Irrigon City Council Meeting
November 17, 2015 – 6:00 PM
Irrigon City Hall – 500 NE Main Avenue
1. Call to Order and Pledge of Allegiance – 6:02 pm
Council members present: Sam Heath, Margaret Anderson, Ken Matlack, Michelle Hagen, Martin Brown, Daren Strong, and Christine Sorenson.
Staff present: City Manager Aaron Palmquist, City Clerk Jessi Hoffman and Public Works Director Keith White.
Audience: Lorrie Timmons, Alyssa Hendren, Colleen Neubert, Cecilia Negrete, and Jeanette Medellin.
2. Mayor’s Comments
Mayor Heath stated that the Planning Commission and Irrigon City Council will be holding a joint workshop on January 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm. There is going to be a rough draft presented of the Development Code and procedures as we move forward in the repeal and replacement process.
Heath said that last Friday, the Oregon Trail Library District had a wonderful Grand Opening. Heath stated that it was an opportunity to thank all the people who gave their time and donations to make this happen. It was certainly overdue but well worth the wait in some respects.
Heath said that on occasion she must go back to this little book called Robert’s Rules of Order. This summer I was encouraging debate before a motion was made and then calling for a vote. This is improper so the City Council will go back to the way of doing it before and according to Robert’s Rules of Order. Heath explained that after the agenda item is announced, spoken to, or Staff is asked to present or report on the item. A motion is then made to accept, adopt, approve, direct, and etc. There must be a second on the motion that before deliberation takes place. After debating a vote is called for. Heath stated that this is the proper way to arrive at the deliberation step and not to do it before a motion is made.Heath stated that under “debate” #3 it states to stick to the subject. “The rule is that your remarks must be germane, that is, that they must have bearing on whether the pending motion should be adopted. Going off on irrelevant topics is not in order.” It is also stated under #4 “debate” it says debate issues, not personalities. One statement she quoted from the three paragraphs says, “It might intimidate many from taking part in the debate that might otherwise make important points.”
Heath pointed out to the Council that they may notice that the City Clerk has a traffic light at her station tonight. Heath stated that this will be used for Public Comment and for Public Hearings. Everyone’s input is important to the Council so I encourage you to arrive a few minutes early to review the agenda packet or access it online as it is usually out each Friday prior to the Council Meetings. The public may speak during the Public Comment section of the Council’s agenda at that time only or otherwise Public Hearings.
3. *Consent Agenda
a. Approval of Minutes – October 20, 2015
b. City Manager Report and Staff Updates
c. Accounts Payable
d. Morrow County Sheriff Reports
Mayor Heath asked the Council if there was a motion to approve the Consent Agenda.
Councilor Strong made the motion to approve the Consent Agenda and holding the IJCS bill from account payable as presented. Councilor Sorenson seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Mayor Heath asked the Council if there was any discussion on the noted item removed. Heath stated with no discussion is there a vote to approve the IJCS bill. Motion passed
Councilor Hagen made the motion to approve the IJCS bill as presented. Councilor Sorenson seconded the motion. Councilor Brown abstains from vote. Motion passed unanimously.
Councilor Strong asked what the bill was for.
City Manager Palmquist stated that it was for multiple items. If the Council will review the account payables it gives the items of vehicle repairs.
Councilor Matlack asked if it was part of the packet.
Mayor Heath stated yes, but it was updated.
Councilor Sorenson asked if there needs to be a reason for a Councilor abstaining?
Manager Palmquist stated yes and that Councilor Brown gets paid by IJCS.
4. Public Comment – Maximum 3 minutes/person. Maximum 30 Minutes allotted time for public comments.
No Public comment.
5. *Ordinance 237-15 “Opt Out Medical and Recreational Marijuana
Mayor Heath stated that the City Council may adopt the Opt Out-Option prohibiting the operation of medical marijuana processing sites, medical marijuana dispensaries, retail marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers. Opting out does not limit nor restrict the permitted uses of either the medical or recreational use. The Opt-Out Option is not a land use decision as this has already been addressed. The medical and recreational users will in no way be affected by the Opt-Out Option.
Heath said as Manager Palmquist has pointed out in his Manager’s report, this can be revisited in the future. Mayor Heath also stated that Medical marijuana cannot be taxed, but recreational can and in Oregon it is limited to 3% in local jurisdictions but with our adopted Land Use Regulations, there is no room for a dispensary in Irrigon.
Heath also stated that she believed the people spoke in 2014 through the defeat of Measure 91. Mayor Heath asked if there was a motion to adopt Ordinance 237-15 allowing the City of Irrigon to Opt-Out of Councilor Sorenson made a motion to adopt Ordinance 237-15 allowing the City of Irrigon to Opt-Out of Anderson and Councilor Hagen voted no.
6. Audit Report
Mayor Heath stated that she would like to thank Mike Poe and Chelsey Harring of Lewis, Poe, Moeller, Gunderson, & Roberts, LLC for being here this evening to present their findings of the audit done earlier this year.
Mike Poe and Chelsey Harring gave the City Council a detailed review of their findings for the City of Irrigon Audit.
Mayor Heath asked if there was a motion to accept the Audit Report as presented by Mike Poe and send to the Secretary of State with the filing fees.
Councilor Anderson made the motion to accept the Audit Report as presented by Mike Poe and send to the Secretary of State with the filing fees. Councilor Matlack seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
7. *Fiscal Challenges and Possibilities
Mayor Heath stated that in June of this year Manager Palmquist was directed to come up with some ideas on how the City of Irrigon could further improve its fiscal strength. Heath said that Palmquist had a couple ideas he captured from the public and several of his own. In September Palmquist presented those ideas and was asked to bring back more information on those listed A through F in the Memorandum dated November 2, 2015.
Mayor Heath asked how Palmquist came up with the amounts.
Manager Palmquist stated that the cap was $10.00 as a starting point. Is it going to get us out of the woods? Palmquist stated no, but it is a start. The Council has the authority to raise that amount.
Mayor Heath went over the Memorandum A through F with the City Council.
a. Street User Fee (1 ERU=$3.00 per month): This fee is being recommended to generate resources for maintenance and operations within the Street Fund. The proposed plan would be to place an estimated annual amount of $29,700.00 in Reserves for four years, reaching an estimated amount of $118,800.00. These reserves would be earmarked for road improvement projects in the CIP. This “initial” four year reserve would allow for funds to be saved prior to beginning the road improvement cycle. Each following rear (year five and forward) funds would be reviewed to consider road improvement projects every year or every other year. It is also noted that no road improvement will take place to a road where proper infrastructure (water and sewer) is not fully in place.
b. Street Light User Fee (1 ERU=$2.00): This fee is also being recommended to generate resources for maintenance and operations within the Street Fund. In taking such action funds generally transferred from the General Fund can be diverted to Capital Outlay – CIP projects for street improvement. This Street User Fee is estimated to generate $19,800.00 in annual revenue. Funds typically transferred from the General Fund for Street Lights pay for the lighting and maintenance of street lights. There are major places where the city is dark and safety issues abound. Collecting this fee will allow the budget process to place resources within the CIP for improvements of lighting and safety in areas that are dark.
c. Policing Contract with Morrow County Sheriff’s Office: Currently the following is how the contract fiscally is displayed, 20 hours per week for Patrol and 20 hours per week for Code Enforcement. Patrol expenses (20 hours per week) are to provide “additional” services above and beyond what is collected and provided through taxes to Morrow County. Code services are contracted (20 hours per week) with Morrow County in allowing them the ability to enforce Irrigon’s Code. It is recommended to eliminate the code portion of the contract and the vehicle set aside effective June 30, 2016. Code enforcement should be brought in–house to be performed by City Staff. This action maintains the 20 contracted hours of patrol services and is a savings of $49,373.02 annually to the General Fund.
d. Police User Fee (1ERU= $5.00): This fee is estimated to generate $49,500.00 in annual revenue to the general Fund. If this user fee is enacted it would be collected into the General Fund and assist in paying to Patrol Contracted hours. The amount currently spent toward patrol hours would be an estimated savings of $40,373.00 annually to be further allocated through the budgeting process for different city services and expenditures.
