With spring finally here and sunny days becoming more common than anomalous, it’s tempting to shirk duty and laze in its rays. A city doesn’t run itself however, so the Shady Cove Council and Budget Committee spent an otherwise dazzling spring afternoon and evening dealing with matters of cleanliness and support, and even whether or not to support cleanliness.
Starting off the joint council and budget study session came a brief proposition from Southern Oregon Sanitation. They would like to start providing a yard waste service to the city. Folks would get a separate bin and yard waste would be picked up every other week. Council felt it was a fine idea and SOS will be back with a formal estimate soon.
Cleaning on a minutiae level, the committee went through each of the city’s fees line by line and discussed possible adjustments, many fees up, some down. No final decisions were made as the budget still needs to be passed by council.
Keeping it clean the budget committee tied up some lose ends from their recent meeting. They wanted to list out some long term goals; items this and future committees should keep an eye on and not let slip through the dusty cracks. After lengthy discussion it was decided the flood plain management budget and the reserve category warranted the most long term attention. There was some debate on one reserve revenue source: the raft tax. Mayor Ron Holthusen again proposed the raft tax be raised and the extra be put toward river cleanup for aesthetic and TMDL (total mass daily load) purposes. With the Boosters unable to keep up with the cleanup task, the Mayor met with Peter Mazzini of the Upper Rogue Watershed Association and Peter Peterson of the Guides Association to see if they would take on the job. Both groups are willing and the Mayor felt some monies from the city would be of help. The budget committee felt the any extra raft tax monies would be better put in the reserve category, Tom Anderson going so far as to say city entities shouldn’t be involved in river cleanup at all, and it needed to be a strictly volunteer effort.
Conversely it was decided that the streets do need cleaning and repair. During the evening meeting there was a 2 minute Public Hearing (the public was mute) on the use of State Revenue Sharing funds. There were resolutions to accept the funds and to verify the city qualified to do so. Funds will go to the general fund and be used largely for street maintenance. Giving literal support to cleaner streets the council agreed to compose and sign a formal letter of support for a project they previously gave verbal support to. Paula Trudeau presented the council with a brief review of a proposed project to help prevent silt runoff into the river from the streets in The Cove area (initially presented to council in October by Mazzini). A grant proposal for the project was denied with advice to the joint team of URWA, the Medford Water Commission, the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District and the community members of The Cove on how it might be granted in the future. Trudeau advised formal support from the city would be most helpful.
Lastly Administrator Danise Brakeman made a formal request to clean up her calendar by offering less support to the Planning Commission. Brakeman would like to attend commission meetings on an “as needed” basis (i.e. public hearings etc) and let the commissioners take more of a leadership/proactive role in study sessions. Councilor Gary Hughes was firmly against the idea noting the administrator has traditionally attended all commission meetings. Councilor Leith Hayes saw benefits to both keeping the status quo and in Brakeman cutting attendance. It was decided that Brakeman will meet with commission Chair Erin Elder to discuss the issue and with the next commission meeting being a presentation by URWA on the water retention system installed in the Upper Rogue Community Center and URWA’s role in the upcoming riparian ordinance creation and implementation; Brakeman will likely test run her absence and see how things progress without her at these types of meetings.
The evening meeting ran 90 minutes – half the time of the afternoon meeting – allowing everyone to at least enjoy a few minutes of waning sun.
By Christy Pitto
Of The Independent