Jackson County Commissioner Don Skundrick attended his first Shady Cove Council meeting of 2013 on February 8. Turns out it was a good meeting to attend as council covered a range of topics, giving Skundrick a good overview of the variety of issues the city will face in the new year.
The first topic warranting extended discussion was a new proposal regarding the city paying a portion of the matching monies if the Fire Department is awarded a FEMA grant to pay Firewise Coordinator, Jenny Hall. When first discussed on January 3 FD4 was asking the city to be co-applicants on the grant and pay the full $3000 in matching funds. The new proposal is that the city consider paying $1500, with the decision being made during the next round of budget meetings. The monies would be reapportioned from the Disaster Preparedness fund. Councilors Bill Kyle, Leith Hayes and Gary Hughes all agree that Firewise is an important benefit for the city, but also feel it is FD4’s responsibility to raise the full $3000. Hayes noted FD4 has the benefit of the Fire Support Group who has shone in the past at fund raising efforts. The city does not have the same fundraising ability. Kyle noted that with Ed Mayer hired in January (via Building Development Services) to continue work on the city’s disaster preparedness plan, the monies in that budget line are essentially already spent. The issue may or may not arise again at budget time.
Under New Business fell two rather coincidental requests for two separate sets of folks to use recreational vehicles as temporary living quarters. Per city ordinance there is a 22 day limit on such use, however the city has an option to extend this time period. This was last done in July of 2010 for a church caregiver. Hughes worried that once again allowing extended usage would further set precedence in general and more specifically feels council needs to uphold the city’s ordinances.
Both requests stemmed from extenuating circumstances. The first request was for a citizen’s caregiver to live in her vehicle on the citizen’s property for 24 months. The caregiver’s spouse has health issues, therefore they cannot live in the citizen’s home. Staff recommended the request be approved for 12 months with an option to extend. The motion to approve was for the full 24, as it seemed likely more than 12 months would be needed. The second request came from a citizen who had experienced a house fire and their insurance company is providing the recreational vehicle as temporary residence while the main home is being repaired. It’s estimated repairs will take four months. The motion for this was to approve for six months, again erring to the side of caution so a re-vote won’t be needed if repairs take a bit of extra time (and when don’t they?) . Both motions carried 4/1 with Hughes as the no vote.
Lastly was another lengthy discussion, this one focusing on city fees. Council pondered if some business oriented fees could be lowered, thus encouraging new business in the city. Some specific fees discussed were the One Day Business License fee, the Temporary Business License fee and the Transient Tax amount. After significant discussion council decided it would be very valuable to get input from business owners and will revisit the discussion in a future study session, which ideally will have local business owners in attendance.
Other bits of import; the Parks Commission still needs one more member, applications are available. Likewise the Sign Ordinance sub-committee is still seeking their At Large member, stop by City Hall to apply! The next council meeting will be held on February 21st at the Upper Rogue Community Center and the Citizen of the Year Award will be presented.
Following the regular meeting council adjourned to Executive Session to conduct deliberations with persons designated by the governing body to negotiate real property transactions, and to conduct deliberations with persons designated by the governing body to carry on labor negotiations.