Lingering issues included another discussion on the issue of trucks and cars parking in the ODOT pullout by the south end city Welcome sign. It is thought the area is used by local truckers to park rigs when not in use, and park cars while using rigs. Council feels so many parked vehicles at the city’s entrance is a tourist deterrent and wants to close off the area for parking. Administrator Danise Brakeman spoke with ODOT and if the city wants to make that area a no parking zone, they will post signage. From there it would be up to the city to enforce via parking tickets. In anticipation of the discussion, CSO Barry Moore posted notices on all vehicles parked in the pullout advising owners of the meeting and asking for their attendance or written input on the issue. Only one person replied asking if they would be ticketed immediately.
On the pro side of the issue was Councilor Jim Ulrich who is firmly for the parking ban and even did research in the area to confirm there are other places locally – both private and commercial – where rigs could be parked. He stated he does not want to hurt the drivers or their livelihood, but stands firm on his belief that the parked vehicles give bad face to the city’s entrance. On the con side was Councilor Bill Kyle who felt the rigs and cars weren’t an issue. Brakeman will pen a resolution to be voted on in April.
Another ongoing issue tackled was that of the city’s radio station. Currently there is no one at the station’s helm. David Christian would like to change that and made a proposal to take over management. Christian has run a small station in Ashland for 5 years with great success. In his proposal to council he noted he sees lots of potential for the small station to grow and be of great benefit to locals and tourists. Christian’s optimism and enthusiasm was quite infectious and during the evening meeting the council approved his contract 4/0. Councilor Leith Hayes was absent.
Impending spring also brings the renewal of the Sheriff’s contract. Brakeman reviewed the contract and found a few items she’d like to negotiate during the Sheriff’s Oversight Meeting. For example, she felt the proposed 8% salary increase was a bit high as Shady Cove generally has newer Deputies who are at a mid to low range salary and the 8% would be in line for higher paid Deputies. Mayor Ron Holthusen advised Brakeman to tread lightly in the Oversight meeting as the city is more than pleased with the Sheriff’s performance and all agreed the department goes “above and beyond” regularly; therefore the Mayor wants the contract to be tight, but “Not too tight.”
Two evening issues warranted lengthy discussion. The first was a motion to send Municipal Court Clerk Paula Stroop to the Oregon Association of Court Administrators Conference. All agreed Stroop should attend; it was the matter of how she would get there that was a bit controversial. Stroop plans to use her own vehicle which would require the city to pay gas and a $0.50 per mileage fee. Kyle recalled council had previously decided that those attending training would use a city vehicle if one was available; saving the mileage charge. Brakeman quoted from Stroop’s Union contract and it seems choice of vehicle is up to the driver. Still Kyle was firm that council had decided in the past not to pay the mileage if the attendee opted not to use an available city vehicle. There was brief talk of tabling the vote, but as the motion was to allow Stroop to attend with no vehicle specifics, there was a vote 4/0 in favor.
Last up on the agenda was a Use Right-of-Way agreement between the city and George Gaither. The agreement would allow Gaither to continue to landscape city property near the end of his driveway. Per Gaither he had a verbal agreement with a past Mayor and City Administrator about 10 years ago, but can’t recall exactly which Mayor it was. Brakeman suggested the agreement be put in writing. That was the easy part; the motion to allow Gaither to keep up the landscaping passed 4/0. However Gaither also wanted to discuss the issue of graveled vs. paved roads and runoff from the former. He advised he been trying to work with the city for years on solving these issues. Though nothing was done formally on this topic as it was not on the agenda..Likely Brakeman will follow up when the use issue is signed at a later date.
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent