 for 2011/2012 – though changing from Public Works Management to Building Design Services was not supposed to change the $60,000. Councilors Bill Kyle, Gary Hughes and Hayes were all opposed. Kyle and Hayes noting that not all residents have access to city streets (i.e. those living on the highway) but all pay into street funds. They felt flood plain issues should be handled in a like communal manner. Hughes felt they should just stick to the $60,000 stating, “We don’t have to bankrupt the city to pay for FEMA regulations.” He felt they could negotiate with FEMA, slow the process a little and stay in budget. As this hot topic came up during the study session – no decision was made.
Speaking of FEMA…Martin Lew came before council asking for a 6 month extension on completion of his 3 remaining FEMA violations. Again council split down the middle. None were in favor of 6 months, but some felt 2 or 3 would be ok – while others felt he could easily comply within the current 30 day deadline. Lew has been working on compliance for 5 years and was notified of these final 3 minor issues in May of 2010. Still, Lew advised he felt not all of the violations (rather solutions to the violations) were made clear and he felt more time was needed. After nearly an hour of discussion the Mayor stated to Lew “I would ask you to step up to the plate as a member of the community” and get the job done. The remaining violations are relatively simple and Lew will need to comply by May 6,2011.
By Christy Pitto
Of he Independent