e. Special Law Enforcement District: Members of the public have voiced possibility of such creation. The following estimated figures are based upon the 2015 estimated assessed value of our other local special districts and the desired level of proposed district staffing. The average Irrigon Home is about $180,000.00 in assessed value. Property owners would pay $324, $432, or $540 respectively. Figures were collected from other type districts and stand alone city police organization budgets. Additionally, each of these options does include staffing to support the process and operations for sustainment. It is also noted that to receive consistent 24 hour coverage the five officer district would be the best course of action if desiring to create a special taxing district. Staff does not recommend nor recommend this course of action. Staff believes that the information gathered should be conducted from the public of the greater Irrigon area prior to any consideration of placement on a General Election ballot.
f. RV Park Transportation Fee ($5.00 per month per space): This fee was recommended by Councilor Brown in generating resources for those who are staying long term-term in our community and traversing across our roads and affecting our service systems. If this fee is instituted it is estimated to generate $7,260.00 in annual revenue for our Street Fund.
Staff does not recommend this option as it would be a duplication of the Street and Light User fees which have already been taken into account on all potential users based against the ERU equation.
Councilor Sorenson made the motion to accept as discussed, bringing the code in house, cutting police vehicle, and direct staff to proceed forward with new Police Contracting Language and setting information for public review and comment on various user fees. Councilor Strong seconded the motion.
Councilor Matlack stated that he has several concerns with the proposal in its entirety. He said that the thing that we have done in the past is that we get something that Council has approved in there diluents and create a proposal, vote on it and then it’s approved. The public find out about it and they go nuts, they dis-like it, they don’t want to do it, they didn’t know it was happening, they weren’t involved in it so on and so forth. Matlack stated that he thinks that this has the makings for this same situation.
These are just some ways there are many more ideas out there other than what has been presented. Matlack stated that this kind of stuff should be presented as a public work session so that the public can give their ideas. Then take those ideas and come up with a battle plan that the public has had input in rather that then get one that is already done like this one. Matlack felt that it is a mistake to do it this way because the people are not going to like it. Matlack also stated that on the component of the Sheriff’s special district proposal there is only so much money in special districts and what happens is they end up dividing the pie as people come in and the pieces get smaller and smaller and the viability of this plan without the public at this point even knowing about it is a waste of time and effort.
Matlack stated that he definitely does not support the first part. Matlack said that on the second part he believes that one of the first things that the City is obligated to do is to protect its citizens. Matlack stated that when he moved to Irrigon in 1999 there was no Sheriff’s contract and there were not a whole lot of reports being taken back then. Officers where just going from call to call, there was not a lot of policing, there was graffiti from one end of Irrigon to the other, you could not walk your dogs on the walking trail because there were dogs everywhere and there was problems after problems. Matlack said this is what he recalled when he moved here. Matlack also said he spent a lot of money impounding dogs and when a lady was bitten and sent to the hospital Matlack stated that it was enough for him to make the decision to become a one agenda person and got on the Council to slowly make changes to make Irrigon a better place to be from a police perspective. Matlack said that he sees this proposal as going backwards not forwards.
Mayor Heath asked Councilor Matlack if that opinion was from a Morrow County Sheriff’s position. Councilor Matlack stated that yes it is from the Sheriff’s position. Matlack also stated that back when he spoke to Manager Breazeale about the Code Enforcement position and who to have do the position. We both agreed that having someone in a uniform would be more appropriate. Matlack said that what you are proposing is not going to make things better it’s going to make things more difficult.
Mayor Heath said that she would like to respond to Councilor Matlack’s comments. Heath said that the Council asked Manager Palmquist to get this information together with the intention to put it in front of the public. The Council is not making any decisions tonight on Palmquist‘s findings. Heath asked if Councilor Matlack understood that. Councilor Matlack replied that no it’s not the way he understood it and it’s not the way it looks. Matlack stated that it looks like there is an effort to come up with the plan.
Manager Palmquist stated that there are two things. Yes we are looking at cutting Code enforcement and bringing it in house. On the other proposals the public as a whole needs to hear what other people are saying. Palmquist said on the Special law enforcement district the City just cannot get there, but somebody mentioned the idea and that’s why it’s on the proposal. The user fees are just estimates to look at so we can turn this fiscal ship around. Palmquist also said he does not believe that the City needs a deputy to do Code Enforcement. The City has the resources to handle Code Enforcement, but he does agree that we keep the patrol officer. That is law enforcement not code enforcement.
Councilor Matlack responded that he didn’t know on these proposals in light of the fact that they are very unpopular and it is going to affect the people that are on fixed incomes the most and they’re going to be the first ones here and complaining. The only way to look at this problem when Palmquist was looking for what we can do to make Irrigon more livable and generate income is to bring up these talking point not as if it is a done deal and ready to approve but as a public meeting so that the public can come up and give their ideas. Matlack asked what are you going to do and how are you going to feel when the public doesn’t like these ideas at all.
Councilor Strong stated that obviously we want to represent the community and give the public the opportunity to give input. Strong said that he does not see this as we are making any final decisions tonight.
Councilor Sorenson stated that you have to have a starting point to get anywhere.
Manager Palmquist stated that the Council has Staff recommendation and we know that Councilor Matlack has his prospective on bringing Code Enforcement in house. Palmquist stated that he feels that part does not need to go to public because that is staff not patrol. The issue at hand is that in the contract you only hire a full time person. That’s a separate issue and how are going to fund that in the future when the City does not have that in dollars in the budget. Councilor Anderson stated that at this point in her life, she would like to not raise any fees for our community. Anderson said she thinks that we can come up with something a little more creative.
Councilor Brown stated that he thought that we had been talking about how we are going to be creative and still be able to keep the services. Brown stated that several months ago the Council had come to the conclusion that without some kind of financial change we were not going to be able to continue to provide those services.
Council deliberated and decided to schedule a Public Hearing on December 10th at 6:00pm.Councilor Sorenson made a motion to amend and to have a Public Hearing on December 10, 2015 at 6:00pm. Councilor Brown seconded the motion. Motion passed 3 to 2. Councilor Matlack and Councilor Anderson voted no.
Councilor Sorenson called for a vote to amend as discussed and direct staff to proceed forward with new Police Contracting Language and setting information for public review and comment on various user fees as directed. The vote passed 4 to1. Councilor Matlack voted no.
8. Public Hearing – Groundwater and Animal Density Project
Mayor Heath stated that this Public Hearing is in regards to the Groundwater & Animal Density Project and reducing the nitrates in ground water within city limits.
Lorrie Timmons of the Morrow County Planning Department gave a review of the information in the Councils packets and went over the changes that the Planning Commission suggested.
Public Hearing opened at 7:45pm.
Mayor Heath asked for all of those in favor of the Groundwater and Animal Density Project you may stand at this time and speak. There was none at the time.
Mayor Heath asked for all of those opposed of the Groundwater and Animal Density Project you may stand at this time and speak.
Alyssa Hendren of 249 Idaho Lane asked what was the basis for the determining animal per acre and how did you determine the rating on healthy forage for livestock. Lorrie Timmons replied that the determination for healthy forage came from State guidance that was made in conjunction with the University of Oregon. Timmons stated that the determination for how many animals per acre based on discussion we have had with Staff and that is a number that can be debated with in the Council and the Public Hearing whether or not it is appropriate.
Manager Palmquist stated that this is a result of a couple of meetings with the Planning Commission and these are the numbers that they came up with.
Mayor Heath asked Alyssa what her opposing view was.
Hendren stated that she does not know if anyone on the Council knows or has anything to do with horses, but her horses require being on a dry lot because they will founder and die. She said that her horses are rescue horses and they will eat themselves to death basically. She keeps her horses on dry lot and feeds the hay and special supplements to ensure there health is good. Hendren stated that if this goes in to effect she feels that it will affect her negatively and fairly because she has to keep her horses on dry lot.
Councilor Sorenson asked if there could be a possibility to have a conditional use permit with certain requirements to it such as having a vet’s signed recommendation or certificate stating the animal’s needs.
Mayor Heath asked if that was a possibility to have something like that. Manager Palmquist stated that would have to be something that would have to come back around and he would also like to mention that Hendren does not live in the City limits so it does not affect her. Hendren stated that no she is not in City limits, but the way the City is growing she is worried it’s going to affect her in the future.Timmons stated that the County is looking at this similar language but has not come as far as the City. She suggested going to the County Meetings and keeping track of what’s going on. When it’s brought up regarding dry lots bring up what you have brought up here.
