Don’t like the way things have been going in Shady Cove lately? Don’t worry; they are going to change. Several surprise changes were announced and/or voted on during the August 15 Shady Cove City Council meeting.
In the order announced; during new business, the council voted 4/0 to enter into a mutual separation agreement with City Administrator Danise Brakeman. Councilor Bill Kyle was absent from the meeting (thus 4/0). During council comment Mayor Ron Holthusen read a statement from Kyle, in which Kyle announces his immediate resignation from council. Per the statement, Kyle recently suffered a second – minor – stroke. Though doing well, Kyle believes it’s time to leave the often stressful world of local politics; one he’s been a part of for years. While those present were still digesting the news of Kyle’s resignation, the Mayor continued on saying it was time for him to make an announcement of his own. Mayor Holthusen will be moving from the area by “the end of the year,” and will step down as Mayor.
There was no discussion as to when or how any of those departing will be replaced. All of this while the city is working on replacing two out of three long time staff members who have left in the past few months.
In addition to departures, system development charges (SDCs) were discussed. Shady Cove School is putting in a modular building to be used as a music room. For unknown reasons, the School District did not file their application with the City until the proverbial last minute. The SDCs calculated out at $54,000 for a $135,000 project. The School District (and frankly everyone else) was quite surprised at the relative expense of SDCs and asked if something could be done. SDCs are quite complicated and calculated differently for different types of construction. For schools they are based (in part) on the number of students. The bulk of the 50K SDC fee is based on the impact to the roads which the project will incur.
It was decided that though the School District clearly dropped the ball by filing at the 11th hour, the city will defer SDC payment for 30 days. During this 30 days council will begin the process of reviewing all SDCs, starting with those applicable to schools. By the time the 50K is due, it may not be 50K anymore, but only time and review will tell.
A few in the audience expressed anger over this decision to defer during public comment. Heather Johnson commented she feels if an individual business asked for such a deferral they would be flat denied. She feels that the School District as “another government agency” got a break. Council’s reply, voiced in large part by Councilor Jim Ulrich; first: they have deferred payment and even set up payment plans for other business in the past (e.g. the Upper Rogue Community Center), second no individual nor individual business has ever come forward and asked for a reduction; they’ve simply opted not to build. Ulrich said the upshot is “We are trying to right a potential wrong.” by reviewing all SDCs.
So from council to staff to SDCs “change” is the word of the week for Shady Cove. Which definition of “change” is to come: 1. To make different in some particular or 2. To make radically different – only time will tell.
By Christy Pitto
For The Independent