Mayor Heath asked if there were any others that would be opposing.
Coleen Nerbert of 199 SW Second St. stated that her property is right on the line and the pasture she rents next to her property is in City limits. Nerbert said that due to the drought this year it was not feasible to seed and water the rental property so she has put her horses in dry lot not only for that reason but for the reason that her horse cannot be put on pasture for long periods of time because he will over eat, founder and die. Nerbert also said that she lived in Europe for 8 years and it is quite common for hundreds of years that horses are stabled with small turn outs. It hinges on manure management. The area where she lived had a soil profile is almost the same as here except you have more rain there. Colleen Nerbert gave a suggestion to the Council to consider adding in a provision that if one has good manure management which would eliminate the nitrate issue then it might litigate some of the size issues. In the old Code the size limits where not bad at 20,000 square feet, but the code was not clear and it was done by lot size and not done by usable area.
Public Hearing closed at 7:59pm
9. *Ordinance 239-15 “Animal Density and Groundwater Protection”
Mayor Heath stated that this Ordinance amends the Irrigon Development Code relating to animal densities & groundwater protection in the lower Umatilla Basin groundwater protection area and declaring an emergency. Councilor Sorenson moved to adopt Ordinance 239-15 as presented and declare an emergency. Councilor Brown seconded the motion.
Mayor Heath stated that the floor is now open for discussion.
Manager Palmquist said to help Staff and everyone if you have the Ordinance and look at the back side it has exhibits to review. If we go through each exhibit we can make sure we can track any changes.Council deliberated about definitions in each of the exhibits such as the meaning of domestic animals, what is considered a kennel and how many dogs people are allowed.
Councilor Sorenson stated that to just make an observation when you live around someone that has four or five dogs and there lot is half the size of this room and they leave the dogs over the weekend with no fresh water or food it is time start doing something about it.
Councilor Matlack stated that yes we do and that is where you would call and make a complaint for lack of care through law enforcement.
Councilor Brown asked why where cats taken off. Manager Palmquist said that they weren’t taken off they are just later in the Code.
Mayor Heath talked about the meaning on current rabies shot on dogs when owners come to license their dogs and do we need to have that or do we need to change the wording.
Councilor Matlack made a motion to amend the amount of dogs people are allowed to have from five to six. Councilor Brown seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Councilor Brown made the motion to amend the wording that owners must have current rabies certificate at the time of getting a license. Councilor Matlack seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Councilor Brown made a motion to adopt Ordinance 239-15 as presented with amendments and declare an emergency. Councilor Strong seconded the motion. Motion passed 4 to 1 Councilor Anderson said no.
10. Bi-Pass Bid – Sewer Plant Repairs
Mayor Heath stated that Palmquist had John Garlitz with JUB Engineering draw up this contract in regards to some needed sewer plant repair. It looks like either something went unfinished or corners were cut due to cost on installing this bypass. Heath said now a repair is needed and we have no way to bypass the area that needs repair in order for operations to continue to run smoothly. Manager Palmquist explained to the Council what kind of repairs that need to be done to the sewer plant. Councilor Strong made the motion to approve sending this repair work out to bid and authorize the appropriate signatures when the selection is made. Councilor Brown seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
11. *DLCD PA Grant – PA-17-062
Manager Palmquist said cities are granted $1000.00 from DLCD to use for planning assistance. Last year we used it in preparation for Ordinance 239-15. Attached is the criteria this grant must be used. Any unused portion is given back however she is certain Manager Palmquist has a plan to put this to really good use such as helping us get through this repeal and replace project with the Development Code. Councilor Matlack made the motion to accept this grant with an authorized signature. Councilor Brown seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
12. Items for Future Council Meetings
- Fee Schedule and Utility Rate – December 2015
- Development Code Amendments – January 201
- Strategic Planning and Goal Setting – TBD
- If I were Mayor Presentation – April 2016
Adjournment Councilor Matlack motioned to adjourn meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:58 p.m.
Next Regular Meeting Date – December 15, 2015
Submitted by/City Clerk